A historic first

Lt. Col. Meghann Sullivan becomes first woman to command an SFAB battalion

By Maj. William Leasure, 5th SFAB Public Affairs on July 4, 2021

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - Lt. Col. Meghann Sullivan took command of the 5th Battalion, 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, June 28, marking a historic first as she becomes the first female commander of an SFAB battalion.

"Lt. Col. Sullivan is a phenomenal engineer, and her selection as an SFAB commander is one more example of the great talent resident in our formation, Maj. Gen. Scott Jackson, Commanding General, Security Force Assistance Command, said. "As a senior, female advisor, she will also be a great example of the power of inclusion as she engages with militaries throughout the Indo-Pacific region."

Sullivan comes to the Vanguard Brigade from the 31st Engineer Battalion at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where she served as the unit's commander.

"Today marks a significant milestone in the brief history of this new formation. Lt. Col. Meghann Sullivan joins us not only as a talented Army engineer, who will bring a new perspective and continued energy to the battalion, but also as the first female officer selected to lead a Security Force Assistance Battalion," 5th SFAB Commander, Col. Andrew Watson said.

The engineer battalion at the SFAB provides functional teams of engineer advisors to numerous countries across the Indo-Pacific. Sullivan takes command as the first group of advisors return home from the Indo-Pacific after a six month employment and another group replaces them.

"The mission set is exciting, and we have teams employed in the Indo-Pacific right now that are having strategic effect at the tactical level," Sullivan said. "I can't wait to see what the teams do over the next couple of years."

Sullivan reflected on her selection as the first female SFAB battalion commander.

"I've been in the Army over twenty years as an engineer, diversity and inclusion makes us stronger," Sullivan said. "I am excited for young women to see that you can look and act different and be successful - I'd tell these women, don't let anyone put a cap on you."

Sullivan's transition involves pivoting from training new engineer soldiers to preparing SFAB advisors to train alongside strategic partners across the Indo-Pacific.

"I have loved being a battalion commander," Sullivan said. "Coming to 5th SFAB allows me to continue to serve with soldiers, and the SFAB has a very unique mission set that I felt capitalized my knowledge, skills and attributes to contribute."

The Army announced Sullivan's assignment on Nov. 5, 2020 following a competitive centralized board convened to select candidates who had successfully completed at least one tour as a battalion commander.

"Sullivan's selection from a pool of extremely capable peers to serve in this capacity is indicative of her proven ability and professional expertise," Watson said. "We are proud to have Meghann join this tremendous team."

Sullivan is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and has served numerous operational deployments with the 82nd Airborne Division, 101st Airborne and Combined Joint Special Operations Task-Force Afghanistan. She has also completed the U.S. Army's School of Advanced Military Studies program, in addition to completing airborne and jumpmaster training.