Photo by Balinda Zimmerman Veteran Mitchell Underwood and his daughter Natalie.
Photo by Balinda Zimmerman
Veteran Mitchell Underwood and his daughter Natalie.


By Balinda Zimmerman

Mitchell Underwood moved to Milan Michigan in December 2012 when Bank of America and a program called Military Warriors Support Foundation joined forces to provide him and his family with a home.  Mitchell is a native of Monroe County and a wounded veteran of the present and ongoing War on Terrorism that is being fought primarily on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Mitchell is also a decorated soldier having earned the Purple Heart, Navy Unit Commendation, NATO Medal and other commendations such as ISAF Afghanistan, Afghanistan Campaign and Global War on Terrorism.

In 2011 Mitchell Underwood was a Saw Gunner in the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regimen traveling in a lead vehicle MATV near Marja, Afghanistan when his CAAT Squad hit a160 lb. I.E.P.  “Two of my brothers were killed instantly and two were severely wounded, Kazmir and Frizzle.  Then there were my own injuries because my foot was blown off and there was all sorts of damage to my body,” explains Underwood.  Mitchell turns his head for a moment and takes a deep breath, at which point his wife, Samantha, takes up the conversation. “Kazmir and Frizzle are doing good now from what we have heard,” explains Samantha.  Mitchell goes on the say that he has not seen either of the other soldiers since he left the hospital.

Unlike last year, now Mitchell can talk about it a little easier and explain what happened, how he lost his leg and all about the other life threatening injuries.  Over the past three years Mitchell has been dealing with PTSD, 2 TBI’s (Traumatic Brain Injuries), a bi-lateral compound fracture of the femur, ruptured spleen, L3-L5 spinal burst fractures and a right leg amputation below the knee.  Mitchell is a walking miracle but has been told that he may eventually end up in a wheelchair. Mitchell is now taking steps to prepare for that eventuality.

At present Mitchell is re-training in the field of biomedical technology but fears that his math skills will not be sufficient to obtain the degree he is seeking.  He has recently been exploring other options that would be more feasible with the present state of his injuries.  He stated that his doctors say he could be in a wheelchair for several years after the future surgeries are performed to repair the ongoing damages to his spine that continue to be problematic in his complete healing.  Armed with this information Mitchell is researching other avenues of study in which he could still support his family if he were to be later confined to a wheelchair.

Mitchell may be in daily pain and walking as an amputee but he still enjoys hunting and actually was able to stand outside the back door of his new home just at the edge of Milan and shoot at a buck that was walking in the tree line.  He took careful aim and swears he left evidence of the shot in the buck, but alas, he was not mortally wounded.  A week or so later, Mitchell went off to Virginia on a hunting trip with some friends.  While he was gone his wife Samantha called to tell him, “your buck is sticking his nose in the tree stand looking for you!” Mitchell still has not collected the rack off his local visitor but if he keeps coming around looking for Mitchell then it shouldn’t be much longer before that rack is hanging on Mitchell’s wall.

Mitchell Underwood, the Milan Eagle salutes you and the brothers who fought alongside of you. We are grateful for the sacrifice you and your comrades made and continue to make for our freedoms, defense of our constitution and the ongoing protection of these United States of America.


Balinda Zimmerman is a freelance writer for The Milan Eagle and can be reached at balindaz [at] comcast [dot] net


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