The Sullivan Brothers

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by ScubaMaggie
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The Sullivan Brothers

On the morning of January 12th 1943, Tom Sullivan (The Brothers' father) was preparing to leave for work when he saw three Navy officers come to his door. They said "I have some news for you about your boys." "Which one?" asked Tom. "I'm sorry," the officer replied. "All five." Albert left behind a wife and a son, and Joseph and Madison left behind fiances.The Navy ended up naming two destroyers after the brothers. Al Sullivan's son, James, served on board the first USS The Sullivans. They also made a movie about the brothers, called "The Fighting Sullivans."

The Sullivan Brothers

The Brothers

After The Sinking

The Sullivan's close friend Bill Ball died during the Pearl Harbor attack. The Sullivan brothers heard about it and decided they wanted to enlist in the Navy. They enlisted on January 3rd 1942. George and Francis had served previously. The Navy was very leery of letting the brothers all serve together, but the Sullivan's finally convinced them, and in November of 1942

Joining the Navy

they were assigned to the USS Juneau.

George Thomas Sullivan-27Francis Henry Sullivan-26Joseph Eugene Sullivan-24Madison "Matt" Abel Sullivan-23Albert "Al" Leo Sullivan-20The Brothers all grew up together in Waterloo, Iowa. They were a very close family and all of the siblings did everything together. They stuck together no matter what. They believed that as long as they were together, they could survive anything.

On Friday, the 13th of November, 1942, during the Battle of Guadalcanal, the USS Juneau was hit by a torpedo and had to withdraw. Later that day, as it was leaving, it was struck again by a torpedo. The ship quickly sank. No one came to rescue the survivors, for two reasons;1.)People had fears about the Japanese still nearby.2.) People didn't think there WERE survivors. A week later, ten survivors were retrieved from the water. The survivors reported that Frank, Joe, and Matt died instantly, Al drowned the next day, and George survived around 4 days, but went delirious and swam off and was never seen after.

The Sinking

"The Sullivans were common men who made an uncommon sacrifice," said granddaughter of Albert Sullivan.


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