Hon. Judge Eugene R. Sullivan

Chairman, AB


Eugene R. Sullivan serves as the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Airborne Operations.

Eugene R. Sullivan is a retired Federal Judge in Washington D.C. with over 16 years of appellate experience. Nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by the Senate, Judge Sullivan was installed as a Federal Judge in 1986. In 1990, President Bush named him the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (AF). In 2002, he was elevated to Senior Status.

Following graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Judge Sullivan served in the Army for five years and qualified as a tanker, an Airborne Ranger, a Ranger Instructor and a Jumpmaster. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and other decorations in Vietnam. Judge Sullivan has been inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame.

After the Army, Judge Sullivan graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, serving as an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal in his senior year. After law school Judge Sullivan clerked for Chief Judge M.C. Matthes of the United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit) and worked for the Patton Boggs law firm in Washington, D.C.

Judge Sullivan served in the White House on the legal defence team of President Nixon during the Watergate investigation in 1974. From 1974 to 1982, he was a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. From 1982 until he became a Federal Judge in 1986, Judge Sullivan served in the Pentagon as the General Counsel and the Chief Ethics Officer of the U.S. Air Force after serving initially as the Deputy General Counsel.

From 1982 until 1986, Judge Sullivan was the General Counsel of the National Reconnaissance Office (the NRO – a then super-secret US satellite intelligence agency).

In addition, in 1984-1986, he served as the Governor of Wake Island (the U.S. possession in the Pacific). In 1988 and 1989, Judge Sullivan served on the Federal Commission to review the West Point Honor Code. He is a Trustee Emeritus and the founding Chair of the Ethics Committee of the West Point Board of Trustees (Association of Graduates) and served on the first Executive Board of the Duke Law School Center for Law, Ethics and National Security.

Judge Sullivan has given many lectures on American law to visiting international judges and lawyers. For many years, he was the chair of three annual conferences: the International Judicial Conference (Criminal Law), the Great Debate (a debate on judicial reform) between the USA and England, and the International Diplomatic Conference.

During his career in promoting the rule of law, Judge Sullivan has been awarded the Medal of Justice from Romania, the First Class Medal of Defense from Hungary, the Defense Minister’s Citation of Merit from the Republic of China, an honorary Doctor of Law degree from New England School of Law, the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal, the Medal for Outstanding Public Service from the U.S. Department of Defense, and the 2001 Castle Award from the West Point Society (DC). The Castle Award is given to one West Point graduate each year. Judge Sullivan is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

When not recalled to active Court service, Judge Sullivan is a senior partner in the D.C. Law firm of Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan LLP.


  • Senior Partner, Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan LLP
  • Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals (AF)
  • Federal Judge
  • General Counsel, National Reconnaissance Office
  • General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer, U.S. Air Force
  • Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C.
  • Legal Defence Team, President Richard Nixon
  • Patton Boggs, Washington D.C.
  • Clerkship with Chief Judge M.C. Matthes of the United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
  • Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)
  • United States Army Rangers
  • United States Military Academy at West Point (B.S.)
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