Cameron Mitchell: Early Life and Military Career
Cameron Mitchell was born May/June 1970 (9.12 "Collateral Damage", 10.06 "200"). Mitchell's father was a test pilot before a crippling accident (9.12 "Collateral Damage"). Mitchell has mentioned having one younger brother (9.20 "Camelot"). Based upon his accent and some cultural references, Mitchell appears to have been raised in the Southern United States. At least his extended family was very religious. He makes references to spending weekends at his grandmother's where he had to attend services at St. Hilda's Church of the Grand Epiphany (9.03 "Origin"). He has often referred to his grandma's bible thumping in observing the zealotry of the followers of Origin.
One humorous childhood memory was when a family member drank some rancid orange juice and caused a mess in the kitchen, including over Cameron's overweight Aunt Emma (9.13 "Ripple Effect"). Another childhood memory he holds is having "broomstick battles" with his baby brother (9.20 "Camelot").
Mitchell's relationship to the Stargate program could be considered fated. Unbeknownst to him (at least originally), his grandfather transported the Stargate to America in 1939 (Stargate: Continuum). Ba'al tried to alter the timeline, but Mitchell stopped him and ended up meeting his paternal grandfather there. While the fixing of the timeline meant ultimately Cameron did not have to go back in time, evidence of the alternate timeline version of him existed. In a photo Cam kept in his locker, the alternate timeline Cameron stands next to Captain Mitchell. It is unclear whether Cam ever knew the identity of the man with his grandfather.
The most traumatic moment of his young life was when his father suffered a flight accident and had to have both legs amputated above the knees (9.12 "Collateral Damage"). When Cameron visited his father at the V.A. hospital, he was very frightened, but he put on a brave smile, and was rewarded by an equal grin from his father. Mitchell's strength of character was there at an early age. Several months later, he sat on his father's hospital bed and they watched the first launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia lift off on television (April 12, 1981). Mitchell's recollection was that he was around ten years old at the time, which would make his birth year around 1970-1971. His birthdate was confirmed to be May/June 1970 when his teammates teased him about being born nine months after their adventures in August 1969 (10.06 "200").
At least during his high school years, he lived in Auburn, Shawnee County, Kansas, where he played football for the George Washington High School (whose mascot was some kind of bee or wasp) and graduated in 1987 (10.15 "Bounty"). His best friend from high school was a man named Darrell Grimes. Cameron's parents still live in Auburn.
Early Military Career
During his fight with the black knight, Mitchell mentioned taking fencing in college (though he wasn't very good) (9.01 "Avalon Part 1"). While there apparently, he met his long time friend Bryce "Fergie" Ferguson, and based on the reference to their being "cadets" together, it is likely they were both part of an ROTC program during their undergraduate days(9.14 "Stronghold). While cadets, the two swore a blood oath that they'd get into the space program or die trying. Mitchell also underwent Airbourne Training at Fort Benning, Georgia (9.08 "Babylon"). He mentioned having special ops training to Landry once (10.05 "Uninvited").
One mission Mitchell undertook while he was a Captain almost made him quit the Air Force (9.12 "Collateral Damage"). He was ordered to fly his F-16 to coordinates where an unnamed enemy target was moving in a convoy along a desert road. Mitchell dodged enemy anti-aircraft artillery fire and requested confirmation that intelligence was accurate and that the mission was a go. After receiving confirmation, he released his bomb. A few seconds later, he was ordered to abort. The intelligence was faulty after all, but there was nothing the Captain could do at that point. Mitchell watched the bomb strike the convoy and confirmed the target was destroyed. He was later told it was likely a group of innocent refugees.
Though not blamed by the Air Force, Mitchell's own guilt over the incident was overwhelming. Cameron confided in his father that he was considering quitting the Air Force. His father talked him out of that decision, explaining that taking the safe route of being an airline pilot would not work for his son. He recognized Cameron was too much like him and wouldn't be satisfied for anything less than reaching for the horizon. Cameron replied he did not have the fortitude of his father, but his dad refuted that, saying: "Ah, that's where you're wrong, kid. You just don't know it yet." His father's words proved prophetic considering the strength of spirit Mitchell showed in continuing his therapy after his crippling injuries. This fortitude was later recognized by the Ancient knight hologram in Avalon (9.02 "Avalon Part 2"). After speaking to his father, Mitchell decided to retain his commission.
