Story and Photos By Lt. Janette Arencibia kabul, Afghanistan


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Lt. Janette Arencibia
KABUL, Afghanistan – They spent most of their lives riding in the same vehicle. When headed out on a mission together in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sgt. Donna Mitchell and Spc. Allan Kenniston Vogel are required to ride separately. These warriors are Mother and Son, from Portland, Ore., now deployed to Afghanistan with the 41st Brigade Combat Team.

Military service runs in the family. Mitchell’s father, Billy G. Phebus, is a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant. Her brother is Staff Sgt. Steven D. Phebus, Air Force Reserve based in Portland. Her nephew, Jason Phebus, is stationed in Minot, N.D. with the Air Force.

“I was working at the recruiter’s office before leaving for basic and they told me to think of people who I knew that I could recruit,” Vogel said. “The first person that came to mind was my mother. My mother was prior enlisted and I knew she wanted to serve her country again.”

Mitchell served in the Air National Guard from 1976-1984. For three years, she worked as a computer operator. Her last five years of service she worked in base supply administration.

“Service to our country is in my blood,” Mitchell said, “my father is a retired drill sergeant.”

After serving in the Air National Guard, Mitchell worked at Kelly Services Temporary Agency and then stayed home to raise her boys.

Prior to enlisting in the Oregon Army National Guard, Mitchell worked with the State of Oregon as the Renewal Technician for the Oregon State Board of Nursing. After September 11, 2001, she felt compelled to get back in uniform.

Serving alongside her son works to her advantage and at times, has been an advantage to the command. Mitchell said one time she was asked to counsel her son regarding a timeliness issue.

“Master Sgt. Deathridge asked that I talk with him about tardiness,” Mitchell said. “Since that hour-long counseling between us, he has never been late.”

Vogal is just as quick to admit that at times, a good hour long time-out might be just what he needs. He is a role model and example to his younger brother who just finished basic training.

“My little brother, David Andrew Workinger, is serving with the 218th in Portland, Ore. and just finished basic,” Vogel said. “Now he’s my gun chief. He wanted to come here with us.”

Mitchell and Vogel hold each other in high regards and have an equal amount of respect and admiration for the other’s talents and skills.

“She is someone I am proud to recruit because of her people skills and her knowledge of the military,” Vogel said. “She really knows how to command people.”

Mitchell is proud of her son’s accomplishments and what his service means to the entire family.

“His enthusiasm for the military has been an inspiration to the entire family,” Mitchell said.

Together, Mother and Son are proud to serve in Afghanistan, keeping a strong tradition of military service all in the family.

Cutlines DSC_0025
Sgt. Donna Mitchell counsels her son Spec. Allan Vogel about the need for punctuality.
DSC_0005 – Since childhood, Spec. Vogel was driven everywhere by his mother. In Afghanistan, they cannot ride in the same vehicle.
DSC_0020 – Sgt. Donna Mitchell and her son, Spec. Allan Vogel stick together while deployed to Afghanistan.

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