Mulligan joined the Navy through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 2003; her father had been in the Navy, and military service had treated her family well. She wasn’t precisely sure what career she wanted to pursue, and the Navy offered great work experience, opportunity to travel and see the world, and a chance to pursue higher education. Mulligan had always been active, enjoying recreational sports as a child. She was racing bicycles competitively when she suffered an unexpected Central Retinal Vein Occlusion in her left eye, which resulted in partial blindness. Her condition left her feeling depressed that she could no longer race competitively, but her family encouraged her to remain as active as possible. Mulligan will retire from the Navy at the end of November, and she is engaged to marry another Sailor in June 2013. Next September she plans to go back to school to earn her master’s degree in Public Administration.

Photo of Joan Mulligan

Joan Mulligan

Navy Lieutenant

Age: 27

Current Command/Position: Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic

Current Hometown: Norfolk, Va.

Disability: Blind in left eye, diagnosed December 2010