Fred Ferguson Mullins Jr., was born Sept. 13, 1919, in Helena, Alabama, and lived there until joining the U.S. Navy. He attended Midshipman School at Northwestern University in Chicago and was commissioned an Ensign, USNR, in 1941.
His first ship was USS Cuyama (AO-3), followed by many others, notably the USS Whippet (IX-129), which he joined as XO in 1944, becoming the CO in May 1944, as a 24 year old lieutenant. Mullins took the Whippet through the World War II Pacific campaigns for the Marianas, Palau, the Phillippines, and then to Kerama Retto, where he was fueling ships while under Kamikaze attack during the Okinawa landings. USS Whippet earned two battle stars under his command. At the end of the war, he picked up a second command, the USS Supply (AVS-1), decommissioning her at Suisun Bay in 1945.
While assigned to the USS Cuyama, Mullins was sent on temporary duty for 30 days to the USS Monaghan (DD-354) for gunnery training at Pearl Harbor. He left in November 1941 to return to the Cuyama, with 30 days leave on the way. During that leave he visited friends in San Pedro, California, and met Josephine Hope Lansdowne. They dated, were going to request a leave extension in December 1941, but decided it wasn’t the right thing to do. Mullins went to the Cuyama on Dec. 6, World War II interfered, but it couldn’t keep them apart. They were married in 1943, remaining “shipmates” for nearly 50 years.
The Cuyama was in Seattle, so Mullins flew down to San Pedro for the wedding and their honeymoon was a train trip from California to Birmingham and Helena, then back to Seattle where Mullins rejoined the Cuyama. Mullins and his wife were together for three months before he was posted to New Orleans, to join the USS Whippet as XO and put her in commission. Jo Mullins flew to Bay Town, Texas, in January 1944 to meet the ship on the way to WESTPAC. She then returned to San Pedro and Mullins sailed the Whippet off to WESTPAC for a year and a half before he returned.
Post war, Mullins attended University of Alabama, while continuing to drill with the Navy Reserve. After receiving his degree, he served as Inspector Instructor for the Naval Reserve in Birmingham.
He volunteered for destroyer duty for the Korean War and served as XO of the USS Porterfield (DD-682) (two battle stars). During one engagement with Korean shore batteries, incoming fire destroyed the Porterfield’s radio shack. Following the war, he reported for shore duty in Charleston, South Carolina, as the director of training for the 6th Naval District Reserve.
In 1956, Mullins moved the family, now increased by a son, Fred L. Mullins, and a daughter, Mende A. Mullins, to Coronado. There he served as XO of the USS Dixie (AD-14), then CO of the USS Hooper Island (ARG-17) and finally CO of the USS Klondike (AD/AR-22). His final tour was as Commodore of ResDesRon 27, still homeported in Coronado and responsible for twelve destroyers, spread from San Diego to Seattle.
He retired from the Navy in 1967 as a Captain, USNR, with over 26 years of service.
After retiring from the Navy, Mullins became Assistant Manager of 1st National Bank, Coronado Branch, in 1968, moving up to Manager in 1970. Over the years, the bank changed from 1st National Bank, to California First Bank, to Southern California First National Bank, to Union Bank of California, and finally Union Bank…but Mullins remained the guiding hand of the Coronado branch until he retired in 1984.
Mullins joined Rotary in October 1969 and over the years served on the Program Committee, Membership Committee, Caring Committee, Classification Committee, and even played Santa Claus delivering gifts to Rotarian Children in Coronado.
Fred and Jo Mullins joined St Paul’s United Methodist Church soon after arriving in Coronado and he has been very active there through the years. He chaired the Finance Committee for many years and continued to serve on it, as well as the Stewardship Committee, the Pastor Parish Committee, and the Caring Committee. Fred Mullins served on various Financial Campaigns, including the one to purchase the Parsonage for the pastor to live in Coronado, and he ran the Every Member Canvas for several years. Only last year he was an Honorary Co-Chairperson for the church’s latest Financial Campaign.
Mullin’s family has been the focal point of his life with his church and Rotary right beside.
For many years, Mullins has been deeply involved in the community of Coronado. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and worked with the Job’s Daughters with Jo and Mende Mullins. He was in the Lion’s Club for a few years before joining Rotary and served on the Coronado PTA as the Program Chairman. Mullins coached “Cap” League baseball with his son, Fred, and was Vice Chairman of the Boy Scout District.
Mullins was a member of the Navy League and was on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Historical Society for several years. He worked on the United Way Campaign and, for many years, he drove Coronado patients to doctor appointments and treatment appointments.
After Jo Mullins passed away in 1993, Fred Mullins married Marilyn Flynn, an old friend and coworker from the Bank in 1999. They travel to be with family and cruise the world and even took an African Safari (Fred’s Dream Trip).