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Marines

Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. David Bellon (left), commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces South, pins a Legion of Merit medal on Col. Daniel Sullivan during his retirement ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Feb. 1, 2024. During the ceremony, Sullivan was honored for his time in the Marine Corps and congratulated for his 30 years of service. The Marine Corps Reserve has more than 90,000 Marines with a vast range of skills and expertise gained from both military and civilian careers. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher

U.S. Senator, U.S. Marine Retires from Marine Corps Reserve after 30 Years of Service

6 Feb 2024 | Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Daniel S. Sullivan, the last actively serving Marine in the U.S. Senate, retired from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Feb. 1, 2024.

Sullivan is one of four current U.S. Senators to have earned the title U.S. Marine and is one of 34 Marines to have ever served in the U.S. Senate.

During the ceremony, Sullivan was honored and thanked for his 30 years of service to the Marine Corps and the nation.

“I had the honor of commanding, leading, training, and of course learning from hundreds and hundreds of infantry Marines, reconnaissance Marines, anti-terrorism Marines, ANGLICO Marines, MARSOC Marines, for three decades, and what an honor it has been,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan's wife, Julie, three daughters and his two brothers attended the ceremony to celebrate this occasion with him. Other family members, friends, fellow senators and service members were in the audience. U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. David Bellon, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces South, U.S. Army (ret.) Gen. John Abiziad and U.S. Air Force (ret.) Brig. Gen. Balan Ayyar spoke during the ceremony.

“We are grateful to Col. Sullivan for his extraordinary legacy of serving with distinction in both the Marine Corps and the United States Senate,” Bellon said. “He serves as an example for other Reserve Marines and their families - excellence and success in multiple careers are absolutely possible.”

All three guest speakers praised Sullivan for his integrity and grit as a Marine, senator, and most importantly, a husband and father.

“I’m Alaska’s junior U.S. Senator, but with the exception of husband and father, the title ‘Marine’ is my proudest achievement. Always has been. Always will be,” said Sullivan. “This great honor was only possible because of the unwavering support of my wife, Julie, and my three daughters: Meghan, Isabella and Laurel.

“We are grateful to Col. Sullivan for his extraordinary legacy of serving with distinction in both the Marine Corps and the United States Senate”.Lt. Gen. David Bellon, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces South

“I have often said that, for those serving, the whole family wears the uniform I also want to thank the Marines with whom I served for three decades. I learned from every one of those brave men and women who are a part of the most lethal fighting force in the world and who represent the best of America,” Sullivan said. “I now join the ranks of another highly esteemed group in our country—America’s veterans. Like so many Marines before me, I will always carry with me the values that are at the core of the Marines: honor, courage, and commitment.”

Beyond praise and recognition for his accomplishments, Sullivan was awarded the Legion of Merit, which is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

“Surround yourself with self-motivated people who strive to answer their ‘irrational call to service’ and life unfolds with great options,” Bellon continued. “Understanding dual careers can be extremely complicated for families, the Corps and our country are better for our Marines’ loyal dedication to both.”

Sullivan earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Harvard University in 1987 and a joint law and Master of Science in foreign service from Georgetown University in 1993 before joining the Marine Corps. He went on to serve as an infantry and reconnaissance officer with a secondary military occupational specialty as an intelligence officer. He initially served four years on active duty before joining the Marine Corps Reserve in 1997. The Corps recalled him back to active duty in 2004 and he deployed to the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Central Asia.

U.S. Marine Col. and Senator Daniel Sullivan retires after 30 years Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher
U.S. Marine Corps Col. Daniel Sullivan poses for a photo with guests during his retirement ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C, Feb. 1, 2024. From left to right: Senators Tom Carpenter (D-Del.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), and Todd Young (R-AK). During the ceremony, Sullivan was honored for his time in the Marine Corps and congratulated for his 30 years of service. Sullivan is a Senator from Alaska and pursued a career in the Marine Corps Reserve simultaneously. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher)


The Nation then activated him again in 2013 and deployed to him to Afghanistan, working on a Joint task force that focused on dismantling terrorist networks and criminalizing the Taliban insurgency. During this time, Sullivan also served as Alaska’s attorney general and commissioner of Alaska Department of Natural Resources. The citizens of Alaska elected him as their U.S senator in 2015 and again in 2020 for the term ending in 2027.

Closing out the ceremony, Sullivan thanked everyone who supported him throughout his career and gave a special thanks to his wife and daughters. Sullivan concluded his remarks saying, “God bless America. God bless the Marine Corps.”

As the band played their last note of “The Marine’s Hymn,” Sullivan embraced his family and expressed his gratitude for their love and devotion towards him and his career.