Mitchell continued with his military career, eventually becoming a Lieutenant Colonel. Approximately, four years ago, he was cleared for the F-302 program. One of his closest friends, Bryce "Fergie" Ferguson was also up for the same position (9.14 "Stronghold"). All either of them knew at the time was that it was classified Top Secret. Ferguson was actually the better pilot. During a mission, Fergie took a hit meant for Mitchell. Shrapnel became imbedded in Ferguson's skull, and he was unable to fly. Mitchell took the position to fly the F-302s.
Mitchell was commander of a squadron of F-302s. He served with Col. Lionel Pendergast aboard the Prometheus, as indicated by Pendergast's warm welcome back to the ship to Cam "Shaft" Mitchell (9.06 "Beachhead"). Also, his position allowed him knowledge of the SGC, including SG-1. When he was briefed that his mission had changed from battling Anubis's forces in Earth's orbit to protecting SG-1 in Antarctica, he accepted it without question and quelled any skepticism by his pilots (9.01 "Avalon Part 1").
During this battle, Mitchell's craft was damaged by enemy fire. His wingman, Redmond, downed the death glider before it could deliver a killing shot to Mitchell. Redmond ended up getting shot down himself. Though his craft was damaged, Mitchell continued to protect SG-1's cargo ship. He took out an al'kesh before it destroyed the cargo ship. Mitchell's craft was hit again, killing Cameron's co-pilot, Banks. Mitchell was unable to eject, and his aircraft crashed into the snow. Before completely losing consciousness, Mitchell overheard the excited radio chatter proclaiming SG-1 succeeded in their mission and Anubis's fleet was being torn to shreds.
Mitchell remained in critical condition for a while, his injuries included internal bleeding. Though the doctors believed he might be paralyzed for life, Mitchell fought his way back to health. He was laid up for months in an Air Force hospital, visited by members of SG-1 and his mother. The cover story for his crash was that it was a test flight accident (9.14 "Stronghold"). He spent several months in therapy, pushing himself past his limits, and eventually not only regained the use of his legs, he became well enough to return to active duty (9.01 "Avalon Part 1"). His facing death not only this time, but also when he almost died from a Prior plague gave him a unique perspective on life (9.05 "The Powers That Be"). When the Sodan leader Haikon challenged his words on faith by indicating he may feel differently when he was at the point of death, Mitchell darkly replied: "I've already been there" (9.08 "Babylon").
Getting the Band Back Together
For his heroic efforts during the Battle of Antarctica, General O'Neill offered him a position anywhere he wanted (9.01 "Avalon Part 1"). Mitchell chose SG-1, and used that promise as part of his inspiration to recover. While recuperating from his injuries, Mitchell read all of SG-1's mission reports (9.18 "Arthur's Mantle"). Cleared for active duty, he reported to Stargate Command, recently transferred to the command of Gen. Hank Landry (9.01 "Avalon Part 1"). Once there, Landry gave him command of SG-1 and a pile of folders, ordering him to choose members of his team. To Mitchell's shock, the team he had dreamt about joining was no more. Teal'c had left weeks ago to set up the Free Jaffa Government. Col. Carter had transferred to Area 51 and Daniel Jackson had put in for reassignment to the Atlantis expedition. As Mitchell later explained to Daniel, SG-1: "meant Colonel Carter, Teal'c, and yourself. Not two letters, a dash, and a number. I wanted to be on the front line, working with the best. I wanted to learn from you." Instead, he forlornly pointed out to Teal'c, SG-1 was merely SG-Me. Dejected at their refusals, Mitchell interviewed various candidates, but could find none that suited his needs for SG-1. He set about trying to get "the band back together."
His first opportunity came when Vala Mal Doran came to the SGC with an Ancient tablet, supposedly describing a treasure on Earth. She forced Daniel to remain in her physical proximity through use of kor mak bracelets. Because of this, Daniel was unable to go to Atlantis. Mitchell proposed that he, Daniel, and Teal'c work with Vala on finding the treasure mentioned in the tablet. He hoped Samantha would join them as well, but Daniel said she was unable to come. Even Vala noticed Cameron's aggressive tactics to reunite the team, suggesting he play more "hard to get."
The four headed to Avalon, and found the Ancient treasure. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2"). Among the treasures was an Ancient piece of technology. Mitchell continued to hover near Daniel and Vala as they figured out what this device could be. Daniel and Vala conducted an experiment with the device, which caused them to enter a dream-induced coma. Mitchell was visibly concerned at their condition and worked on a way to free Dr. Jackson and Vala Mal Doran from the device, eventually succeeding with Teal'c's help (9.03 "Origin"). Landry noticed Mitchell's efforts of reuniting the team, and apparently mentioned it to General O'Neill.
