NCIS investigating after major general is found dead at Twentynine Palms Marine base

A sign reads "Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center." In the background are blue sky and clouds.
A major general was found dead Saturday at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)
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The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is probing the death of a military officer whose body was found at the Twentynine Palms Marine base, officials said.

Maj. Gen. William F. Mullen was found dead at the Twentynine Palms base Saturday, according to San Bernardino County coroner’s records.

Mullen, at one time the commanding general of the base, retired in 2020.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokesperson Mara Rodriguez confirmed that NCIS is investigating the death at the facility, which is the world’s largest Marine Corps training base.


NCIS is the investigative law enforcement entity of the Department of the Navy. The agency leads criminal investigations and, according to its website, also investigates noncombat deaths of Navy or Marine Corps members.

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NCIS confirmed the agency was investigating the death. A spokesperson said the investigation is standard for “any non-combat, medically unattended fatalities” involving service members.

The spokesperson declined to comment further while the investigation was ongoing.

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

Marine officials confirmed NCIS is investigating the cause of death.

San Bernardino coroner’s officials are handling the autopsy, Rodriguez said. That investigation is ongoing.

Before his retirement, Mullen served as commanding general of the Training and Education Command, according to the U.S. Marine Corps. His extensive military background includes tours of duty in the Middle East, leading a counternarcotics mission in the Los Padres National Forest and serving as Marine aide to President Clinton.