Nov 13

Sullivan Brothers Lost at Guadalcanal, 13 November 1942

Sunday, November 13, 2011 12:01 AM

On 13 November 1942 the light cruiser Juneau (CL 52) sank off Guadalcanal, with the loss of all but ten of her crew. Among the dead were all five brothers of the Sullivan family from Waterloo, Iowa. Albert, Francis, George, Joseph, and Madison Sullivan had enlisted together on 3 January 1942, with condition that they be allowed to serve on the same ship. News of the deaths of all five brothers became a rallying point for the war effort, with posters and speeches honoring their sacrifice, extensive newspaper and radio coverage, and war bond drives and other patriotic campaigns which culminated in the 1944 movie, “The Sullivans.”

Their sister Genevieve enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Specialist (Recruiter) Third Class and, with her parents, visited more than 200 manufacturing plants and shipyards under the auspices of the Industrial Incentive Division, Executive Office of the Secretary, Navy Department. According to a 9 February 1943 Navy Department Press Release, the Sullivans “visited war production plants urging employees to work harder to produce weapons for the Navy so that the war may come to an end sooner.” By January 1944 the three surviving Sullivans had spoken to over a million workers in sixty-five cities and reached millions of others over the radio.

On 10 February 1943 the Navy officially canceled the name Putnam (DD 537) and assigned the name The Sullivans to a destroyer under construction. Sponsored by Mrs. Alleta Sullivan, mother of the five Sullivan brothers, and commissioned 30 September 1943, The Sullivans served the Navy until decommissioning on 7 January 1965. In 1977 the destroyer was donated to the city of Buffalo, New York, as a memorial in the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Servicemen’s Park. The second The Sullivans (DDG 68) was laid down on 14 June 1993 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works Co. and launched on 12 August 1995 sponsored by Kelly Sullivan Loughren, granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan. Commissioned on 19 April 1997 at Staten Island, New York, under the command of Commander Gerard D. Roncolato, the ship’s motto, “We Stick Together,” echoes the determination and dedication of the brothers for which the ship was named.

 
 
 
  • Eliza

    Also lost was my grandfather, John Stuart Blue LTCDR Navigator of the USS Juneau. I am having a very hard time trying to find any information about him on this site and the Patriot Files. Also missing which is very odd, are first hand accounts of survivors and witnesses of this event. There are several accounts I came across on the internet but why aren’t they here?
    It would be nice if the other 685 people who perished were remembered too.

    Here are some links to accounts of the sinking of the USS Juneau CL-52:
    As told by Roger W. O’Neill
    http://www.rtcol.com/~weshortz/memorials/junsinking.htm
    As told by Joseph Hartney
    http://www.rtcol.com/~oakland/juneaubattle.html

    http://www.simonpure.com/leftto.htm

    Sincerely,
    Eliza

  • Eliza

    I forgot to mention that the following year the destroyer, the USS Blue (DD-744) was named after him and launched by my grandmother, his widow Alice and my mother who was born five days before he died, Eleanor Stuart Blue.