A Story of Resilience  

Dan Sullivan is Determined to Stay in the Fight

Daniel A. Sullivan IV, a former Special Forces Operator, Lead Firearms Instructor and current Frederick City Police Officer, is a true American hero. He went from living in a nursing home to serving as a full duty Frederick City Police Officer. Despite personal tragedies, Dan never gives up and is the epitome of resilience.

A lifelong Frederick County resident (when not serving in the U.S. Army or attending college), Dan graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University with a BS Degree in Criminal Justice.

He joined the Army Special Forces and served for three tours in Afghanistan. On his final tour, Dan was injured in a rocket attack that damaged his lower spine.

While hospitalized in Germany, Dan was diagnosed with Cauda Euqina Syndrome (CES). CES is a condition where the nerves in the L5 spinal cord are damaged and fray giving the appearance of horsehair at the base of the spinal column.

Dan returned to the States with a debilitating spinal injury. After an unsuccessful surgery left Dan in a nursing home—with no hope to ever walk again—he was given a second chance with Dr. Navinder Sethi, an Orthopedic Surgeon. Dan made a full and miraculous recovery. He is currently serving as a Frederick City Police Officer. 

Dan escaped three tours in Afghanistan, but could not have known he would fight three more battles at home; this time with cancer. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, skin cancer and Pheochromocytoma (a rare, hormone-secreting tumor on his adrenal gland). Dan is a survivor, and he continues to stay in the fight.

Just when things could not get worse, Dan endured every parent’s worst nightmare, the death of a child. Dan lost his seven-year-old son, Daniel Sullivan V, to a terminal illness, Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD). MLD is a rare hereditary disease characterized by accumulation of sulfatides, which causes the destruction of the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves in both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. 

As he faces the pain of loss, every day Dan continues to stay in the fight. One way he does this is by giving back to his community and helping others in need. 

Dan has taken these personal tragedies and turned them around for good. He diverted his focus on his pain and loss to his love for teaching. He continues to uphold his Special Forces Creed by teaching the skills vital for survival.

In 2011, Dan formed L5 Tactical Training Group, a Veteran-owned Firearms Training company operated by active and retired police officers, lead firearms instructors, range masters, Special Forces, and former NSA/SWAT Team members, right here in Frederick County.

L5 got its name when Dan and his friends were sitting around swapping war stories. They realized they had the same L5-S1 injury from their service on and off the battlefield.

They have fused together with their extensive knowledge, expertise, special operations and passion for educating the public about firearms, to form L5 Tactical Training Group. 

Dan created L5 because he is passionate about teaching. He believes that “If you fail, he fails.” Dan also believes, “it’s my job to make the students better than me.”

The most memorable moment Dan had while teaching was a woman in her fifties who took the Handgun Qualifying License class (HQL). He said, “she was so scared...her hands were shaking.” Dan took her aside, talked to her and gave her stress management techniques to help calm her anxiety and fears. After the classroom instruction, they went to the rage to qualify for the HQL. She shot her first round into the target hitting the 10-ring. Dan shares, “It was a good feeling to see her become confident with a firearm.”

Dan is a real American success story! Despite Dan’s personal tragedies and the L5 injury that nearly crippled him, he continues to stay in the fight by giving back to his community and mentoring kids who want to become police officers and Special Forces soldiers. www.l5s1tactical.com


“L5 Tactical Training Group armed me with the knowledge and skills to be confident and successful in my own personal protection.”

“L5 Instructors are welcoming, patient, and kind...They took the time to explain the makeup of a gun and collaborated with me to ease my anxiety about guns.”

“Well done & informative for regular citizens.”

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