USS The Sullivans (DD-537)
The USS “The Sullivans” was launched in San Francisco on April 4, 1943. The ship’s namesake, the five Sullivan brothers, enlisted in the Navy & served together aboard the light cruiser “USS Juneau”.
On November 13, 1942, the USS Juneau was sunk by a Japanese submarine while fighting off Guadalcanal. All five Sullivan brothers, along with 700 other sailors were lost in the sinking. President Roosevelt directed that one of the new Fletcher class destroyers under construction, be named after the five brothers. She is the first Navy destroyer ever named after more than one person.
The ship sailed into WWII with 23 crewmembers named Sullivan. She fought in the Marshalls, Carolines, Marianas and the Philippines, rescuing many survivors from downed planes and damaged or sinking ships, but never lost a single sailor in battle. She also served in the Korean War, the Cuban Blockade, and assisted in the rescue efforts of the nuclear submarine “Thresher”.
The ship was decommissioned in 1965 and arrived in Buffalo in 1977 for display and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 1997, The Sullivans (DD537) passed her famous name & heritage on to a new Arleigh Burke class Aegis destroyer, the USS The Sullivans, DDG-68.