A retired Marine General who once oversaw all training across the Marine Corps and who recently was in Ukraine to review that nation’s military training was found dead on Twentynine Palms training center, the service’s largest training base. 

Maj. Gen. William F. Mullen, 59, who retired from the Marines in 2020, was “found deceased” on June 29 on the base, the Marines confirmed in a statement to Task & Purpose. According to an online database maintained by the San Bernardino County coroner’s office, Mullen was found at the base’s Building 1651, a non-descript single-story classroom building used by the base’s Communication-Electronics school. Mullen was once the commander of Twentynine Palms before taking over as the Commanding General of the Marine’s Training and Education Command, which oversees the service’s professional curriculums and training centers.

“Major General Mullen’s dedicated service to our nation and the Marine Corps will always be remembered. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones,” said Major General Thomas Savage, the Commanding General of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command in a statement.

Demanding training was a theme in Mullen’s career. As a young officer, Mullen graduated from the Army’s Airborne and Ranger schools, the Marine’s Summer Mountain Leader course and the Royal Marine Arctic Warfare Survival courses. As a battlefield commander, he led a battalion commander in Fallujah, Iraq from 2005 to 2007. In retirement, Mullen lived in Arvada, Colorado, according to local media and the coroner’s office, and the University of Colorado’s leadership center listed him as a board member. He also recently met with Ukrainian defense officials and spoke about that nation’s training schools.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is currently investigating the cause of death..

In 2016, a Twentynine Palms photographer photographed then-brigadier general Mullen taking the Marine Combat Fitness test, including as the over-50 Marine carried a much-younger partner in a fireman’s carry.

Mullen taking the Marine Combat Fitness Test in 2016 as a one-star general.

Mullen was in Ukraine in February and met with Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Natalia Kalmykova. In photographs and an interview published in Ukrainian media, Mullen appeared to be involved in reviewing and developing training programs for Ukrainian troops, particularly at officer academies.

In an interview with a Ukrainian reporter, he expressed strong support for U.S. military support for the country.

“Ukrainians don’t have that much. Our country is not helping much these days. I am not satisfied with this. I think that politicians are not paying attention to what is really important in the world, but to what is happening in their own little world in Washington,” Mullen said. “I do not like it. Need to help. We must, we must send more aid. We have already sent a lot, but we need to keep sending money because it is a good help in your fight.”

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the death. No details on his death or how he was found were released.

Mullen was commissioned in 1986 from Marquette University and served initially as rifle platoon commander. He deployed to operation Desert Shield and worked in both counter-terror and counter-narcotics positions during his career. He deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit as the small boat raid and cliff assault company commander in the former Yugoslavia and led a counter-drug operation in Los Padres National Forest in California. He served as a Marine Aide to President Bill Clinton and commanded the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines in Fallujah, Iraq from 2005 to 2007.

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