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2010: John Mulholland

American Politics and Policy

Lieutenant General John Mulholland, Jr.
U.S. Army Special Operations Commander
October 4, 2010

Commanding troops is a familiar role for Commanding General John Mulholland, U.S. Army Special Operations Forces. But on Monday, October 4, 2010, he came to his alma mater and assumed what for him was an unusual role of teacher and public speaker. Throughout the day, this three star general interacted with students in class and around campus, sharing insights about Afghanistan and giving thorough, candid responses to the numerous questions posed by Furman students. For General Mulholland's biography, click here

During his public address that evening, Lieutenant General Mulholland emphasized that while the Taliban, al Quaeda, and Osama bin Laden are often the first things that come to mind when one thinks about Afghanistan, the country and its people are much more complex than that. Speaking to over 400 students and community members, he described the challenges of bringing peace to this fractured and war-torn country. Nevertheless, Mulholland stated unequivocally, the military is undeterred: “At the end of the day this will be about our will, our commitment as a military, and our commitment as a nation to give the Afghan people the peace they deserve.”

Without a doubt, his visit was an inspiring and memorable one.

Lieutenant General Mulholland’s visit to Furman was made possible 
through the generous support of the Mayville Foundation.

Highlights of his visit to Furman:

  • Spoke to Dr. Mike Bressler’s class on International Peace and Security
  • Had lunch with 20 members of the Riley Institute Advance team
  • Addressed Furman’s 78 cadets and cadre members
  • Gave public address, “Afghanistan” to standing room only crowd at Younts Conference Center.
  • Enjoyed private reception with family and friends in downtown Greenville

Press Coverage

Read a story about this event by John Roberts, FUNet Editor: Engage Furman

About General Mulholland

Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr. assumed command of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command November 7, 2008. Prior to commanding USASOC, Mulholland was commanding general of Special Operations Command Central at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Lt. Gen. Mulholland graduated with a BA in history from Furman University, Greenville, S.C., in 1978, where he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. His first post was with the 193rd Infantry Brigade in the former Panama Canal Zone where he served as a rifle platoon leader, weapons platoon leader and company executive office in both 4th BN (Mech), 20th Infantry (Sykes Regulars) and Co. A (ABN), 3rd BN, 5th Infantry. He then moved to Fort Bragg, N.C., to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course. Upon graduation in September 1983, then-Captain Mulholland joined the 5th Special Forces Group (ABN), Project B-500.

Since joining Special Forces, Lt. Gen. Mulholland has commanded at the ODA, Company, Battalion/Squadron and Group levels within Special Forces. Additionally, he served in other special operations assignments including Special Operations Command South (Panama) as well as the operations officer at 1st SFOD-D (ABN). Then-Colonel Mulholland commanded Joint Special Operations Task Force-North (TF Dagger) in the opening days of Operation Enduring Freedom and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-West (TF Dagger) in the initial campaign of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He subsequently served as the Chief, Office of Military Cooperation-Kuwait, as Commanding General, United States Special Forces Command (ABN) and as Deputy Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command.

Lt. Gen. Mulholland earned a MMAS (History) while attending the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.