The commanding officer of Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Ohio River Valley, Cmdr. John Mullen, was relieved by Commodore Bob Reddy, Navy Recruiting Region East, on Oct. 12, 2022, due to loss of confidence in his ability to command. US Navy photo.
Big Navy fired the commanding officer of Navy Talent Acquisition Group Ohio River Valley only five months after he took the helm of the recruiting depot, but that’s not what's raising a few eyebrows across the Pentagon.
The man who got the ax was Cmdr. John Stewart Mullen. He’s the son of retired Adm. Michael Mullen, the four-star who served as both chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations.
Commodore Bob Reddy, the commanding officer of Navy Recruiting Region East, relieved John Mullen on Wednesday, Oct. 12, “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” according to a prepared statement released in the wake of his termination.
Mullen’s departure was tied to a command investigation and was administrative in nature, with no criminal charges trailing it.
Cmdr. John Mullen (left), commanding officer Navy Talent Acquisition Group Ohio River Valley and Cmdr. Warren Overton (right) bow their heads during the invocation for achange of command ceremony on Friday, June 17, 2022. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Theron Godbold.
He’s been temporarily reassigned to the staff of Ohio’s Navy Reserve Center Columbus. His executive officer, Cmdr. Eric Moss, has fleeted up to assume all duties as commanding officer. A new XO has not been named.
Mullen arrived at Columbus-based NTAG Ohio River Valley in 2020 to serve as the executive officer, and he was promoted to command on June 17, 2022.
Coffee or Die Magazine’s attempts to reach him for comment were not successful.
“Navy commanding officers are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct. They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards,” said Capt. Jodie Cornell, the spokesperson for the Chief of Naval Personnel, in a prepared statement emailed to Coffee or Die.
Retired Adm. Michael Mullen (right), the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his wife, Deborah, watch as their son, Cmdr. John Mullen, takes command of Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Ohio River Valley during his change of command ceremony on June 17, 2022. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Theron Godbold.
A 2002 graduate of the US Naval Academy, Mullen is a naval flight officer who has received numerous decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and three Navy Commendation Medals.
He’s flown with the “Grey Knights” of Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron 46, the “Pro’s Nest” of Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron 30, and the “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron 8, according to his military records.
His sea service includes more than two years on board the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush between 2010 and 2012.
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Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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