Although Teal'c returned to Dakara, Cameron continued to harangue Daniel on joining SG-1, and was doing so when Daniel collapsed yet again (9.04 "The Ties That Bind"). Turns out, although Vala had released the kor mak bracelets, the Ancient technology had caused a surge and the two were still linked. Teal'c, wanting to assist his friend Daniel Jackson, joined Mitchell, Daniel, and Vala as they tried to find a way to counteract the effect. Despite Mitchell's constant hints that they worked well together, he was unable to convince Teal'c to rejoin officially. However, Teal'c joined Daniel and Mitchell when they investigated a planet Vala claimed to know well, in order to fight their new enemy, the Ori, from gaining followers (9.05 "The Powers That Be").
The group, including Vala, began to have a camaraderie, even playing basketball together during free time (9.06 "Beachhead"). When the Ori posed their biggest threat yet, Col. Carter was ordered to report to the SGC to help with the mission. The three former SG-1 members joined Mitchell and Vala to try and prevent the Ori from establishing a beachhead in the Milky Way. Mitchell joyously pointed out the "band was back together," at least temporarily. After the mission, Mitchell mentioned to Carter this was a new dangerous time, and she may now be needed on the front lines.
Eventually, Mitchell had finally convinced the veterans to return to their old unit. When the next crisis happened on Earth, to find and defeat Ba'al, Mitchell had his SG-1 patches ready (9.07 "Ex Deus Machina"). Apparently Daniel had already agreed to rejoin, because Dr. Jackson did not protest when Mitchell slapped the SG-1 patch on his shoulder without asking. Col. Carter and Teal'c also accepted the patches, and SG-1 was officially reunited.
Being in the Band
Mitchell has already been through a plethora of experiences in his time with SG-1. His wit and fortitude were tested in Avalon (9.01 "Avalon Part 1" and 9.02 "Avalon Part 2"). He has interacted with a host of alien species. He morosely commented he had hoped to have a nuke-free career before embarking on a mission that would likely result in setting off the largest naquadah enhanced nuclear explosion Earth had in its arsenal (9.06 "Beachhead"). He has run the gauntlet of becoming romantically involved with an alien woman, and suffered the curse of many of SG-1 by seeing her meet with a tragic end (9.12 "Collateral Damage"). Sometimes he questions what he is getting into, but his general philosophy seems to be to go with the flow. He expressed his skepticism at Lt. Col. Carter and Dr. Lee's invention to stop the Prior by calling it a crazy idea, but continued: "Don’t get me wrong, I like crazy, that’s why I asked for this job" (9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1"). His enthusiasm has not been entirely squelched despite his serious missions. He actively looked forward to his 200th trip through the Stargate (not mission, just 200 times stepping through the event horizon (10.06 "200").
One life changing experience for Mitchell was when he was under the custody of the Sodan (9.08 "Babylon"). He embraced their culture and willingly learned their ways as Jolan nursed him to health and began his training. His respect for them eventually created a friendship with the warrior. He tried to break through to their leader, Haikon, but without results, at least at first. Mitchell showed an aptitude for learning their fighting skills, and was able to hold his own against one of them before their superior numbers (9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1").
One of his most surreal experiences was a mission he had with "himself" and an alternate SG-1 (9.13 "Ripple Effect"). He bonded with his counterpart, sharing and laughing at childhood memories. He looked visibly upset at his double's betrayal, begging to try and reason with the alternate Mitchell. He half-jokingly dismissed his counterpart's possibility at being an evil twin, but could not comprehend how his twin's desperation led him to the actions the alternate team was taking. He was shocked when he realized the alternate Mitchell's team did not arrive by accident, but had planned the trip to his reality on purpose. Mitchell and his team were able to thwart their counterparts by predicting how they would react if the tables were turned. The alternate SG-1 (and several more) were returned to their own realities.
Mitchell used his connections on SG-1 to be able to transfer one of his closest friends to the Air Force Academy Hospital to give him access to the best medical care (with knowledge gained from access to the Stargate) (9.14 "Stronghold"). The shrapnel in Bryce Ferguson's head had caused in inoperable aneurysm. The doctors there checked the CAT scans, but found they could not help. Mitchell did not take this news well, punching his fist through the coffee machine, offering to pay for it afterwards. Overwhelmed with his guilt that Ferguson's injury happened saving his own life, Mitchell pulled more strings to get Fergie clearance to know about the Stargate program. He even gained access to the Earth modified version of the Galaran memory device for his friend to see what Mitchell had been doing the past year and a half.
