Although not an African-American, ADM Mullen has done more to mentor, advise, coach, challenge and assist many of the past and present group of the Minority officer corps, especially Flag Officers. He continued the initiatives started by Admiral Zumwalt and Admiral Boorda to allow everyone to compete, serve in all positions of authority and be treated equally.
ADM MICHAEL G. MULLEN ’68, USN (RET.)
By any measure, the career of Admiral Mike Mullen is an extraordinary one. Over the course of his 47 year journey from midshipman to admiral, both the nation and the military have witnessed unprecedented changes, thanks in part to his dedication and leadership. Consistently grounded in loyalty, integrity and courage, Mullen has advocated for our troops, their families, especially wounded service members and families of the fallen.
He advocated as well for the repeal of laws prohibiting gays from serving in the military. After graduating with the Class of 1968, Mullen’s first sea tour was aboard COLLETT (DD 730). He assumed command of NOXUBEE (AOG 56) while still a lieutenant and subsequently commanded GOLDSBOROUGH (DDG 20) and YORKTOWN (CG-48). He received the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Award for Leadership for his tour in command of GOLDSBOROUGH.
In 1996, he was named Commander, Cruiser/Destroyer Group TWO ahead of a Pentagon tour as Director of Surface Warfare, OPNAV. His next assignments were Commander, Second Fleet, NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic and Joint Task Force 120 in 2000, followed by Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements and Assessments in 2001. Serving next as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Mullen focused on joint readiness and military support for national security. His duties as principal on the Navy’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council included implementing improvements to the Sea Enterprise effort and resulted in more than $16 billion in savings to the federal government. He commanded more than 17,000 NATO troops in the Balkans in his role as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Commander, Joint Forces Naples, while simultaneously expanding international military cooperation in the face of worldwide terrorism.
In 2005, Mullen assumed the role of Chief of Naval Operations. He was first confirmed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2007 and served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama leading our military in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the fight against terrorists. In retirement, he continues to serve our nation on several federal advisory groups, and he serves on the boards of General Motors, Sprint and the Bloomberg Foundation and as an adjunct Professor at Princeton University. He has served the Naval Academy as a Company Officer and as a Forrestal Lecturer, most recently in 2011, and as a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees.
Admiral Mullen has been a true warrior in the area of Diversity since early in his career. He always recognized the challenges faced by minority Midshipmen, Officers and Enlisted. He adopted a vision that he maintained throughout his career and emphasized them during his command tours which took bravery and courage.