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A Tribute To Sergeant Richard “Dick” Sullivan, Usmc

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a fellow United States Marine, Mr. Richard ``Dick'' Sullivan, who died at the age of 79 on Thursday, February 3, 2011, from complications of lung cancer. Mr. Sullivan was part of a generation of Marines that, still to this day, all Marines continue to uphold as some of the greatest ever to wear a uniform and call themselves leathernecks.

Mr. Sullivan grew up in Colorado Springs, CO, and enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17 years of age. Sergeant Sullivan bravely served his country as a machine gunner in the Korean War, alongside the other Marines of 1st Marine Division, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, George Company. With George Company, Sergeant Sullivan fought in Seoul, Inchon, and the historic Battle of Chosin Reservoir--where Marines faced incredible odds and demonstrated amazing tenacity and grit against a formidable enemy.

Just like many of the Marines that survived the Chosin Reservoir campaign, Mr. Sullivan considers those 17 days of fighting as the most important days of his service to the nation. In the period between November 27th and December 13, 1950, the United National troops, which were nicknamed the Chosin Few under the command of Major General Edward Almond, were surrounded by as many as 100,000 Chinese troops.

Fighting in extremely cold temperatures that reached -35 degrees below Fahrenheit, Sergeant Sullivan engaged the enemy on frozen ground and persevered frostbite, limited supplies and weapon malfunctions. The military historian Patrick K. O'Donnell highlights the valor of George Company in his book ``Give Me Tomorrow,'' by detailing how a small group of Marines, against all odds, made five separate stands against enemy units despite being severely outnumbered.

During a critical point in combat, George Company put together a task force to break through to Haguaru-ri. George Company went down an 11-mile stretch of road, which became a shooting gallery. The Chinese had the high ground and started peppering vehicles with machine guns, bazookas and mortars. Many of their 150 vehicles were destroyed and over half the company was either captured or killed.

Mr. Donnell states in his book that if the task force would not have taken the initiative to advance their position to Haguaru-ri, then the 1st Marine Division would not have been able to consolidate at Chosin Reservoir. There is a good chance the United States would have lost the Korean War.

Thanks to George Company, the 1st Marine Division did consolidate their forces and managed to decimate 10 Chinese infantry divisions in its fighting withdrawal eastward to the North Korean port of Hungnam. The fighting withdrawal of the 1st Marine Division from the Chosin Reservoir is considered one of the greatest moments in the history of the Navy, the Marine Corps and the British Royal Marines.

Mr. Sullivan was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps on August 1, 1952.

Over the next four decades, Mr. Sullivan worked for Ronson Hydraulic Units and Sargent Aerospace. After retirement, Mr. Sullivan was very active in Arizona's Leisure World. He renewed his love of golf playing at Heron Lakes with the men's club on Mondays, the Donut League on Wednesdays, with friends on Thursdays at the Nine Hole, and always played on Saturdays. In the final year of his life, chemotherapy treatments never kept him from indulging in his favorite sport of golf. Even while he served on Leisure World's Architectural Committee for a number of years, his heart was always with other Marines who lived in Leisure World. He was instrumental in keeping the celebration of the United States Marine Corps birthday on November 10th by being involved with an annual dinner, a welcome back party in September and a barbeque at the close of the season in April.

Although he only spent four years in the Marine Corps, his mind and body were always with the United States Marines. He was proud of the fact that wherever he went, he would always meet up with another Marine, giving and receiving the recognizable hello of those who served in the Corps. He is survived by his wife, Sydele E. Milgrim and his sons Rick Sullivan of Mesa, AZ and Stuart Sullivan of Redmond, WA.

Mr. Sullivan is truly an inspiration, embodying the honor and tradition of the Marine Corps and its motto of Semper Fidelis. And I ask that my colleagues join me in paying tribute to such a fine American, who we all owe a debt of gratitude.