As we embark on our 81st Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders (DCC) tour this month, the USO pauses to pay tribute to our beloved, longtime supporter Suzanne Mitchell.

Mitchell, who was director of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders from 1975 to 1989, died Sept. 27 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Her extraordinary commitment to the USO will never be forgotten and the entire USO family extends its sincere condolences for the loss of our treasured tour veteran.

Mitchell laid the groundwork for DCC to have more international USO tours than any other entertainment group, and her memory will live on in the traditions she personally instituted and championed since the first DCC tour with the USO in 1979.

Her 18 USO/DOD tours touched the lives of countless service members and their families, further connecting them to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.

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Suzanne Mitchell with service members.

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Suzanne Mitchell with Army Gen. Livsey.

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Suzanne Mitchell hugs a service member.

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Suzanne Mitchell with service members.

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Suzanne Mitchell receives a pin.

Dana Killmer, a six-time USO tour veteran and DCC cheerleader from 1981 to 1985, said Mitchell would spend hours before each USO tour talking to her cheerleaders about the meaning and significance of what they were about to experience. Killmer also said Mitchell had notebooks full of wonderful letters from service members and was fond of a DCC jacket she decorated with unit crests, medals and insignias of service members who presented them when she and the DCC cheerleaders visited.

Mitchell’s legacy will continue to bring comfort and entertainment to those who wear the nation’s uniform for years to come. The USO is forever grateful for the time she spent extending kindness, comfort and encouragement to America’s service members around the world.