Retired Marine 2-star general found dead at sprawling California base

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The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is looking into the circumstances surrounding the death of a retired major general whose body was discovered at a Marine base on Saturday.

Maj. Gen. William Mullen, age 59, was found deceased at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, the San Bernardino County coroner’s office confirmed.

His body was found in Building 1651, according to coroner records, Military.com reported. The building is home to the Marine Corps Communication–Electronics School, according to an online base directory.

The Marine Corps provided a statement to Marine Corps Times stating that Mullen was at the base attending the Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group change of command ceremony.

The retired major general was once the commanding general of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Center in Twentynine Palms, California, and retired from the Corps in 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Marine Corps also confirmed to Marine Corps Times that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service was investigating the incident.

NCIS was unable to be reached for comment.

The San Bernardino County Coroner’s Department is handling the autopsy and results are pending, a spokeswoman confirmed.

As a commanding officer of the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company, Mullen deployed to Operation Desert Shield and took part in counter-narcotics missions along with Joint Task Force-6, according to his official biography. He later deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit as a commanding officer of Fox Company and joined Operation Sea Signal, a 1994 military response to Cuban and Haitian refugees seeking asylum.

He deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005 as operations officer for Regimental Combat Team – 8. In 2007, he commanded 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, also in Fallujah.

At the time of his death, Mullen was serving as the commanding general of Training and Education Command, based in Quantico, Virginia, according to the Corps.

Mullen’s “dedicated service to our nation and the Marine Corps will always be remembered,” Maj. Gen. Thomas Savage, the commanding general of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, said in a statement provided to Marine Corps Times by the Marine Corps.

Reached by phone on Friday, multiple members of Mullen’s family declined to comment to the media.

Riley Ceder is an editorial fellow at Military Times, where he covers breaking news, criminal justice and human interest stories. He previously worked as an investigative practicum student at The Washington Post, where he contributed to the ongoing Abused by the Badge investigation.

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