Cadet Commandant Honoured

June 17, 2014
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Col Tom McMullen

Her Majesty the Queen has honoured one of Cumbria’s longest serving soldiers by appointing him as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). Colonel Tom McMullen OBE DL is Commandant of Cumbria Army Cadet Force and received this recognition in Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours, which were released on Friday.

Colonel McMullen is the embodiment of how membership of Cumbria Army Cadet Force can make a huge difference to the lives of young people throughout the county. Cumbrian-born, Colonel McMullen joined Workington Detachment of the 2nd Cadet Battalion of the Border Regiment in 1960, aged 13. After school, he enlisted into the Intelligence Corps, where he progressed rapidly, becoming one of their youngest Regimental Sergeant Majors aged only 34. Having served in South Vietnam, West Berlin, Germany, Cyprus and Northern Ireland, he was then commissioned as an Officer in 1983, serving additional tours in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in 1998 as Deputy Commander of Allied Military Intelligence Battalion in Bosnia, before being posted to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium as a senior staff officer. He returned to the UK to command the Joint Service Intelligence Organization for three years before retiring from the Regular Army in 2001.

In 2008, he was headhunted for the post of Commandant and took command of Cumbria Army Cadet Force in January 2009. Colonel Tom said “Taking over the County involved a very steep learning curve – running an organisation of over 500 cadets and adult volunteers is extremely demanding but also amazingly rewarding. However, as Commandant, I have been privileged to be part of the personal development of young people and adult volunteers throughout Cumbria. As my wife Brenda and I do not have children, this appointment has enabled me to pass on useful life skills to a new generation.” When asked about the demands that the Army and more recently, the Army Cadet Force makes on her husband, Mrs McMullen said “If you marry a soldier, you have to let them do what they love doing most”.

On his appointment as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Colonel Tom said “This award recognises that Cumbria Army Cadet Force is a strong team that is nationally recognised for the work we do. Our adult volunteers put a huge amount of work into developing our young people and it is humbling that this work has been recognised nationally.”