Edgar Dean Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas, on September 17, 1930, son of Joseph T. and Ollidean (Arnold) Mitchell. He graduated from Artesia (New Mexico) High School and attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management in 1952. On September 10, 1952 he enlisted in the U. S. Navy and had recruit training at the Recruit Training Command, Naval Training, San Diego, California. Completing Officer’s Candidate School, Newport Rhode Island, he was commissioned Ensign in the U. S. Naval Reserve, May 7, 1953. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from February 26, 1971, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to the U. S. Navy on July 26, 1956.
After receiving his commission in 1953, he had flight training at the Naval Air Basic Training Command, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, until April 1954, then had further training at the Naval Air Station, Hutchinson, Kansas. In 1954 he received the Daughters of the American Revolution Award for achieving the highest overall marks during flight training. Designated Naval Aviator, he had instruction at the Fleet Airborne Electronics Training Unit, U. S. Pacific Fleet, from July to September 1954, then joined Patrol Squadron TWENTY-NINE, deployed to Okinawa. He transferred in November 1955 to Heavy Attack Squadron TWO, based on the USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) and USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) and in April 1958 reported as Communications Officer and A3D Project Pilot of Air Development Squadron FIVE.
During the period July 1959 to August 1961 he attended the Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering. He continued instruction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge as was awarded a Doctor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics in June 1964. He was Chief of the Project Management Division at the Navy Field Office for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, Los Angeles, California, until April 1965, when he reported for instruction at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilots School, Edwards Air Force Base, California and completed training there first in his class. He was selected in April 1966 for astronaut training and ordered to the National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas.
He was the Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo XIV, which with Rear Admiral (then Captain) Alan B. Shepard, Jr., USN as Commander of the Lunar Landing Crew and Lieutenant Colonel (then Major) Stuart Roosa, USAF as Module Pilot blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Florida, on January 31, 1971. They landed successfully at Fra Mauro, on February 4, 1971 and remained there for 33.5 hours. During that time, Mitchell and Shepard participated in two moon walks of a little over four hours each. Splash down was on February 9, 800 miles south of Samoa. They were successfully picked up by helicopter and returned to the recovery ship USS New Orleans (LPH-11).
For this outstanding feat he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
In addition to the Distinguished Service Medal, Captain Mitchell had the Air Medal, the China Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star.
He was a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sigma Xi and Gaama Tau. He enjoyed handball and swimming. His hobbies were astronomy and electronics.