Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Fighting Sullivans: WWII Sailor Brothers Who Died Together

There is a lot of interest right now in the "fighting Sullivans," five brothers who served together in the US Navy in World War II.

Apparently, and foolishly, they were all allowed to serve together on the same ship, the USS Juneau, a light cruiser that was sunk during the Battle of  Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942 --  67 years ago yesterday.  Putting one's eggs in only one basket proved catastrophic for the Sullivan family.  In fact, their loss was the greatest military loss for any one family in World War II.

The US Navy currently has a guided missile destroyer named after these brothers, the USS The Sullivans (DDG 68).  You can see a photo of that ship at this link.  This is the second ship named after the Sullivans; the first was a Fletcher class destroyer (DD 537); this latter ship was decommissioned in 1965 and still serves as a museum that is open to the public.  Read all about it at this link.

The photo at the right shows all five of the Sullivan brothers in uniform.  They are wearing the blue "Donald Duck" style Navy hats that were phased out in 1963.  Too bad; I like those hats, having collected about six of them from EBay.  I sometimes wear one when puffing stogies in the backyard gazebo.

I previously wrote about this Navy hat here.

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