United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Release

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

News Release


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 185-97
April 18, 1997

NAVY COMMISSIONS ARLEIGH BURKE CLASS DESTROYER THE SULLIVANS (DDG 68)

The Guided Missile Destroyer The Sullivans (DDG 68) will be commissioned during an 11 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, April 19, 1997, at Stapleton Pier on Staten Island in New York City.

The Navy will once again honor the memory of George, Francis, Joseph, Madison, and Albert Sullivan, five brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, whose legacy was one of the most oft-told stories of World War II. The brothers -- whose motto was We stick together -- stipulated that they be permitted to serve on the same ship as a condition of their enlistment in the Navy. In February 1942 they were assigned to the cruiser USS Juneau (CL 52). On Nov. 12, 1942, Juneau fought in the decisive Pacific theater naval battle of Guadalcanal. Early the next morning the ship was hit by a torpedo and was lost, along with most of its crew. Tragically, all five brothers went down with their ship. President Roosevelt ordered the Navy Department to name its next ship in their honor. The first The Sullivans (DD 537) (1943- 1965) earned nine battle stars in World War II and two in the Korean conflict. The ship is now a museum in Buffalo, N.Y.

Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, New York, is the principal speaker. Mrs. Kelly Sullivan Loughren, granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, one of the ship's namesakes, is the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition Mrs. Loughren will give the order to bring our ship to life.

The Sullivans is the 18th of 32 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. Aegis destroyers are equipped to conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of the national military strategy. The Sullivans will operate with aircraft carriers and battle groups in high-threat environments and will also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys.

These multi-missioned ships are equipped with the Navy's modern Aegis combat weapons system, that combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating Forward...From the Sea. The ship will carry Standard surface- to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; two fully automated, radar-controlled Phalanx close-in weapons systems; Harpoon anti- ship missiles; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

Cmdr. Gerard D. Roncolato, USN, a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is The Sullivans commanding officer. With a crew of 26 officers, and 315 enlisted personnel, the ship will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and will be homeported in Mayport, Fla. The ship was built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and The Sullivans is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,500 tons when fully loaded. Four gas-turbine engines power the ship to speeds of 30 knots. The Sullivans is the first Bath-built ship designed from the keel up to accommodate both man and women crew members. About 12 percent of the 341 crew members are women.