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Mulryan to keep focus on families

Northwest Guardian

Published: 12:00AM November 24th, 2015

After 12 relocations within 25 years in the military, Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s new command sergeant major is glad to be in the Pacific Northwest. CSM Richard Mulryan is now just hours from his children and grandchildren living in eastern Oregon.

“At the end of the day, all of this is for them,” he said.

Helping the families of service members was one goal Mulryan stated during his Nov. 9 welcome ceremony.

On the ninth day in his new position, he said he is still learning something new every day and is thankful for the months of back and forth correspondence with former CSM Kevin Bryan before taking the reins. Many employees in the directorate have been great with helping him find his away around the position, Mulryan said.

One important area of responsibility in his new position is the apprenticeship program for transitioning services members. William Noland, from the JBLM education center and Robin Baker, transition services manager, have been teaching Mulryan.

“I am a new guy in an area where there are a lot of people who have years of experience working here. I appreciate their guidance and allowing me to ask those questions so I can understand every piece of the process,” he said.

There are two goals Mulryan has set for himself during his time at JBLM. The first is to gain an understanding of the resources at his disposal. Working with both the directorate and brigades, he is learning what assets are needed by whom to help make processes smoother.

Mulryan said he also hopes to expand the apprenticeship program to include spouses.

“When a service member leaves, it’s not just impacting that one person,” he said. “We need to help the spouses as well so we have one less person struggling to find work and healthier families overall.”

The largest hill Mulryan is climbing in this new position is learning to work with Department of Defense employees, contractors and military family members. With years of experience leading brigades, Mulryan now has to shift gears to motivating civilians.

“With Soldiers, you do PT with them, you train them and then when that test comes through and they pass, they know you helped them because you care about their success. That is where a lot of morale comes from,” he said. “But with civilians, it’s different. I am focusing on listening and learning from them to make sure I am physically present as often as possible, to show their work matters to me.”

In his spare time, Mulryan said he loves to be outdoors. He has what he calls a Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation bucket list. Scuba-diving is soon to be crossed off, after his upcoming advanced training session. He and his wife, Jennifer, have picked out around 15 activities to do, including a glass blowing session at the Tacoma Museum of Glass.

Mulryan’s favorite aspect of living in the Pacific Northwest is the proximity to nature; he said he looks forward to hunting and fishing. As a Reserve Officers' Training Corps instructor during the 2004 and 2005 Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Mulryan said he fell in love with the area.

“We are so close to the mountains and the ocean — just surrounded by green,” he said. “I look forward to being able to drive all over the state, exploring.”

Learn more about Mulryan’s ceremony at

Alexandra Kocik: 360-970-5049