The greater Homestead community received word last week that former Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) Commander Brigadier General Sean Mulholland had died. The general will be remembered as a friend to the community and a true leader who will be missed by all.
From the US Army’s official obituary:
General Sean Mulholland, 58, of Huntersville, North Carolina passed away on August 8, 2018. He grew up in Lake Valhalla, Montville, New Jersey. He was the beloved son of the late Dr. Robert and Mary Mulholland. Devoted father of Colton and Mack Mulholland and step-father to Camilla Cardenas and Sarah Cardenas. He was married to Karina Mulholland. Sean was the beloved brother of Kevin Mulholland, Sheila and Frank Kettles, Patricia Poland and Moira and James Durivage. Sean’s brother Bob Mulholland passed away in 2017.
Sean was a graduate of Morris Catholic High School in Denville, New Jersey where he was an All-State Wrestler, Football player and Captain of both teams. He went to The Catholic University of America where he graduated with a B.S. in Biology. Sean was Captain of Catholic University Football team as a Free Safety and formidable Rugby Player while at Catholic University. He worked full time at night to pay for his school as a bartender on Capitol Hill while going to school full time and playing sports. This work ethic would serve Sean well when he enlisted for attendance in the US Army Officer’s Candidate School with the goal of becoming a Physician.
In 1985 Sean was commissioned as an infantry officer. When his feet hit the ground on Fryar drop zone in Ft. Benning Georgia after his first jump his calling became clear. He would not go to medical school but would make the Army Special Forces and Special Operations his path forward.
Sean retired from the US Army in 2015 as a Brigadier General and continued to serve his country as a Strategic Advisor for many agencies around the globe. He was very active in non-profit organizations like Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Chief Operating Officer of Southern CC Inc. Sean was a fiercely competitive golfer throughout his life and thoroughly enjoyed playing as often as he could. During his time in the service he ran the SOFAM Golf Tournament for his Special Forces and Special Operation Families so that when his teams deployed his families would have monetary support to assist them. He cared deeply for the men and women who worked for him and it showed in his actions every day of his life. Sean had an economy with words but when he did speak it was usually to the point and profound. He loved to laugh and was incredibly funny and quick witted. He was not a politician although he fully understood the importance of the exercise. A man of deep compassion, humility, generosity and caring to those that were fortunate enough to know and love him.
Retired Naval Commander Bob Jensen, a pillar of Homestead before recently moving to Texas said about Mulholland, “I will always remember the joy he showed when his family visited one Veteran’s Day at our parade.
“He was one of those rare persons that just came in and was head over heels in love with Homestead. He showed it every day.” said Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter, who is also a former chairman of the South Dade chamber of commerce’s Military Affairs Committee (MAC). Mayor Porter hopes that future SOCSOUTH Commanders will be just as involved in the Homestead community as General Mulholland, “He was very connected to the community during his short stay at HARB. He was very present and active in our community, chamber functions, military functions, you saw him everywhere. He was a good man. He will be missed.”
Mulholland served as the commander of SOCSOUTH from October 2012 to August 2014. As commander, he was responsible to the Commander of U.S. Southern Command for the planning and execution of Special Operations in the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Mulholland also served as the Deputy Director of Operations (DJ3), U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida from November 2011 to September 2012.
Mulholland served as the Deputy Commander, Regional Command North, International Security Assistance Force, NATO and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan from April 2010 to October 2011. His other operational assignments included: Commander 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan; Commander, Special Operations Command (Forward), Bogota, Colombia; Commander, U.S. Army Personnel Planning and Management Agency, Alexandria, VA, and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq; and Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Command and OPERATION JOINT ENDEAVOR, Bosnia.
His military schools include the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Course, United States Naval Command and Staff College, United States Army War College, Senior Service College Fellowship, and Capstone Military Leadership Program. His civilian education includes a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and a Bachelors of Arts in Biology.
His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (2), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2), Meritorious Service Medal (5), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab, and various campaign ribbons.
Current SOCSOUTH Commander Brigadier General Antonio Fletcher had this to say, “the SOCSOUTH family extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of BG (R) Sean Mulholland. Many members of SOCSOUTH proudly served with BG(R) Mulholland, in South Florida and locations around the world. Our community has lost an exceptional leader who dedicated his life to his family and his country.”