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Navy Unmanned Tester Nationally Recognized

Devontae Mitchell, left, a flight test engineer with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (UX) 24, receives the squadron’s Ghost Engineer of the Quarter award for the fourth quarter of 2020 from UX-24 commanding officer Cmdr. Photo courtesy of the US Navy.

NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER AIRCRAFT DIVISION, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - Devontae Mitchell, a flight test engineer with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (UX) 24, “Ghost Wolves,” was selected as a 2021 Modern-Day Technology Leader by the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA).

“Mr. Mitchell’s numerous achievements in technology stood out among the group,” wrote Tyrone D. Taborn, CEO and Publisher of US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine, in his letter announcing Mitchell’s award.

As the Integrated Communications Systems Flight Test Engineer for the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS) program (PMA-263), Mitchell manages a diverse portfolio of projects including testing of a laser designator, two separate communications relay payloads, and multiple SIGINT payloads employed on two separate unmanned systems in support of PMA-263 and United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) requirements.

Nathan Fielder, Branch Head for Communications Systems and Networks Test and Evaluation in Naval Air Systems Command’s Integrated Mission and Avionics Division, said that although Mitchell has been with UX-24 for just two years, “he has repeatedly demonstrated an innate ability to take a project and execute every aspect of it like a seasoned veteran.”

“In his short career at Naval Test Wing Atlantic, Mr. Mitchell has left his positive impact in the test planning, test execution, resource allocation/coordination, and test reporting for projects in electro-optical/infrared, communications, datalinks, radar, and unmanned air vehicle performance fields,” Fielder write in his nomination letter for Mitchell’s award. “In this year alone Devontae has generated one test plan for multiple SIGINT relay payloads, led the execution of ten Category A test flights totaling 60 flight hours, and generated seven technical reports documenting test results. Equally impressive and influential, he consistently maintains a positive and motivated attitude even faced with challenges.”

The news came on the heels of the announcement that Mitchell was also named the squadron’s “Ghost Engineer of the Quarter” for the fourth quarter of 2020.

“Devontae is setting the standard for flight test engineers (FTEs) at UX-24,” his squadron citation reads. “Devontae’s dedication, initiative, and willingness to help others makes him a model for other FTEs to learn from. Despite being a two-year engineer, Devontae has established himself as a leader and the go-to flight test engineer at UX-24.”

Mitchell will be recognized along with other recipients of the Modern-Day Technology Leader and Science Spectrum Trailblazer awards at the BEYA STEM Virtual Conference Feb. 11-13.

The Black Engineer of the Year Awards are administered by US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine, the Council of Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, host Lockheed Martin Corporation, and sponsor Aerotek.

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