Dwight Sullivan was born in 1931 in Corydon, Iowa. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on October 28, 1951, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program in July 1953, receiving his commission as a 2d Lt on March 24, 1954. After completing Radar Intercept Officer and All Weather Interceptor Training, Lt Sullivan served as an F-89 Scorpion Radar Intercept Officer with the 449th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ladd AFB, Alaska, from November 1954 to November 1956, followed by Basic and Advanced Pilot Training. Lt Sullivan was awarded his pilot wings at Webb AFB, Texas, in February 1958. He next completed All Weather Interceptor Pilot Training, and then served as an F-101 Voodoo pilot with the 62nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron at O'Hare International Airport, Illinois, and K.I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan, from August 1958 to May 1963. Capt Sullivan's next assignment was as an F-101 pilot with the 437th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Oxnard AFB, California, from May 1963 to January 1966, followed by service as an F-101 pilot with the 75th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Dow AFB, Maine, from January to December 1966. Maj Sullivan completed F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training in May 1967, and then served with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from June 1967 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on October 17, 1967. After spending 1,976 days in captivity, Col Sullivan was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at March AFB, California, and then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1973 to August 1974. His final assignment was as Assistant Deputy Commander for Logistics and then Deputy Commander for Maintenance with the 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin AFB, Texas, from August 1974 until his retirement from the Air Force on June 1, 1978.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
Major Dwight E. Sullivan distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as mission commander over North Vietnam on 3 October 1967. On that date, Major Sullivan led the force of twenty aircraft against the heavily defended military target. Despite heavy anti-aircraft fire and the ensuing attack by numerous surface-to-air missiles, Major Sullivan maintained the force's composure and led the force in on the target, delivered his ordnance with devastating accuracy causing severe damage to the target. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Major Sullivan has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.