Military Career – United States Naval Officer
Mitchell Charles Brown was born and raised in Ohio, graduating from Trotwood-Madison High School in 1979. He was graduated from the Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1986, and accepted a direct commission as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. He attended Officer Indoctrination School, Newport, Rhode Island in October 1986 where he was appointed Company Commander for “Hotel Company”.
He reported to Naval Hospital San Diego, CA in November 1986, where he was a staff optometrist and clinical instructor. He was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for his leadership and patient care. In August of 1991, he was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines as the Head of the Optometry Department. In the Philippines, he was the only U.S. trained eye care provider within a 200 mile radius and provided comprehensive clinical care to both active duty forces and the local population for acute / traumatic conditions. During this tour of duty, he was promoted personally by the Surgeon General of the Navy to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In November 1992 he reported to the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI), NAS Pensacola, FL. He completed six months of training and received a secondary designation as a Naval Aerospace Physiologist. He remained at NAMI for three more years as a staff optometrist and instructor to more than 300 student Naval Flight Surgeons. During that time, he co-developed an aeromedical training program specifically for optometrists, that is now recognized as an official Naval qualification designation (“Aerospace Optometrist”). He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his achievements. In 1996 he was assigned to the Branch Medical Clinic, NAS Miramar, CA. In 1998 he deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) for six months. During this Western Pacific Deployment, he developed and spearheaded a demonstration project for optometrists to provide eye and vision care to Carrier Battle Groups consisting of approximately 9 warships and 9,000 personnel during 6 month deployments. During this deployment, he was promoted to the rank of Commander. In 1999, he was assigned as Clinical Director of the Navy Refractive Surgery Center, Naval Medical Center San Diego, where he was an integral part of the team that developed and implemented the laser vision correction program for the Armed Services. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his accomplishments.
In 2001, Commander Brown was selected as the Armed Forces Optometrist of the Year. Also in 2001, he was selected for the Aeromedical Dual Designator Program, and reported to Training Squadron TWO, NAS Whiting Field, FL. He completed primary flight training with the highest cumulative score in his class and made the Commodore’s List with Distinction. While in Florida, he also served as Department Head, Optometry, Naval Hospital Pensacola. In 2003, he was re-assigned to the Refractive Surgery Center in San Diego. In 2006 he was appointed Deputy Director of the Navy Refractive Surgery program, which included oversight of seven Navy centers that collectively performed more than 17,000 surgical procedures annually. The refractive surgery program has now evolved into a DoD Tri-service program that has 22 surgical centers worldwide and provides laser vision correction to more than 25,000 service members annually. It has been called one of the most significant and operationally relevant programs in the history of Navy medicine. During his assignment to the Refractive Surgery Program, he was an investigator in more than 30 clinical trials, many of which led to the approval of laser vision correction for military pilots and for NASA Astronauts.
- Meritorious Service Medal (x2)
- Navy Commendation Medal
- Navy Achievement Medal
- Navy Unit Commendation
- Meritorious Unit Commendation
- Sea Service Ribbon
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Ribbon
- Rep. Philippines Presidential Unit Citation
- Overseas Service Ribbon
- National Defense Medal (x2)