Martin Joseph Sullivan
Lieutenant Commander
VF-96, CVW-9, USS ENTERPRISE, TF 77, 7TH FLEET
United States Navy
Lawrence, Massachusetts
January 28, 1933 to February 12, 1967
MARTIN J SULLIVAN is on the Wall at Panel 15E, Line 23

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Martin J Sullivan
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Martin grew up in New Londen Connecticut. He attended Jennings school there. As he grew up, he wanted to be a Doctor. He had a hobby of model airplanes may have led to his becoming a pilot. While in college, Marty, as he was nicknamed, joined the Spanish and Italian Clubs among other activities. The comment in his yearbook says: "Marty's slight Connecticut accent only adds to the charm of his pleasant grin. Many a young ladies heart has done a somesault when his blue eyes flashed her way."

Photo of Martin with the members of the Spanish Club while attending college.

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He left behind his wife, Beryl Dean Sullivan in La Jolla, California and his brother, Francis T. Sullivan, Lawrence Massachusetts. His wife, the daughter to the late George and Ethel (Wood) Dean, was raised and educated in Lawrence Massachusetts and was a graduate of Westport High School, Class of 1953. She furthered her education at Boston University and earned a degree in Music Education.

In 1958, while in New York, she met "Marty" Sullivan of Lawrence, a young Navy fighter pilot who flew the legendary F-4 Phantom jet. They were married a short time after at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. She would remain at his side touring the world, living abroad as well as stateside to include La Jolla, Calif., until his untimely death.

A deep-rooted sense of respect and appreciation for our country and armed forces stayed with her for all of her life.

After his death, she returned to the Lawrence area and resumed her work in teaching, now in the North Andover schools. Prior to coming back home, the Sullivans, her mother and father-in-law, had also passed away, leaving one son, Francis T. Sullivan. The shock of the sudden loss of his only brother as well as both of his parents and her husband found commonality and ultimately grew into affection between Francis and her.

She married Francis T. Sullivan, on June 2, 1968, in St. Michael's Church, North Andover; they raised a family and shared 26 years of marriage. They spent most every weekend with family and friends at their West Dennis home on Cape Cod and looked forward to retiring there. When he was diagnosed with melanoma cancer, she became his primary caregiver; he died in her arms on March 10, 1994 after a two year battle.

She was an active member of the Gold Star Wives of America. Among many others, her charitable interests included The Disabled American Veterans Association and the Wounded Warriors Foundation. Mrs. Sullivan was diagnosed with lung cancer on Aug. 15, 2009, but she never let cancer take over her life. She may have had it, but it never had her. She died Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 from complications of cancer.

She was the proud mother of one daughter, Lisa St. Andre and one son, Sean Sullivan and his wife and grandson. She is buried in her parish cemetery, Holy Sepulcher, Waverly Road, North Andover, Massachusetts.

SYNOPSIS: LTCDR Martin J. Sullivan was a pilot assigned to Fighter Squadron 96 aboard the aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE. On February 12, 1967, he launched in his F4B Phantom fighter aircraft with his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), LTJG Paul V. Carlson.

The aircraft was on a local intercept training mission in the Gulf of Tonkin in the vicinity of the USS ENTERPRISE. Sullivan and Carlson were to conduct a pre-briefed simulated aerial combat maneuver with their flight leader.

During the third intercept and after two turns, the aircraft commenced a descending reversal at too low an altitude to complete prior to entry into clouds. The aircraft was seen to enter a cloud overcast at 6500 feet in a wings level, extremely nose-low attitude.

LtCdr Sullivan appeared to have the aircraft under full control with the nose coming up. It is suspected that he became disoriented upon entry into the clouds and crashed into the sea. There was no indication of ejection attempted by either crew member.

No radio transmissions were heard, and Search and Rescue efforts were immediately begun using aircraft assets from the USS ENTERPRISE, USS BENNINGTON and USS BAUER. USS BENNINGTON continued surface and air search throughout the night. An oil slick and debris were seen, but no survivors or remains were ever found.

Carlson and Sullivan apparently did not survive the crash of their aircraft.

LCDR Martin Joseph Sullivan's name is on the Lawrence Massachusetts Memorial

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LCDR Martin Joseph Sullivan is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California

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