CAPT Gillen was born in Lexington, Kentucky and raised in Rockaway Beach, New York. He attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and receiving his commission through NROTC in 1992.
His first sea duty was aboard USS MOBILE (LKA 115), where he served as Main Engine Division Officer. After decommissioning USS MOBILE, his second division officer tour was on the pre-commissioning crew of the USS RUSSELL (DDG 59). He served as the Engineering Training, the Electrical, and later the Ordnance Officer. For his department head tours, he was assigned as the Chief Engineer on USS DOYLE (FFG 39) and later to USS CAPE ST. GEORGE (CG 71).
For his Executive Officer tour, he reported to USS SAN JACINTO (CG 56), deploying to the Northern Arabian Gulf as the Air Defense Commander for the THEODORE ROOSEVELT Strike Group.
For commander command, he commanded USS McFAUL (DDG 74) from March 2011 to June 2013. During his command tour, USS McFAUL completed an AFRICOM nine month Scan Eagle deployment, awarded the 2011 & 2012 Battle Effectiveness (“Battle E”) awards, and nominated by SURFLANT as a finalist for the 2012 Battenberg Cup.
For his professional education, he attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Management, with a subspecialty of Financial Management. Later, he attended the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama and obtained a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies.
CAPT Gillen’s tours ashore include Resource Sponsor for the Littoral Combat Ship in the Future Ships Program of OPNAV N76, Flag Aide to the Director, Surface Warfare Division OPNAV N76, PERS 41 Atlantic Fleet Placement Officer, and PERS 411 Lieutenant Commander/Commander Detailer. At his last shore duty, CAPT Gillen served at the US Central Command in several billets; Maritime Current Operations Branch Chief, Director Operations (J3) Executive Assistant, and later as the Deputy, Current Operations Division.
CAPT Gillen’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Navy Commendation Medal; Navy Achievement Medal and various unit and service awards.