Charles Peter Sullivan was born in Eureka, Illinois, on July 31, 1915. He attended Northwestern University, graduating with a degree in business administration.
During February 1941, Sullivan enlisted in the Army Air Corps flying cadet program. He learned to fly at the Spartan School in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas; and at Brooks Field in Brooks, Texas. On September 21, 1941 he recieved his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant and flight wings at Brooks Field. Afterwards, transferred to Mitchell Field, New York.
In January 1942 shipped overseas to Australia and assigned to the 35th Fighter Group, 39th Fighter Squadron, piloting the Bell Airacoba from Port Moresby.
On June 17, 1942 while flying a P-400 Airacobra, Sullivan claimed a Japanese bomber over Port Moresby, his first aerial victory. Afterwards, the 39th Fighter Squadron converted to P-38 Lightning.
On January 6, 1943 piloting a P-38, 1st Lt. Sullivan shot down a Ki-43 near Gasmata. On March 3, 1943 shot down on a A6M Zero over Lae. The next day on March 4, 1943 claimed a Zero probable over the Huon Gulf.
On April 12,
1943 during the final Japanese daylight raid over Port Moresby, "Operation I-Go", claimed a G4M1 Betty.
His final victory was on July 26, 1943 a Ki-43 Oscar over Lae. In total, Sullivan claimed five victories and one probable
in New Guinea.
On September 20, 1943 took off leading a four plane flight an escort mission over Wewak, damaged by a Japanese fighter, he force landed P-38H "Mareelee II" 42-66851 and escaped from behind enemy lines..
Charlie Sullivan remained in the service and retired after nearly thirty years on active duty with the rank of Colonel in 1968. In 1973, he changed his family name to O'Sullivan. In September 1993, he learned that a pair of Australian aviation enthusiasts had located, almost to the day, the remains of his P-38H "Mareelee II" 42-66851 he crash a half-century earlier.
Faith, Determination and a Bit of Irish Luck by Charles O'Sullivan