Mitchell, Bob L.

Bob L. Mitchell

Bob L. Mitchell, Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)

September 23, 1936 – October 07, 2022

HARLOTTE – Brigadier General Bob L. Mitchell (Retired), 86, died Friday, October 7, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. Bob, affectionately known as GrandBob, was born in Wellington, TX on September 23, 1936. He was the only son of Leroy and Willie Mae Mitchell.

Bob spent most of his childhood in Odessa, TX and graduated from Odessa High School in 1955. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Hardin Simmons University in 1959 and a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1971.

After graduating from Officer Training School in 1963, he entered pilot training and received his wings at Williams Air Force Base (AFB), AZ in 1965. During his 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force he piloted C-130 transport planes, was in Space & Missile Systems Command, and flew rescue and recovery helicopters in Vietnam. His distinguished career included Commander of the 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron of Pope AFB, NC; Wing Commander of the 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing, Scott AFB, IL; three tours of duty at the Pentagon, and culminated as Wing Commander of the 89th Military Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB, MD. He received many awards including numerous Meritorious Service Medals, The Bronze Star, The Distinguished Flying Cross, and The Legion of Merit.

In addition to honorably serving his country, his greatest joy in life was spending time with his family. He was a selfless, loving, and kind husband, father, and grandfather. Bob was known as mentor, helper, and friend to all those who were fortunate enough to know him. He was a loyal member of Kiwanis International and Order of Daedalians, a professional order of American military pilots. Even as Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of so much, it never succeeded in taking away the core of his being – LOVE. Until the end, two phrases which he never forgot were “I love all my kids” and “We have to help people.”

His family would like to express their deepest thanks and gratitude to all of Bob’s loving caregivers from Edith’s Angels, memory care units, and Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region.

Bob is survived by his devoted wife of 62 years, Molly Jackson Mitchell; beloved daughters, Melissa Walker and her husband, Todd and Melinda Moore and her husband, Dave and five adoring grandchildren, Kate, Lauren, Lee, Mitchell, and Molly.

A memorial service to honor Bob’s life will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, October 14, 2022, at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, NC. The service will be livestreamed at: for those unable to attend in person. His inurnment with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of Bob to Alzheimer’s Association – Western Carolina Chapter, 4600 Park Rd Suite 250, Charlotte, NC 28209 ( or Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, 7845 Little Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28226. (

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences may be shared at

Published by Odessa American on Oct. 12, 2022.



Brigadier General Bob L. Mitchell is commander, 89th Airlift Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

General Mitchell was born in 1936, in Wellington, Texas, and graduated from Odessa (Texas) High School in 1955. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Hardin-Simmons University in 1959 and a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1971. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1967, Air Command and Staff College in 1975, and Air War College in 1982.

He was commissioned as a distinguished graduate through Officer Training School, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in May 1963. He then entered pilot training and received pilot wings at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., in April 1965. General Mitchell completed weapons systems training in the C-130E at Sewart Air Force Base, Tenn., and was assigned to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. In March 1967 he was transferred to Detachment 1, 38th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Phan Rang Air Base, South Vietnam, as an HH-43 pilot. He returned to the C-130 at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, as a satellite recovery aircraft commander.

Moving into the rated supplement in March 1971, the general served as an aide-de-camp, executive officer, and systems program staff officer at Air Force Systems Command’s Space and Missile Systems Organization, Los Angeles Air Force Station, Calif. Reassigned in June 1975 to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., he was the program element monitor for the Satellite Control Facility in the Directorate of Space, Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development, until March 1979.

Returning to rated duties, General Mitchell was assigned to Pope Air Force Base, N.C., and served successively as assistant operations officer, 39th Tactical Airlift Squadron; operations officer, 40th Tactical Airlift Squadron; commander, 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron; and assistant deputy commander for operations, 317th Tactical Airlift Wing. In January 1984 he became director of airlift and support systems, Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base. He then was assigned as chairman of the Air Force Board Structure’s Space Panel, and chief of the Space Launch and Control Division, Directorate of Space Systems and Command, Control and Communications, Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition, Air Force headquarters, in August 1984.

After a brief tour as deputy commander for operations, 317th Tactical Airlift Wing, Pope Air Force Base, he became its vice commander in August 1986. General Mitchell was commander of the 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., from May 1988 until October 1989, when he became assistant deputy chief of staff, requirements, Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base. In April 1990 he became deputy director of plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Air Force headquarters. He assumed his current command in July 1991.

The general is a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours, including more than 500 combat missions. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm. He also holds the Master Space Badge.

He was promoted to brigadier general Aug. 1, 1990, with same date of rank. (Current as of September 1992

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