Retired May 31, 1967. Died March 7, 1992.
Major General Henry Riggs Sullivan was born in Kentucky in 1915. He graduated from the Mt. Sterling High School in 1933 after which he attended Centre College, Danville, Ky., for two years before receiving an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. During his cadet days at West Point he received national recognition as an end on the Army football teams of 1936, 1937 and 1938. He was also a three-year regular on the basketball team and a member of the lacrosse squad for two years.
Following graduation from the Military Academy in 1939 he entered pilot training, receiving his wings in June 1940. Diversified assignments at squadron level as a pilot, engineering officer, adjutant and operations officer followed in the next few years. During World War II he progressed through the ranks to colonel while serving in succession as a B-29 squadron commander, deputy group and group commander in the 20th Air Force first in India - China and later in the Mariannas Islands.
The end of World War II found the then Colonel Sullivan as the director of tactics, 21st Bomber Command, 20th Air Force. A three-year tour in Washington followed his return from overseas in 1945. He was an assistant to the deputy chief of staff for research and development, and later, chief of the Operations and Training Division of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project.
Joining Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base late in 1948, he served for four years as chief of the Operations Division in the headquarters. He later organized and commanded the 26th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio. While in this capacity he was promoted to brigadier general in October 1954.
General Sullivan rounded out 10 years of duty in SAC in July 1958 after commanding the 21st Air Division, Forbes Air Force Base, Kan., for more than two years and the 72nd Bombardment Wing at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rice, for one year. Prior to assuming his present duties, General Sullivan was the commandant of cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, from August 1958 to June 1961.
Now assigned as the deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters Allied Air Forces Central Europe, a NATO organization, General Sullivan is also the commander of all U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to the NATO headquarters and its supporting units. The Allied Air Forces of Central Europe are commanded by Air Chief Marshal the Earl of Bandon, who has a staff from the air forces of the seven nations contributing forces to Allied Command Central Europe. General Sullivan, as deputy chief of staff operations, supervises, coordinates and directs the activities of four assistant chiefs of staff. These are Operations and Training, Plans and Policy, Intelligence and Communications. With the support of the personnel of the seven nations (United Kingdom, France, United States, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands and West Germany) General Sullivan is charged generally with the development of operational training and readiness measures to insure the maintenance of the NATO deterrent by the Air Forces Central Europe.