Destroyers are named for naval heroes and leaders. Thus the Navy decided to honor the five Sullivan brothers by naming a new destroyer The Sullivans. This name has caused some confusion because the Navy does not use the article "the" in front of the names of its ships. In this particular instance "the" is part of the ship's name.
On 10 February 1943, the Navy officially canceled the name Putnam (DD-537) and assigned the name The Sullivans to a destroyer under construction. Previously laid down on 10 October 1942 at San Francisco, California, by the Bethlehem Steel Co., the destroyer was sponsored by Mrs. Alleta Sullivan, mother of the five Sullivan brothers, and commissioned 30 September 1943. USS The Sullivans (DD-537) served the Navy until final 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.; launched on 12 August 1995; sponsored by Kelly Sullivan Loughren, granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan; and commissioned on 19 April 1997 at Staten Island, New York under the command of Commander Gerard D. Roncolato. The motto of the ship, honoring the five brothers, is "We Stick Together."