Meet Capt Hassan Sulley ’07

Meet Capt Hassan Sulley ’07

Inspired Mission

Growing up, Hassan Sulley ’07 remembers hearing stories from his grandfather, uncles, and cousins about their military service in the U.S. Army and Air Force. He was captivated by their experiences—particularly the bonds they developed with fellow service members—and knew at an early age that he would follow in their footsteps and join the military. But first, he had other plans.

“Serving in the military sounded like an awesome experience, but I had my own goal of being the first in the family to graduate college, so I put the military on hold until that goal was achieved,” says Sulley, who is a Captain and Director of Operations in the U.S. Air Force.

That plan landed Sulley at Govs, where he says Ike ‘78 and Dorothea Suggs P'97,'02, and Señora Olga Florentino [then deGrasse], became his “family away from home” as he moved from his Bronx, New York neighborhood to a rural New England campus.

“They encouraged me to be the best version of myself and heavily contributed to who I am today,” Sulley says of his Govs mentors. “Mr. and Mrs. Suggs took the time to care for me as if I were one of their own. They constantly reminded me that there was more to life than sports and that I had to prioritize my education in order to set myself up for the future.”

Sulley went on to Pepperdine University, where he majored in International Business. “It wasn’t until I had an opportunity to study abroad in Shanghai, China during my sophomore year of college that I changed my major from Business to International Business,” he recalls. “Between my time in China and visiting family in Africa and Europe, I developed a passion and appreciation for other cultures and knew it was something I wanted to continue to immerse myself in.”

After college, Sulley worked as a global automotive research associate at J.D. Power and Associates. But there was still something lingering in the back of his mind. “The Govs motto ‘Non Sibi Sed Aliis’ [not for self, but for others] steered me back to the military where I could protect and serve those in need,” he says.

Forging a Path

Sulley joined the U.S. Air Force in 2014 (after “a long discussion with Mr. Suggs to weigh the pros and the cons because his input meant a lot.”). He received a commission from Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base. During his first assignment at Joint Base Andrews, he served as the Deputy Director of Flightline Protocol. His charge: providing airlift support and protocol logistics for the President, Vice President, cabinet members, congressional delegations, senior officials, and foreign heads of state, leaders, and royalty.

“The most important aspects of the job were being organized, timely, and professional,” Captain Sulley says. “Our team served as the face of the Air Force and United States when supporting foreign nations, so it was crucial that we created a great first impression and lasting experience. We needed to maintain our military bearing at all times and render the proper customs and courtesies.”

He primarily serves as a Cyberspace Officer for the past nine years and earned a master’s degree in Homeland Security with a concentration in Counter-Terrorism from American Military University. Today, as Director of Operations for the 744th Communication Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base, he directs operations for more than 300 military, civilians, and contractors providing network, computers, communications, and IT services and support to the National Capital Region, the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

“Each day varies, but the majority of my time is invested in guaranteeing the base populace has all their IT needs met in order to conduct their missions,” Sulley says.

One of his most memorable professional moments: “Meeting President Biden, First Lady Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, and kings and queens of foreign countries. It’s not every day that you get to shake hands and converse with some of the most powerful people in the world.”

Capt Sulley with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden


Capt Sulley with Vice President Kamala Harris

Commitment to Service

As a military officer, Sulley takes a leadership approach that has developed through personal experiences. “Growing up in New York prepares you for life; you learn at a young age to be confident in yourself and to not be afraid of being you. I am inspired by seeing people becoming the best version of themselves and overcoming adversity.”

That sentiment brings Captain Sulley back to Govs. “One of my favorite moments was graduation. It was the culmination of all the effort and work that my family, friends, teachers, and coaches invested in me. Transitioning from middle school in the Bronx to GDA was challenging. However, the more I applied myself, the easier it became over the years to the point where graduation serves as a constant reminder that I can thrive in any environment with dedication and support from those around me.”

The service component of his Govs experience has served as an influence. “My leadership style of servant leadership can be derived from my time at GDA. I learned to give back and invest in others, and that you cannot get far on your own. It takes a village, so I try to build up those around me in hopes that they will continue to reciprocate.”

In 2021, Sulley deployed in support of Operation Allies Welcome to “care for our Afghan allies who fled their country and immigrated to America when the Taliban took over Afghanistan.”

He calls it both a humbling and rewarding experience. “To see the smiles on their faces and their perseverance even after they have lost everything made me appreciate all that I have. It was amazing to see that we were making a difference and helping them resettle into their new lives. To be a part of America’s largest noncombatant evacuation operations reminded me why I joined in the first place.”