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DNR commissioner Sullivan deploying to Afghanistan

Posted: July 22, 2013 - 9:08pm  |  Updated: July 22, 2013 - 11:07pm

JUNEAU — Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan is deploying to Afghanistan after being recalled to active duty with the U.S. military.

Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Elizabeth Bluemink said Monday that Sullivan will be on leave for six weeks. She said his deployment began Sunday.

Deputy Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash has been designated acting commissioner in Sullivan’s absence. Sullivan is a former Alaska attorney general who has held his current post for nearly three years.

According to his military bio, Sullivan holds the rank of lieutenant colonel and serves as the executive officer of the 4th Marine Division’s Anti-Terrorism Battalion, described as the largest battalion in the Marine Corps Reserve.

He has previously been recalled to duty in the past, including from December 2004 to April 2006, and in early 2009, his biography states.

Gov. Sean Parnell released a statement Monday, saying Alaskans should be grateful to Sullivan “and all our military personnel who answer the call to defend our nation.”

“I am very proud of Commissioner Sullivan for his service to Alaska and our country,” Parnell said. “We wish him safe travels and Godspeed on this mission, and will pray for his safe return.”

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