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News | June 21, 2022

Cmdr. John Mullen takes command as father and former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff watches

By Petty Officer 1st Class Theron Godbold Navy Recruiting District Ohio

“I remember it was his change of command day for the USS Yorktown, CG 48, It was 1991 or 1992, I was 12 or 13, and he got up there and had just assumed command. He was giving his opening speech to the crew and made a comment, ‘I am going to make the USS Yorktown better when I leave than when I took over.’” Cmdr. John S. Mullen, commanding officer of Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Ohio River Valley (ORV), said remembering words his father, Former Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. (ret.) Michael Mullen said over 30 years ago.

“I sat there wondering if that was a pot shot at the guy before him, and the answer is no, it’s not. As I take command, I want NTAG Ohio River Valley to be better when I leave in 18 months than the day I took over.” Cmdr. Mullen said.

While the memory from that moment could last young John Mullen a lifetime, it didn’t have to. Now with roles reversed, it is Cmdr. Mullen front and center, taking on a command of his own.

Cmdr. Mullen Took command of NTAG ORV Friday from Cmdr. Warren Overton during a change of command ceremony in the auditorium of the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC).

Mullen’s father retired Admiral, former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Chief of Naval Operations Michael Mullen was in attendance watching his son follow in his illustrious footsteps.

“On the day where my son John (we call him Jack) assumes command, his mother and I are full of joy and beaming with pride.” Adm. (ret.) Michael Mullen said. “There is no more important position in our Navy than Commanding Officer which encompasses full responsibility and accountability. To have John achieve this milestone is simply awesome in every sense of the word. He will be great.”

Cmdr. Mullen said that as you go through your career, you get asked “who is your mentor” and it is pretty amazing when your mentor eventually becomes the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CNO, but to him he was always dad first.

Captain Rajashaker Reddy, Commodore of Navy Recruiting Region East was the guest speaker while the Families of Cmdr. Warren Overton and Cmdr. John Mullen were in attendance as well as U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Kristen B. Fabry, commander of Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime.

From a Fireman Recruit to Commander of ORV I have had an amazing adventure in the Navy, and over the last year and a half it has been my pleasure serving with all of you. Cmdr. Overton told Sailors in attendance.

More than 75 Sailors and attendees gave a roaring applause to their former commander after he spoke to the crowd gathered for the event.

Cmdr. Overton also held his retirement ceremony directly after the change of command.

As Mullen accepts command, amid the pomp and circumstance, the formations at attention, there are 3 sets of eyes on him as well. Young Keegan, Brynn, and Camden watch as their father takes command, with that same baited breath. And the pride continues.

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