Dick Mitchell (1929 - 2015)
“When in doubt, full speed ahead.” This was Dick Mitchell’s personal motto.
While on the U of U Ski Team, Dick won the 1953 NCAA Downhill Championship and finished third in the slalom. After joining the U.S. Air Force he became a member of the U.S. Ski Team, competing on the European FIS circuit. His skiing career culminated in Olympic competition at the 1956 Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. A native of Ogden, Utah, Dick Mitchell was that city’s first ever Olympian.
Off the slopes - as a USAF combat fighter pilot - Dick flew 149 missions during the Vietnam War. His courage and prowess earned him the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying crosses, 10 Air Medals, two Bronze Stars, a Commendation Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal and the Purple Heart. Later in the war, while working as an embassy attaché, Dick supervised the 1975 evacuation from Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Airport before it fell to the North Vietnamese. Sleepless and exhausted, he was on the last helicopter out.
There is no doubt that Dick Mitchell’s personal motto served him well, as his extraordinary achievements are solidly etched in the annals of U.S. skiing and military history.