|This article, Howard Mitchell, is currently under active construction.|
Major Mitchell's story is like all too many who have survived the destruction of their world. Originally an inhabitant of Arcadia and a member of the UNSC Arcadian Militia, his wife and children were killed with the Covenant attacked Pirth City, leaving him emotionally devastated. For a long time, their loss left him with suicidal tendencies, but after therapy he was cleared for continued service, and even managed to pass the requirements for the ODST. AMong the Helljumpers, he found a new reason to keep living - the deaths of as many Covenant as possible, as painfully as possible. Serving as the XO of the 506th ODST Force Recon Battalion, Mitchell works with Colonel Forrester and Glaurung in the units operations, and handles the logistical side of operations.
Mitchell's family controlled a large amount of land on the Mu continent, and he was meant to inherit it as the only child of a rich family. Perhaps understandably, he soon chaffed in the high-flying society of the Arcadian upper class, enlisting in the Arcadian Colonial Militia as soon as he turned 18 partly to spite his family, and also partly because he had a genuine urge to serve in the UNSC, but his family would have pulled strings if they could in the Marine Corps, Navy, Army or Air Force to get him into Officer Cadet School unfairly. He wanted to earn his rank on his own merits, and although his family insisted that he give up on the militia, he would rapidly climb through its ranks, organising several companies.
He also made friends otherwise outside his family's social circle, and married his wife, Eleanor, in 2526. As the Covenant marched through the Outer Colonies, the size of the Arcadian Militia wouild grow dramatically. Retired soldiers and Marines would be recruited to lend their expertise, including Sergeant Major Kenneth Olgarth, a former member of the 66th Marine Regiment, whose experience in the Insurrection would prove invaluable to the Militiamen. Under his tutelage, the Arcadian Militia would turn into an effective force, rather than the rabble of weekend warriors most would turn out to be, and would become an invaluable asset when the Covenant invaded in 2531.
As the Covenant broke through the orbital patrol landing troops in and around the capital city, huge numbers of civilians were caught behind enemy lines, unable to reach the transports evacuating them to safety. Among them were Eleanor Mitchell and their two children, Miriel and Thomas - they were killed as a Wraith platoon bombarded their city block. The only consolation was that they were spared a more grisly fate - squads of Jackal death squads moved in afterward, slaughtering any survivors. The rest of his family would be killed as the Covenant moved out into the countryside, their family land burned by plasma as they began excavation operations to search for relics. Even the valiant Sergeant Major Olgarth would be killed in action, the veteran managing to hold off an entire Covenant platoon while the rest of his militiamen evacuated in UNSC Pelicans. Their loss had a profound effect on Mitchell, and after the evacuation operations were completed, he was forced to undergo psychological evaluation and rehabilation for post-traumatic stress disorder. For a number of years, he was deemed to have suicidal tendencies, though eventually he was cleared for active duty.
Finding himself alone, and without a colony to return to, the only option Mitchell felt he was left with was enlistment in the UNSC military - simply giving up and becoming one of the many refugees was simply unacceptable to him. Enlisting in the UNSC Marine Corps in 2535, he was assigned to the 313th Marine Regiment, and deployed to Megiddo, where he would see action again when the Covenant invaded the colony. His experience on Arcadia made him a valuable asset to the regiment, and he was soon commissioned as a First Lieutenant, given command of a platoon. His engagements with the Covenant are textbook examples of how superior UNSC tactics, strategy, and coherence can offset the technological and numerical advantages the Covenant enjoy, and would attract the attention of then-Major Verdani Forrester, XO of the 506th Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Force Reconnaissance Battalion. Though loathe to transfer away from the men he had fought alongside, Mitchell would accept the Major's offer, and was officially recruited into the 105th ODST Division, promoted to Captain, put through a basic ODST training regimen, and given command of a company in the 506th.
His first deployment as an ODST would not be a particularly smoothe one - launched from orbit over Delta Pavonis, his company was caught in the crosshairs of Covenant AA, and Mitchell himself was hit by needler flak, his pod digging into the surface forty kilometers away from his intended drop zone. Away from his men, and short on air supply and available resourced, he managed to locate a weapons cache pod and rejoin his Company as they withstood a Covenant counter-attack, arriving just in time to coordinate a counter-attack of their own against an armoured column trying to flank them. Repelling infantry and air assaults, their defense proved a crucial diversion while the Spartan-II Indigo Team brought down the flak towers and attacked the Covenant from behind with their own cannons, allowing the ODST's to secure the area. Managing to capture the base of operations relatively intact, as well as capturing a number of Grunts for ONI interrogation, the operation was deemed a success - but at the cost of a quarter of Mitchell's company, and the death of then-commanding officer Colonel Horrace Torstonson. In his place, Major Forrester would assume command of the battalion, achieving the rank of Colonel, promoting Mitchell to Major and making him the battalion XO.