Sgt. David Sullivan, an optical laboratory specialist at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, shows a photo of he and his grandfather, a World War II veteran and retired lieutenant colonel. Sullivan is entering the Army's Green-to-Gold program, which gives enlisted Soldiers the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree or a two-year graduate degree and earn a commission as an Army officer. He said he is honoring his grandfather and following in his footsteps.
Sgt. David Sullivan, an optical laboratory specialist at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, shows a photo of he and his grandfather, a World War II veteran and retired lieutenant colonel. Sullivan is entering the Army's Green-to-Gold program, which gives enlisted Soldiers the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree or a two-year graduate degree and earn a commission as an Army officer. He said he is honoring his grandfather and following in his footsteps. (Photo Credit: Photo by Chad Ashe) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — As an optical laboratory specialist at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, Sgt. David Sullivan helps fabricate about 80,000 eyeglasses each year for trainees and Tricare beneficiaries in the Fort Leonard Wood community.

Sullivan has been in his position two years, and according to one of his coworkers, Cheryl Berry, he has established himself as a hard working noncommissioned officer.

“He takes initiative,” Berry said. “He doesn’t hesitate; he is a good leader.”

Sullivan’s leadership skills will come in handy as he gets ready to enter the Army’s Green-to-Gold program, which gives enlisted Soldiers the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree or a two-year graduate degree and earn a commission as an Army officer.

Though he has a four-year degree already, Sullivan aims to complete a master’s degree in exercise science through the program.

Sullivan said he entered the program to emulate and honor the legacy of his grandfather — a World War II veteran and retired lieutenant colonel, who adopted Sullivan’s father while traveling in Turkey, then brought him to the U.S. for an education.

“My father wasn’t in the Army, but he raised me with discipline,” Sullivan said.

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Sullivan said there are a lot of opportunities in the Army for anyone willing to work hard.

“It’s definitely a good idea to take advantage of everything,” he said.

Sullivan’s supervisor, Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Kamo, said three Soldiers in the unit have completed Green-to-Gold packets in the past two years, and while he doesn’t want to lose another good NCO, “you can’t fault them for wanting to further their career.”

“He’s already honored his grandfather,” Kamo added. “It doesn’t matter if you go enlisted or officer, he volunteered his service. He went to college and had a bachelor’s degree before he joined the Army. He could have done a multitude of things, and he chose to do this to honor his grandfather.”

Sullivan said everyone ultimately decides their own path — he wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become an officer.

“Don’t let anyone deter you from how you want to reach your goals to make yourself successful in the future,” he added.