Captain Emmet Sullivan, US Army
I am saddened to announce the January 20 passing of Emmet Sullivan, Patriot, Warrior, Adventurer, and China Post 1 Member since 1979. Emmet was born on May 20, 1942.
Emmet joined the ROTC at the University Of Toledo and his group was asked if anyone wanted to learn to fly. He had never been in an airplane before, but he raised his hand and the US Government paid for him to get a private pilot’s license his senior year in college.
After graduation he went on active duty with the Army as a Second Lieutenant, and went to infantry school at Ft. Benning, before being sent to Fort Rucker’s fixed wing flight school in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
The day he got his wings, Emmet was ordered to report to Helicopter School, where he received 63 hours in a Bell 47 before being sent back to Fort Benning to the 10th Aviation Group for 25 hours of Huey training.
Two weeks later he was ordered to the 1st Calvary in Vietnam, making combat assaults. On the 2nd time out, his rotary wing hydraulic reservoir was shot up sending hot hydraulic fluid down his neck and back. He said to himself, “this is going to be a long year”!
Three months later he was promoted to Captain and once state side became an instrument instructor of Hueys in Army Air Field Savannah. In an attempt to keep him in the Army after his time was completed, the Commanding General gave him a blank 3 Day Pass to go to the Pentagon, to help him decide whether to re-up or not.
He chose to separate from the Army, but someone gave him a phone number to call after he was discharged. He called the number and was invited back to DC for a job interview, with no insight into what the job was. He was offered the job working for a company called Air America, and he returned home to think about it. He decided to accept the job and received an airplane ticket to Saigon, flying Hueys for a year.
After a year he was invited to stay TDY for $1200 a month and he accepted, and became a part of the Secret War in Laos, flying Hueys, earning $50 hazard duty pay each time he flew into a hot area. He worked closely with the Hmong Military, doing things that the US Government couldn’t do to divert enemy activity into Vietnam.
He would fly Hueys without serial numbers on them and flew without personal identification and if shot down sometimes, Air America pilots like himself, might be 200 miles from friendly troops. He would transport Hmong’s, Medivac them, deliver them to scout trails, and do combat assaults while working with them.
Emmet would say he did it for the adventure and the patriotism he felt for America.
After leaving Laos, Emmet went to work as a flight instructor for Bell Helicopter, training the Shah of Iran’s Military, until the Shah was over thrown in 1979. That’s when he joined China Post 1 and served as a Vice Commander until his passing.
From 1979 until 1986 Emmet would fly offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and settled in West Palm Beach, Florida. Air time logged was 30,000 hours rotary wing and 850 hours fixed wing aircraft.
He is survived by his sister who lives in San Francisco
At the end of an interview in 2011, Emmet raised his glass with a toast “God Bless America!”.
Funeral and/or Memorial Arrangements will be announced and posted soon.
God Bless You Emmet Sullivan. Slow Salute to a Warrior’s passing.