Mitchell left his friend's deathbed to be part of the mission to rescue Teal'c. He broke away from the SG teams and single-handedly tried to take out the Jaffa and get to the mothership. He only succeeded with the help of Sam and Daniel, who covered him as he ringed onto the ha'tak and created a distraction which gave Teal'c the opportunity to kill Ba'al. Upon his return, Cameron was grieved to learn Ferguson had died, and did not join his teammates to witness the outcome of the referendum debate on Dakara.
Since his recuperation, Mitchell has also returned to flying F-302s. His first flight after being shot down was with General O'Neill (9.03 "Origin"). Since that time, he has offered to fly the F-302s in combat in space (9.15 "Ethon", 9.20 "Camelot Part 2", 10.01 "Flesh and Blood").
SG-1 has since sported a fifth member. After a probationary period in which she was attached to Daniel Jackson and SG-1, Vala Mal Doran was accepted as a full-fledged member of the team (10.02 "Morpheus, 10.08 "Memento Mori"). Mitchell was quick to explain her probationary status, but welcomed her at Jackson's subtle prompt. When her probation ended, Mitchell was proud to slap the patch on her shoulder and announced a celebratory dinner at a new restaurant near his place.
Even ostensibly in charge of SG-1, Cameron explained to Landry that he is well aware of the limits of his command (10.04 "Insiders"). He knew he could not control Vala even before she was a member of the team. As for the others: "Carter and I are the same rank. Teal'c's an alien. Jackson's a civilian. I learned a long time ago, I don't "control" anything." He also confessed to Landry his own fears: "[A]fter almost dying, like I did, there was a part of me that figured…… I could do anything. Well, since coming to the SGC, I have learned that I can't handle any of this without the rest of SG-1." (10.05 "Uninvited"). Landry pointed out it was a good thing that all of them were together.
Mitchell continued to lead SG-1 through the defeat of the Ori and was one of SG-1 when the last Ba'al clone was captured and executed in a Tok'ra ceremony (Stargate: Ark of Truth; Stargate: Continuum). Mitchell's rank at the time of Ba'al's extraction is unclear. An alternate timeline's General Landry said at one point: "there's no record of a Colonel Cameron Mitchell fitting your description currently in the US Air Force, or anywhere else, for that matter." (Stargate: Continuum). In this circumstance, it's likely Landry would've used the full rank of "lieutenant colonel" rather than the abbreviated appellation, but it is not confirmed Mitchell is a "full bird" colonel. In any event, he appears to still lead SG-1 as of this time.
True American Hero
Part of the reason General O'Neill gave Cameron his choice of any post he wanted was Mitchell's selfless actions in saving O'Neill's team and protecting the planet. Mitchell's heroic nature has continued to benefit his teammates and this galaxy while being part of SG-1.
Cameron Mitchell has earned several medals for his heroic actions. Notable among them are:
- Purple Heart— Mitchell has likely earned several of these, both from the Antarctica incident, and injuries he has sustained on SG-1.
- Medal of Honor— Earned for saving SG-1 and his comrades during the Battle of Antarctica (9.01 "Avalon Part 1"; referencing battle in 7.22 "Lost City Part 2")
- Impeccable service record (9.01 "Avalon Part 1")
- Before joining SG-1, Cameron Mitchell was leader of a squadron of F-302s. His mission was to fly to Antarctica and protect SG-1 from Anubis at all costs. He was able to ward off a death glider from one of his fighters. After his own craft was critically damaged and his copilot killed, Mitchell was still able to destroy an al'kesh about to take out SG-1's cargo ship before he himself crashed into the snow. His actions helped SG-1 survive to complete their mission and save the planet from Anubis (9.01 "Avalon Part 1"; Note: see also 7.22 "Lost City Part 2").
- Mitchell set a Mark IX Gatebuster weapon to detonate in a failed attempt to prevent the Ori from establishing a beachhead in the Milky Way galaxy (9.06 "Beachhead").
- Mitchell came up with the idea of beaming a naquadah filled building into space to prevent a Goa'uld planted bomb from destroying Seattle, Washington (9.07 "Ex Deus Machina").
