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A Family's Sacrifice Remembered

By Lisa Stafford
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 8, 1997 – The USS The Sullivans recently rejoined the fleet, ensuring one Navy family's World War II sacrifice will be remembered.

Navy officials April 19 named an Aegis destroyer after George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert Sullivan, five brothers who died aboard the cruiser USS Juneau in 1942.

The brothers, from Waterloo, Iowa, enlisted to avenge the death of a friend at Pearl Harbor. Their motto was "we stick together," and that's what they asked to do. During night action Nov. 12, 1942, the Juneau sank after a Japanese torpedo attack. Of the 700 crew members, only 11 survived. All five brothers died in the attack. No other family lost so many members in a single engagement during World War II.

As a result of the family's loss, military personnel practices changed -- family members are counseled even today about the risks of serving together.

President Franklin Roosevelt marked the family's sacrifice by ordering a destroyer be named in the brothers' honor. The first USS The Sullivans was christened Feb. 4, 1943. It was awarded nine battle stars in World War II and two in the Korean War. It was decommissioned in 1965 and is on display as a memorial in Buffalo, N.Y.

The new ship is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. It is 505 feet long, has a beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,500 tons when fully loaded. The ship can hold speeds of 30 knots. Kelly Sullivan Loughren, granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, christened the ship. She gave the order to "bring our ship to life" at Staten Island, N.Y.

USS The Sullivans, commanded by Cmdr. Gerard D. Roncolato, is the first ship specifically designed to accommodate both male and female sailors. Other ships were retrofitted; about 12 percent of the 341 crew members are women.##END#

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