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Meet Mitchell B. Brockett

SVA Month of Heroes SMALL08.jpgAge: 54

Year and major: Senior/Business Administration

Hometown: Jacksonville

Branch/Rank: U.S. Navy/E-9

Service: 25 years, seven ships, seven Middle East tours, last USS Enterprise Admiral’s Staff. Served as Leading CPO, CMC, Main Propulsion Assistant, Engineering Officer, Damage Control Officer, and many others. Qualified as Marine Gas Turbine Inspector and performed technical assists in Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian oceans, and Persian Gulf. Served on three Admiral’s Staffs. Highest award: Meritorious Service Medal.

Tell us about your service experience. I was in charge of a single screw frigate line shaft bearing replacement in the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina. The job took 38 hours and we drifted to approximately 10 miles of the shore before the job was complete. Pressure was on from the Pentagon and we completed the job and maneuvered the ship to safer waters. My team was incredible.

Also, while flying in an SH-60B helo, we were fired upon by small arms near the Kuwaiti border. The helo gained altitude so quickly that I felt like I weighed 1,000 pounds in my seat. I was a technical guy, not a fighting man, so that was very exciting for me.

What are some of your memorable experiences in college? I enjoyed working with enthusiastic young students. I helped many students at my house and at school with math and data analysis in several classes. They helped me learn the intranet and I helped them perform mathematical equations.

Any favorite classes? My favorite classes were ones that involved math. I always knew exactly what I was to retain and become proficient at. Dr. Marie-Laure Bougnol-Potter has a no-bologna, straightforward style of teaching that I enjoyed very much. I also enjoyed Dr. J’s classes because the classroom participation and discussions were on fire (controversial) and interesting.

Tell us about JU’s role in your transition to civilian life. I learned that most instructors and students have no real knowledge of what a military career entails. The administrative, technical and leadership functions are very similar to functions that civilian companies perform daily.

What sets JU apart? I was pleasantly surprised that most instructors at JU were much more accommodating to alterative points of view. They are also professional and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed the instructors who had successfully completed careers in business and shared their real-life knowledge.

What might surprise others about you? Most students did not know I had a military career. I am very proud of my extremely successful military career, but did not want to live my life looking backward. I rarely talk about it because I enjoy people getting to know me and not placing me in that “old veteran” category that they might have pre-conceived negative notions about. 

For more about JU’s programs and services for student-veterans, visit http://www.ju.edu/VA and http://www.ju.edu/registrar/Pages/VA-Information.aspx.