1. Michael Glenn Mullen was born on October 4, 1946, in Los Angeles, the eldest of five children to Jane, an assistant to entertainer Jimmy Durante, and Jack Mullen, a Hollywood press agent whose clients included Bob Hope and Jimmy Stewart.
2. Mullen attended the U.S. Naval Academy on a basketball scholarship and graduated in 1968.
3. Soon after graduation, Mullen was deployed as an antisubmarine officer to the Pacific and then to Vietnam, where he took part in combat operations during the war.
4. Mullen served as commanding officer for the USS Noxubee from 1973 to 1975 and went on to command two more warships.
5. He earned a master's degree in operations research from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., in 1985.
6. Mullen commanded the U.S. naval forces in Europe and directed NATO's peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and the Mediterranean in 2004. He became chief of naval operations in 2005.
7. In 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Mullen to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president's top military adviser. Since taking command, he has pushed for shorter combat tours in Iraq and for a focus on post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers returning home from war.
8. In 2010, Mullen testified on Capitol Hill against the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which was later repealed.
9. Mullen and his wife of four decades, Deborah, have two adult sons who both attended the Naval Academy.
10. Mullen is scheduled to retire on October 1, 2011.