Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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The Sullivan Brothers 

Photo #: NH 52362  The five Sullivan Brothers

On board USS Juneau (CL-52) at the time of her commissioning ceremonies at the New York Navy Yard, 14 February 1942. All were lost with the ship following the 13 November 1942 Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The brothers are (from left to right): Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison, and George Sullivan. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command photograph (NH 52362).

The five Sullivan Brothers were lost when the ship to which all five were assigned, USS Juneau (CL-52) was sunk on 13 November 1942 during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Many memorial efforts have honored the five brothers. Since their loss much confusion has resulted from the many myths surrounding both the Sullivan brothers and the Navy's policy regarding family members serving together at sea. To learn more, please review the links below.


The Sextant Blogs

The Brothers of Waterloo

Alleta Sullivan: A "Navy Mom" Like No Other 


The Sullivan Brothers

Transcripts of Service

The Sullivan Brothers: U.S. Navy Policy Regarding Family Members Serving Together at Sea 

Honoring the Sullivan Brothers


USS Juneau (CL-52) and the Battle of Guadalcanal 

The Loss of USS Juneau (CL-52)

Report on Loss of USS Juneau (CL-52)

List of USS Juneau Survivors

Ship History of USS Juneau (CL-52) 

The Battle of Guadalcanal


Digital Resources

Guadalcanal Cruiser Night Action

Guadalcanal Carrier Action

Guadalcanal Battleship Night Action


Ships Named USS The Sullivans

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."

Published: Mon Nov 04 10:41:09 EST 2019