Captain Paul “Bones” Mitchell received his commission from the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program at Carnegie Mellon University in 1995 where he earned a bachelor’s in electrical and computer engineering.
In 2001, Capt. Mitchell was accepted to the United States Naval Test Pilot School and graduated with distinction. He has also earned an M.S. in systems engineering and Lead Systems Integration (LSI) at the Naval Postgraduate School.
After completing initial flight training at Navy Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, Mitchell joined the VFA-14 “Tophatters” in 1997 where he flew the F-14A Tomcat and completed two combat cruises in 1999 and 2001 in support of Operations Allied Force, Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom.
From 2003 to 2005 Mitchell was assigned to Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 30 where he served as the developmental test project officer for the Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS), Tomahawk program, F/A-18 JMPS Unique Planning Component program, and F-14B(U) Detail Data Display Upgrade program. After selected as the 2003 VX-30 Test Naval Flight Officer (NFO) of the year, he also served as the F-14B/D flight test NFO flying the F/A-18, F-16 and F-4 aircraft in support of various test projects.
In 2005, he transitioned to the F/A-18F Super Hornet program and reported to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 staff, where he completed combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) as assistant air wing operations officer. In 2006, he reported to VFA-2 and served as safety and maintenance department head while completing combat deployment in support of OIF and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008.
Mitchell was selected for re-designation as an aerospace engineering duty officer in 2008 and reported to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) where his shore assignments included the Air-to-Air Missiles program as advanced development deputy program manager and AIM-9X integrated product team (IPT) lead, and the Joint Strike Fighter program office as F-35C assistant program manager for systems engineering. Mitchell’s most recent assignment was to the Unmanned Carrier Aviation program office, where he served as the LSI program team assistant deputy program manager, fleet liaison and MQ-25A air system deputy program manager.
Capt. Mitchell has accumulated 2,350 total flight hours in 34 different types of aircraft. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, six air medals (one with combat distinguishing device), four Navy Commendation Medals (one with combat distinguishing device), four Navy Achievement Medals and various campaign and unit-level awards. Mitchell is also an associate member of the International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE).