Sullivan retires after 34 years

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curt Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing
After more than 34 years of service on active duty, Air Force Reserve and in the New Hampshire Air National Guard, the 157th Security Forces Squadron manager is scheduled to retire Oct. 1 during a ceremony Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in Building 264.

Chief Master Sgt. Michael P. Sullivan first enlisted in the Air Force in August 1980. He served five years on active duty, then nearly two years with the Air Force Reserve, and the rest with the 157th Air Refueling Wing in the N.H. Air National Guard.

A veteran of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Sullivan has been at Pease since 1985, serving both on active duty and in the Air National Guard. While on active duty, he served in the 509th Security Police Squadron at Pease Air Force Base before the base closed in 1991.

Sullivan then served as a traditional member of the 157 ARW for nine years. During this time, he simultaneously worked full-time for the Newington Police Department as a citizen soldier.

He then joined the full-time force at Pease as an Active Guard and Reserve, or AGR, as the 157 SFS Operations NCO in charge.

During his military career, Sullivan worked in a variety of positions including law enforcement, entry control, base patrol, desk sergeant, quality control, criminal investigator, security specialist, and combat arms training and maintenance instructor.

While stressing the importance of people, community, family and team work, Sullivan said that's what he enjoys most about Pease.

"It's the thing that's most awesome about this place," said Sullivan during an interview with Public Affairs in Building 100. "Everybody is here to help each other each other, with the Guard even with the active duty and the 64th."

During his career in the Air National Guard, the chief was involved with various state activations such as ice storms, floods as well as the a deployment in support of the Hurricane Katrina response in 2005.

"This is a great base to come home to. We do a lot of things very well here and we have awesome people," he said. "It's not just a job ... it's in a lot of ways, family."

He added that he has never had a day that he didn't want to come to work.

Sullivan comes from a military family. His brother, N.H. National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark Sullivan, is a C-12 pilot and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot.

Sullivan's father, Jerry Sullivan, is a retired Maine State Trooper and a retired master sergeant from the Maine Air National Guard in Bangor, Maine.

When asked what he thought his legacy was, Sullivan replied, "Our Security Forces in the last three years have been at 100-plus percent in manning, which we haven't done that in a long time."

He continued by saying, "...a lot of people are working hard to make that happen."

When asked to deliver a message to the future of the 157 ARW, Sullivan challenged 157 ARW Airmen.

"Contribute every opportunity whether personally or professionally and be patient with change," he said. "The young men and women coming to this unit are coming in at a great time."

There are great times ahead for the N.H. Guard, and Sullivan is excited to be able to come back as a retiree.

He and his wife Kathy have been married for 27 years.

The Sullivan's have two sons, Andrew, a senior at St. Joseph College in Maine, and Alex, a sophomore at Spaulding High School in Rochester, N.H.

A former youth hockey coach, Sullivan looks to remain active in the community.

In addition to returning to the Newington Police Department (he maintained a part time position while working with the unit), the soon-to-be retired chief is also a part-time deputy sheriff in Strafford County as well as a fire arms instructor at Sig Arms Academy in nearby Epping, N.H.

"I'm always going to consider myself a guardsman," Sullivan said. "I'm transitioning to retirement when there is a lot going on in the wing. I'd love to have been here when the new tanker arrives in a couple of years."

He insists that as the wing transitions to a new weapon system in a few years with the announcement that Pease was selected to receive the KC-46A earlier this summer, Airmen will follow in his footsteps and lead the wing to great things in the future.

"I'm ready for change," he said. "The wing is ready for change ... the timing is right."