- Mitchell led a mission with Daniel Jackson and SG-22 to use untested technology to capture and possibly turn a Prior, getting a necessary blood sample to try and find a cure to the plague sweeping Earth. Mitchell's and Jackson's mission was successful, and though their contribution did not save the people currently afflicted, their efforts helped develop a vaccine to prevent any further outbreaks (9.10 "Fourth Horseman Part 1" and 9.11 "Fourth Horseman Part 2").
- Mitchell adopted the Sodan ways in an effort to convince Jolan and Haikon that the Ori were the enemy. Though Haikon was unmoved at the time, Jolan grew to accept Cameron's sincere efforts (9.08 "Babylon").
- Mitchell and the rest of SG-1 thwarted a plot by their doubles from an alternate universe to steal the ZPM from Atlantis (9.13 "Ripple Effect").
- Mitchell put his F-302 and the rest of Blue Squadron in the path of the Ori satellite in the hopes they would deflect some of the satellite's weapon fire and save Prometheus. This plan was abandoned after Col. Pendergast ordered the squadron to proceed to the rendezvous coordinates as the Prometheus crew abandoned ship (9.15 "Ethon").
- SG-1 stood as the last line of defense firing their weapons until depleted of ammunition to protect the IOA delegation from the scourge of alien insects overwhelming the planet where the Gamma Site was located (9.17 "The Scourge").
- Mitchell purposefully put himself forward to do battle with Merlin's Black Knight to protect the villagers of Camelot from its wrath and give Daniel Jackson time to disable the holographic defense mechanism. He was almost killed before Daniel destroyed the device (9.20 "Camelot").
Saving His Team
- Though technically Daniel Jackson was not a member of SG-1 at the time, Mitchell had been actively trying to recruit him to rejoin the team. He was very concerned when Daniel and Vala collapsed after activating the Ancient Communication Terminal. When Vala went into arrest, he ordered Lee to remove the stone. When that didn't work, Lee prevented him from shooting the device, explaining that could even cause an explosion. Mitchell and Teal'c eventually came up with the idea of tossing the device into the vortex created when the Stargate first activated, thus disintegrating the device and releasing Daniel and Vala from its control (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin").
- When under hostile fire Mitchell ordered SG-1 to fall back while he covered their retreat. His team successfully escaped, but Mitchell was injured in one-on-one battle with a Sodan warrior, Volnek (9.08 "Babylon").
- When ambushed by Sodan warriors, Mitchell engaged one in hand-to-hand combat, gaining the upper hand until being outnumbered. He surrendered, along with Daniel Jackson and SG-22 (9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1").
- Later that same mission, Mitchell volunteered to be the guinea pig to test the Prior's powers so that they would know when the anti-Prior device was working. Mitchell risked his life, and was almost choked to death before Daniel Jackson found the correct frequency (9.11 "The Fourth Horseman Part 2").
- Although out of phase from an onbase accident, Mitchell went offworld with a rescue team when he learned Teal'c and the Sodan were in danger. He offered to be the bait for the zombified Volnek to save Teal'c from any danger. Although he thought there was no danger to himself, he ended up almost being killed by Volnek (9.18 "Arthur's Mantle").
- Took the helm of Odyssey to take responsibility on himself for the risky maneuver to have the drifting Sam land in the hangar bay in her spacesuit before she ran out of oxygen (10.01 "Flesh and Blood Part 3").
- Risked blowing cover to save Teal'c from torture at the hands of the Lucian Alliance. Was convinced by Teal'c to continue the ruse to save the ship and the rest of his team (10.09 "Company of Thieves").
- Stayed by Samantha Carter's side and salvaged Merlin's transdimensional device (i.e. Arthur's Mantle) when surrounded by Ori troops (10.12 "Line in the Sand").
- Although following orders in an attempt to stop Teal'c on a solo Jaffa mission, Mitchell and his team risked their careers at the SGC by whitewashing the report to indicate Arkad's forces stopped them instead of Teal'c himself (10.17 "Talion").
- Cameron Mitchell Biography Home and Links
- Early Life and Military Career
- Personality and Motivations
- Family and Relationships
- Injuries Received
- Favorites and Expressions
- Key Episodes in Cameron's Character Arc
- Wikipedia entry for first Space Shuttle mission
- Congressional Medal of Honor Society, where you can learn about the medal and the real life heroes who received their country's highest honor for service above and beyond the call of duty.
--Aurora 17:09, 29 January 2006 (PST)