After U.S. Army 1st Lt. Paul Mitchell escaped death on Aug. 3 when a bullet entered the back of his neck, missing his vital arteries, bones and spinal cord, he knew God and a guardian angel were protecting him.

That guardian angel was a fraternity brother who was killed in action in 2017.

“He was looking out for me, too,” said Mitchell, who has been deployed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division this year.

“There was no need for surgery,” he said. “It hit the only spot it could hit without causing major damage.”

The next day, Mitchell was awarded the Purple Heart.

“I’m just thankful for the sacrifices of all the soldiers who haven’t made it home and haven’t returned from combat,” he said.

Mitchell, who graduated from Oconee County High School in 2012, always dreamed of joining the U.S. Army.

For more on this story, see the Nov. 12 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 


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