KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (10/11/2011) — One is a sailor, graduate of Brigham Young University and an unwavering Denver Broncos fan. The other is a soldier who graduated Utah Valley University and loves the Oakland Raiders. It's a service, college and football rivalry at its best.
Ephraim, Utah, natives Navy Cmdr. Carl Sullivan, left, and his son, Army Capt. Lynn Sullivan, stand at a memorial T-wall in Regional Command South in Kandahar, Afghanistan on Oct. 11, 2011. The two, who see each other about once a year, have seen much more of each other after being stationed at KAF a few months prior. Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Lindsey Kibler
| ||But this father and son don't let a few old-standing rivalries get in the way of helping each other get through their deployment at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.|
Navy Cmdr. Carl Sullivan, a native of Ephraim, Utah, arrived in Afghanistan in September to work information warfare in Regional Command East. His son, Army Capt. Lynn Sullivan, also of Ephraim, Utah, arrived a month earlier to work as RC South's current operations night shift assistant operations officer.
After arriving at KAF to catch a flight to east, Carl was able to link up with his son for some quick catching up.
“Within three hours it was hi, bye and ‘the Broncos are going to whoop the Raiders.' Lynn's response was ‘the Raiders are going to crush them.' They did,” he laughed.
An unexpected change of plans had him back at KAF to be the RC's information plans chief.
“When I was on my way to Herat and saw Lynn for about an hour, I thought that would be all I would see him this deployment,” he explained.
For his son, a Kiowa pilot with the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, it was an interesting and welcomed change.
“It's interesting to have your dad out here, but it's cool. We've always talked about military things— deployments, war, history. Now we can share our own experiences with each other, like ‘ today I saw this' or ‘today we did this,'” said Lynn. “We learn new things from each other; assist each other in a sense.”
Carl has served 29 years in the Navy; Lynn was born into the military culture. Their family history of military service dates back to the Revolutionary War, and the two continue to carry on the tradition. Even as a small boy, Lynn knew what he wanted to do when he grew up.
“I would always wear my dad's helmet around the house. At four I said I was going to be a pilot, and here I am,” said Lynn.
Despite his father trying to get him to join the Navy, Lynn knew the Army was his calling after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“The choice was simple,” he explained. “On 9/11 I went to the Army recruiter because I knew, if war followed, it was going to be a ground war and not a naval war, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
He left for basic 11 days after the attacks, and said he hasn't regretted his choice for one second. Regardless of what service he joined, his dad remains proud of his choice.
“As a parent I've always been accepting of my kid's different beliefs and values. They are all very different people, but great people. I'm not crushed Lynn didn't join the Navy,” he said. “I am very proud of my kids.”
Carl has six kids from a previous marriage including Lynn, his oldest son. He remarried a woman who has four kids from a previous marriage; one of her daughter's happens to be Lynn's wife.
“It's quite a funny story,” Carl explained. “I started dating my wife and a few days later Lynn was dating her daughter. We were married, and a few years later Lynn married.”
The two of them laughed while reminiscing about the father and son dating the mother and daughter. They said it has made for some good jokes but, most importantly, a great support system.
“We have each other here, and they have each other back (in the states). They have been an incredible source of support, more so than most,” said Carl.
In the upcoming weeks, Lynn will be leaving Kandahar to take the position of company commander at an outlying forward operating base still within RC South. Despite the move, the two said they are still happy to be sharing this experience together.
“This is such an amazing privilege to be here, especially together. We love our country,” Carl said.
Lynn jokingly added the rivalry will continue, no matter the distance.
By Army Staff Sgt. Lindsey Kibler
Provided through DVIDS
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