Suellyn Wright Novak

Veterans in Blue 2017

Retired Air Force Col. Suellyn Wright Novak began her career in 1973, entering as a personnel officer and later serving as the Air Force Blood Program Chief throughout Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Retiring in 2003, she is now an active member in her community, serving as the Alaska Veterans Museum executive director. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Suellyn Wright Novak is a 32-year Air Force veteran who served as a personnel officer, biomedical laboratory scientist and squadron commander. As the longest sitting chief of the Air Force Blood Program, she directly supported Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Despite the Air Force Blood Program being the smallest among the three services’ programs, she and her team were able to pump the most units of blood into theater to support wounded service members. Additionally, Novak served as chief of laboratory services and the Pacific Air Forces laboratory and blood program consultant. In this position, she stood up the frozen-blood program for the Republic of Korea, positioning frozen blood closer to areas in need through the Transportable Blood Transshipment Center. Following retirement as a colonel in 2003, Novak has continued to serve by volunteering with her church and various veteran organizations in a total of 26 volunteer positions. In 2013 she was recognized for her tireless dedication to the military blood program, earning the Armed Services Blood Program Lifetime Achievement Award. She now serves as the president of the board and executive director of the Alaska Veterans Museum, a position she has held since 2007.