By Senior Airman Jason J. Brown, 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs Peninsula Warrior Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System
Joint Task Force-Civil Support dedicated its headquarters building at Ft. Eustis June 14, in memory of U.S. Army Capt. Michael Dermot Mullan, a reservist, emergency-room nurse and decorated New York City firefighter. Mullan died while attempting to rescue fellow firefighters following the collapse of the first tower of the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
While serving as a member of the department’s Ladder 12, Mullan gave his life rescuing civilians and firefighters trapped inside the Marriott Hotel, adjacent to the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center. His heroics were part of a pivotal event in American history, resulting in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and changing the landscape of disaster preparedness and civil support, paving the way for the formation of JTF-CS.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jonathan Treacy, JTF-CS commander, joined Mullan’s family, including his mother Theresa and sister Kelly-Ann, as well as Fire Department of New York and local firefighters, and local civic and military leaders to honor the captain’s life and legacy during the ceremony.
“[Mullan] was dedicated to the job, to his mission and to serving others,” Treacy said in his remarks. “He was devoted to his fellow firefighters and Service members, and he was driven to helping others in the true sense of service before self.
“In other words, no one is more perfect to represent what Joint Task Force-Civil Support is all about.”
Fire Department of New York Battalion Chief Tom McCarthy made the trip south for the dedication, presenting Treacy with a memorial firefighter’s helmet and a framed piece of steel from the site of the attacks on behalf of city Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.
McCarthy, who worked alongside Mullan, shared his fondest memories of the witty but dedicated firefighter.
“I’d be stretching the truth a bit if I said he was always professional in his conduct. When there was down time, you could always count on Mike’s jokes, funny remarks and pranks. But when the bells came in, he was all business,” McCarthy said. “Mark Twain said, ‘humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.’ If this is true, Mike blessed more people than the Pope.”
Perhaps most moving, Mullan’s mother, Theresa Mullan, took to the podium to reminisce on her son’s myriad of accomplishments and indefatigable character. She recalled her son at various stages of his life, touching on the ambition he demonstrated even as a boy, his career paths and the mischievousness he became beloved for.
“Happy is the man who is rich in good deeds, for he shall be honored in life and remembered long after for his goodness,” she said, tears welling in her eyes as she closed her speech. “Thank you for remembering my son.”
Following a standing ovation from the crowd, she joined Treacy to unveil the bronze plaque at the entrance to the headquarters, officially re-opening the building as “Mullan Hall.”
Joint Task Force-Civil Support is the only standing Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear, or CBRN, response joint task force in the U.S. If called upon, JTF-CS provides command and control of 5,200 federal military forces located at more than 36 locations throughout the nation. Designed to provide a life-saving capability within 24 hours of notification, these federal military forces offer various life-saving military assets, such as search and rescue and emergency medical capabilities.