11/28/05 — SJAFB airman received call from President Bush

View Archive

SJAFB airman received call from President Bush

By Other
Published in News on November 28, 2005 1:46 PM

An airman deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base got a surprise on Thanksgiving Day when President George W. Bush telephoned her in Baghdad.

Airman 1st Class Sarah Sullivan, an airfield management operations supervisor, is stationed at Sather Air Base on the grounds of Baghdad International Airport. She is responsible for guiding allied aircraft into the airport.

Thursday, Bush called 10 servicemen and women from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines stationed around the world to thank them for their service.

Sullivan was selected for the honor because of selfless attitude, her commander said.

"I can't speak for Airman Sullivan. But I think she was chosen because she is a humble, diligent, hard-working, selfless Airman who works quietly behind the scenes. She gives others credit for her work, treats others with respect, and her personality lifts up people around her," Lt. Col. Joe Katuzienski said in a press release.

Katuzienzki is commander of the 447th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron.

Sullivan said she found out about the call a week before the holiday.

"Overall, the wait was more nerve wracking than to actually talk to him," Sullivan told Air Force officials. "He made me feel pretty comfortable, as comfortable as one could be talking to the commander-in-chief!"

She said the call lasted only about two minutes, but that it was one that she would always remember.

"I will never forget him saying 'Sarah, this is the President of the United States calling,'" she said. "He was laughing and sounded excited to be doing this. He told me he was calling to wish me and everyone here a happy Thanksgiving, and asked me how I was doing. He told me how very proud of me and our troops he is, and I told him we were proud to be here."

She said they shared a laugh and found something in common.

"He asked me where I was from and I mentioned I lived in Maine for four or five years, so I thought we had something in common. He laughed and said, 'Yeah, my parents have a house up there,' and I replied 'Yes, sir. I know,' and we both laughed.

"I think it is so impressive that the president would take the time out of his day to do this," Sullivan said."It makes a big impact on us as deployed members."

Sullivan's husband, Christopher Sullivan, lives in Goldsboro.

"He asked where my husband was for the holiday, and I told him he was in North Carolina," Sullivan said. "Then he asked how long I've been here. I told him nearly three months and he asked how long my tour was. After I told him, he said I'd be home in no time."

From staff and

U.S. Air Force reports