Bio:Colonel Mortenson was commissioned as a Marine Second Lieutenant in April 1983 and served with distinction around the world as an infantry officer. During his 29+ year career, he commanded at the infantry platoon, company, battalion, and regimental level. He served at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, Quantico, VA as a platoon commander, company executive officer and Assistant Operations Officer. He served as a platoon commander and company executive officer at Marine Barracks-Guam. He was a rifle company commander, a weapons company commander and operations officer in 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. He served at Headquarters US Marine Corps as a current operations action officer, Commandant’s Briefing Officer, and current-operations section head working HQMC operational issues with the Joint Staff, combatant commanders, other services, and the Marine Corps component commands.
He served as II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Expeditionary Operations Officer and Deputy Current Operations officer as well as the Current Operations officer for the 2D Marine Expeditionary Brigade before assuming command of the 2d Battalion (infantry), 8th Marines (2/8) in December 2001. During his command tour with 2/8 the battalion deployed and participated in combat operations during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM as part of Regimental Combat Team-2, 2D Marine Expeditionary Brigade/Task Force Tarawa (Jan–Jun 2003).
Following his combat tour of duty, Colonel Mortenson served as the G3 Operations Officer for the 2ND Marine Division. In 2005 he assumed command of The Basic School (TBS) at Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC), Quantico, VA. After TBS, Colonel Mortenson was assigned to the Joint Staff in Washington, DC, J5, Strategic Plans and Policies, where he served as the Central Asia/South Asia Division Chief. His responsibilities included leading the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy and plan development for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. His Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy development work included working closely with Office of the Secretary of Defense, the White House, the Department of State, and Congress. From July 2009 to April 2011 Colonel Mortenson served as the Chief of Staff for the Commanding General Marine Corps Combat Development Command/Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, Quantico, VA. In his final year of service Colonel Mortenson was assigned as the Director of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, Quantico, VA.
Colonel Mortenson’s studies include; National War College (2004-05), National Defense University, in Washington DC where he earned a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies, Marine Corps Command and Staff College (1998-99) earning a Masters Degree in Military Studies, the School of Advanced Warfighting (1999-2000), and the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School (1990-91).
Col Mortenson assumed his current duties as the Director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in September 2012. The IFSI mission is to “help firefighters do their work through training, education, information, and research.” IFSI is the statutory state training and education organization for the Illinois fire service and other 1st responders. IFSI trains and educates over 62,000 students per year across Illinois. Director Mortenson has established and is moving forward on a strategic vision for IFSI that includes; creating quality leadership development and decision-making training & education curriculum for the fire service, enhancing and expanding practical hands-on training, expanding life safety research, expanding on-line educational deliveries, and growing the Institutes partnerships, reach and reputation nationally and internationally. He also lectures and provides presentations nationally and internationally on leadership development, decision-making, and training. He is on the Board of Advisors for Leadership Under Fire, Inc. which has as its mission, “advancing discipline, survival and leadership in the fire service” and is a consultant for Corps Leadership LLC, a leadership training and development company committed to building effective, ethical leaders in organizations. Additionally, Colonel Mortenson is a member of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force and the Chair of that organization’s training committee.
Colonel Mortenson’s personal military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two gold stars in lieu of third award, the Bronze Star with (Valor device), Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon. Colonel Mortenson is married and has three children to include two sons that are active duty USMC infantry officers.