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Frederick deputy is also Navy sailor

As a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, Brian Mullennex has served on combat missions in Iraq. And as a deputy with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, he’s encountered his share of gun-toting criminals.

But it’s his wife, Jennifer, who has the more difficult job in this partnership, Mullennex, 44, said one day last week after the couple’s two oldest children returned home from elementary school to their parents and little brother.

The youngsters, three boys, were rambunctious and friendly. They tickled visitors with their exuberance.

Josh, 7, welcomed a visitor at the door. Ben, 5, spoke of his adoration for a Japanese game show. Kyle, 2, bounced from room to room as Molly, the family dog, tagged along.

“Jen does a great job. She has a harder job than me,” Mullennex said as he prepared to head to the law enforcement center, where as a sergeant, the 16-year veteran of the agency supervises a team of deputies on the midnight shift.

“She stays home with the kids, and she works twice as hard as I do,” he said of his wife of 11 years. “Maybe three times as hard,” he added with a laugh as Kyle darted by.

Since 2003, Mullennex has spent more than three years away on deployments stateside and abroad. He is special operations capable, meaning his assignments can involve underwater dives or jumping out of airplanes.

His overseas deployments have included tours in Bahrain, Dubai, Sicily, Crete and Iraq. While in Iraq, he served on about 60 combat missions and escaped injury while coming under rocket attack.

His stay in that country was a little longer than planned.

In Iraq, “I did seven months of a six-month tour,” he quipped. Because of problems with planes or rerouting, it took a month to get out of the airport.

A number of his tours were to obtain training. Others involved disposing of roadside bombs or diving in an anti-terrorism role to detect underwater explosives on ships.

The chief petty officer’s specialty is as a senior explosive ordnance disposal technician.

Before joining the sheriff’s office in 1994, Mullennex spent six years on active duty with the Navy, followed by college at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“Law enforcement was kind of a compromise of my interests,” said Mullennex, who studied political science and history.

“It allowed me to continue on with some aspects of military life but without all of the moving around,” he said.

Mullennex’s oldest child, daughter Courtney, finds herself adjusting to a move of her own. After receiving an associate degree from Frederick Community College, the 20-year-old now attends school in Minot, N.D. The proud father is looking forward to having her return home for Christmas.

While in the Navy Reserve, the one-time political science student rubbed elbows with the nation’s movers and shakers while assigned to the Secret Service on presidential details. He attended the Democratic and Republican national conventions in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul, respectively.

Comparing notes with his father-in-law, a Vietnam War veteran, Mullennex is grateful to the American taxpayers for making world-class training available to their troops and for providing them with combat vehicles that are almost indestructible.

The Mullennex family also appreciates the support they have received from their northern Frederick County community, especially when Mullennex was away from home.

Neighbors plowed the family’s rural, hilly driveway and helped out in other ways.

The Shamrock, the Cozy and Trout’s Towne restaurants have cooked them meals, along with many others.

“People are always thanking me for my service,” Mullennex said. “It really means a lot.”

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  | October 11, 2010; 7:40 AM ET
Categories:  Frederick, Heroes  
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