After 22 years, Coast Guardsman Paul Sullivan “goes ashore”

Captain Verne Gifford, Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England commander, presented a certificate of retirement to Machinery Technician second class Paul Sullivan. — Photo by Yoojin Cho

On a cold, sunny morning Friday on the grounds of Coast Guard Station Menemsha, after 22 years of service, Machinery Technician second class Paul Sullivan received his retirement certificates. As they say in the Coast Guard, he went ashore.

“I remember when he first joined the Coast Guard, I said, ‘Paul, I hope you like it and stay at least a year,'” MK2 Sullivan’s mother, Paulette Sullivan, said at the end of her oldest son’s retirement ceremony. “Now, the rest is history.”

Petty Officer Jason Chapa opened the special ceremony. “The Military Retirement Ceremony is a time-honored tradition where we pay tribute to and recognize the years of dedicated service MK2 Paul Sullivan gave to our nation in support of the freedom we all enjoy,” he said.

Then he read Mr. Sullivan’s new assignment, “Effective December 1, you are detached from all duties and will proceed to your home of selection in connection with retirement.”

As his two sons Liam and Kyle, his girlfriend Barbara Michienzi, younger brother Kevin, and mother Paulette watched, Mr. Sullivan received formal certificates from the President of the United States, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Robert Papp and Governor Deval Patrick.

Mr. Sullivan’s service in the Coast Guard began in 1989 at Cape May, New Jersey. After basic training, he spent some time at Point Allerton station, then he attended Machinery Technician School in Yorktown, Virginia and became a petty officer.

Since then, he moved around a lot, but unlike the majority of Coast Guard members, his reassignments didn’t take him too far away from home. He went from Boston to Woods Hole to Provincetown and finally to his last assignment, Martha’s Vineyard. He and his mother agree he was very lucky to have stayed so close to home.

To conclude the ceremony, the Menemsha crew presented Mr. Sullivan with a hand-made shadow box that displays his medals and honors and a paddle signed by all the members of Station Menemsha.

“We always try to make things like this very special,” Station Chief Jason Olsen said. “It’s a big deal, and the Coast Guard morale budget allows us to honor people like MK2 Sullivan.”

Also in attendance was Captain Verne Gifford, Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England commander, and Joe Green, a member of the Coast Guard Investigative Service and Mr. Sullivan’s cousin. They spoke about Mr. Sullivan’s humbleness and dedication.

“He’d love to stay in for another 20 years if he could,” brother Kevin Sullivan said.