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Spc. Elexis Mitchell

Unit: Medical Department Activity

Place of duty: Kenner Army Health Clinic

Military occupational specialty: 68Q – pharmacy specialist

Home: Blythewood, S.C.

Age: 21

Time in service: Three years

Describe your personality: “I’m a very positive, realistic person. I feel like everything’s for a reason, so I tend look on the brighter side of things.”

Personality strength: “I’m a realist. No matter the situation, I’m always going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

Personality weakness: “Sometimes I can be too giving. I don’t care enough about myself sometimes, however, I keep pushing forward.”

Pastimes: “I have a second job. I’m a server (at a chain restaurant). I was in school. I just got my associate’s degree.”

If you won the lottery … “First, I’d pay off any debt my parents might have and buy them cars because they did that for me and my sisters. They’ve had the same cars since I was in high school. I feel like they’re deserving. I’d also finish paying off my car, buy a house somewhere nice and invest the rest.”

People you admire: “My mother and father. I feel my dad and me are very similar. He’s from New York and had a tough time growing up. He got out of there by joining the military. My mom and dad had similar backgrounds. They both joined the military right off the bat, and that’s how they met. My dad chose to stay in the military, and my mom stayed home. My mom gave up her job to take care of us, and my dad, he continued on … and got deployed three or four times. I never saw him during those times and was upset about it. As I grew older, I realized there was a purpose. I know he didn’t want to do it, but it was best for our family. He ended up retiring a month before I joined the military. He stuck it out until the last one left the house.”

The celebrity or historical figure you’d like to meet: “I would say (the deceased singer) Amy Winehouse.  I’m very curious about her music, and she seemed like a very intense person. I like to understand what people feel, so I would want to understand what she was all about.”

Talk about your upbringing: “I’m the youngest. I have two older sisters. We moved around a lot. We were stationed at Fort Campbell (Ky.); Schinnen (The Netherlands); Fort Knox (Ky.); and Fort Jackson (S.C.) I met a lot of different spirits – a lot of different personalities. Every time I moved, I’d come into contact with the same types of people. Moving around gives you resilience because you meet new people, you impact their lives, they impact yours’ and then you move on.”

The drawbacks of growing up military: “My mom said we never had a home. My dad’s family is in New York and my mom’s family is in California. We never had any roots. My dad’s last duty station was Fort Jackson. When he ended up getting orders for Korea, my mom was like, ‘We’re not leaving. This is where we’re going to stay.’ My dad did his last tour in Korea. My parents are still in South Carolina.”

Your ideal life: “One part of me wants to have a life like I did growing up – traveling and visiting a lot of different countries. At the same time, I want to give my kids stability and have a home somewhere.”

If you could do anything, anywhere right now, what and where would that be? “I would probably go to Bali (an island in the South Pacific) and lay on the beach.”

One life-changing moment: “On the day of my high school graduation (in Blythewood), everyone was with their families. My family was there, too. They were all taking pictures and (enjoying the moments). I just kind of stepped back, looked at everybody and thought, ‘These people are not my friends.’ It was an epiphany that things don’t last, and at the end of the day, it’s just you … and maybe my one or two friends. Everybody who you think is your friend or is going to be there for you are not. A lot of the graduates had known their teachers and coaches since they were kids. I didn’t have the connections they did.”

Why you joined the Army: “Well, it was my senior year (in high school), and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was attracted to the (benefits of the military) because I watched both of my sisters go through college. I knew I didn’t want to be all stressed about working at the same time I was going to school. I just needed to get out. Raised in a military family, I was moving every few years. I couldn’t see myself staying in Blythewood with those people. Even now, I go back and see the same people working at the gas station, living in the same neighborhood, etc. I’m glad I got out.”

Why you chose your MOS: “I got a list of the MOSs I was qualified for and took it back to my (junior) ROTC instructor. He saw pharmacy specialist listed, said it was a difficult MOS to get into and encouraged me to choose it. I was like, ‘OK.’ Dealing with outpatients is not always my cup of tea, but knowing I’m helping people is rewarding … and because (the pharmacy is usually) the last stop, we have the ability to leave a lasting impression.”

Best thing about the Army: “The opportunities.”

Worst thing about the Army: “Sometimes, people are put in positions that are not best for them.”

Where you see yourself in five years: “I would have a degree in nursing. If I choose to stay in the military, I will be working as an officer and living overseas.”