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The FReeper Foxhole Revisits The USS Juneau and the Sullivan Brothers - June 19th, 2004 ^

Posted on 06/19/2004 12:05:59 AM PDT by snippy_about_it


Keep our Troops forever in Your care

Give them victory over the enemy...

Grant them a safe and swift return...

Bless those who mourn the lost.

FReepers from the Foxhole join in prayer
for all those serving their country at this time.

...................................................................................... ...........................................

U.S. Military History, Current Events and Veterans Issues

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The FReeper Foxhole Revisits

The Loss of USS Juneau

In early November 1942, as the struggle for control of Guadalcanal remained undecided, both the Allies and the Japanese were desperately trying to reinforce the island with troops, food, and ammunition while trying to prevent the other side from doing the same. Although two American convoys arrived safely on 11 and 12 November, they had only partially unloaded their cargoes when Magic (intercepted Japanese messages) intelligence and reconnaissance reports indicated strong Japanese naval forces were approaching the island on a shore bombardment mission. As the American transports steamed eastwards for safety, an American force of five cruisers and eight destroyers, under command of Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan took up station in the strait between Guadalcanal and Florida Island, called "Ironbottom Sound" owing to the many sunken ships littering the sea floor from the naval battles.

After midnight on 13 November, a Japanese formation of two battleships, a light cruiser, and eleven destroyers steamed past Savo Island, heading toward Guadalcanal. At 0124, these warships appeared on American radar and the two forces closed rapidly. Poor radar coordination, however, left the American warships vainly trying to pin down the location of the Japanese warships. The leading destroyers of both forces sighted each other briefly in the darkness and at 0145 USS Juneau received the order, "Stand by to open fire." A few minutes later, just after a Japanese searchlight flicked on, the lead American destroyers opened fire at the Japanese warships at a mere 1,600 yards. The Japanese replied in kind and the two formations quickly mingled together, firing into each other at point-blank range in the glare-lit darkness.

Within minutes, the Japanese destroyer Akatsuki and the American cruiser USS Atlanta lay dead in the water, victims of shell and torpedo hits. Meanwhile, the two Japanese battleships, worried that American torpedo-armed destroyers were too close for comfort, tried to turn away. Still, the four American destroyers in lead fired guns and torpedoes at Hiei, the nearest Japanese battleship, damaging her superstructure with numerous shell hits. Two of the American destroyers USS Cushing and USS Laffey were mortally wounded after a brief fire fight, with Laffey exploding and sinking shortly thereafter.

The engagement turned against the American task force when three Japanese destroyers conducted a torpedo attack from the northern flank. Torpedo hits damaged cruiser USS Portland and sank destroyer USS Barton. Gunfire from these and other Japanese warships turned USS Monssen into a smoking wreck and damaged both cruiser USS San Francisco and destroyer USS Aaron Ward. In return, by the time the fifteen-minute battle ended, destroyer Yudachi was a burning hulk and battleship Hiei was left crippled, steering an erratic course to the northwest. By the following afternoon, owing to scuttling charges or damage, Atlanta, Cushing, and Monssen had all sunk. Two Japanese ships soon joined them when Yudachi exploded under shell fire from Portland, and Hiei went under following bomb and torpedo hits delivered by Navy and Marine aircraft.

The light cruiser Juneau (CL-52), in which the five Sullivan brothers were surviving, suffered a different fate. Just a few minutes into the battle, Juneau was hit by a Japanese torpedo on the port side near the forward fire room. The shock wave from the explosion buckled the deck, shattered the fire control computers, and knocked out power. The cruiser limped away from the battle, down by the bow and struggling to maintain 18 knots. She rejoined the surviving American warships at dawn on 13 November and zig-zagged to the southeast in company with two other cruisers and three destroyers.

About an hour before noon, the task force crossed paths with Japanese submarine I-26. At 1101, the submarine fired a three torpedoes at San Francisco. None hit that cruiser, but one passed beyond and struck Juneau on the port side very near the previous hit. The ensuing magazine explosion blew the light cruiser in half, killing most of the crew. A message from USS Helena to a nearby B-17 search plane reported that Juneau was lost at latitude 10 degrees South and longitude 161 degrees East and that survivors were in the water. The sinking location was subsequently modified to 10 degrees South and 161 degrees East.

Owing to the risk of another submarine attack and because the sections of Juneau sank in only a few minutes, the American task force did not stay to check for survivors. However, approximately 115 of Juneau's crew survived the explosion. But, as Helena's message unfortunately did not reach Noumea and there remained uncertainty about the number of Japanese ships in the area, rescue efforts did not begin for several days. Exposure, exhaustion, and shark attacks whittled down the survivors and only ten men were rescued from the water eight days after the sinking.

The Sullivan Brothers

In the aftermath of Juneau's loss, the Navy notified Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa, that all five of their sons were missing in action. Two of the brothers had served previous four-year enlistments in the Navy and so, when all five brothers enlisted together on 3 January 1942, the Navy was the obvious choice. They had also insisted on serving together on the same ship. Although the accepted Navy policy was to separate family members, the brothers had persisted and their request was approved.

It was later learned, through survivors' accounts, that four of the brothers died in the initial explosion. The fifth, George Thomas, despite being wounded the night before, made it onto a raft where he survived for five days before succumbing either to wounds and exhaustion or a shark attack.

The brothers received the Purple Heart Medal posthumously and were entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four engagement stars and the World War II Victory Medal. They had also earned the Good Conduct Medal.

They were survived by their parents, Mr. Thomas F. Sullivan and Mrs. Alleta Sullivan, a sister, Genevieve Sullivan, and by Albert Leo Sullivan's wife, Katherine Mary Sullivan. Their son, James Thomas, was twenty-two months old at the time of his father's death.

Albert Leo Sullivan
Francis Henry Sullivan
George Thomas Sullivan
Joseph Eugene Sullivan
Madison Abel Sullivan

FReeper Foxhole Armed Services Links

KEYWORDS: freeperfoxhole; guadalcanal; history; samsdayoff; savoisland; sullivanbrothers; usnavy; ussjuneau; veterans
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Honoring the Sullivan Brothers

News of the deaths of all five brothers became a rallying point for the war effort, with posters and speeches honoring their sacrifice. Extensive newspaper and radio coverage of the incident made the loss of the brothers a national story, producing "a wave of humility and sympathy..." and condolences poured in on the Sullivan family in Waterloo, Iowa. One woman told the Associated Press, "And now I wonder how the sugar and coffee hoarders feel." War bond drives and other patriotic campaigns culminated in the 1944 movie, "The Sullivans."


Their sister Genevieve enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Specialist (Recruiter) Third Class and, with her parents, visited more than two hundred manufacturing plants and shipyards under the auspices of the Industrial Incentive Division, Executive Office of the Secretary, Navy Department. According to a 9 February 1943 Navy Department Press Release, the Sullivans "...visited war production plants urging employees to work harder to produce weapons for the Navy so that the war may come to an end sooner." By January 1944, the three surviving Sullivans had spoken to over a million workers in sixty-five cities and reached millions of others over the radio.

USS The Sullivans (DDG 68)

To honor the five Sullivan brothers, the Navy has named two destroyers, USS The Sullivans. On 10 February 1943, the Navy officially canceled the name Putnam (DD-537) and assigned the name The Sullivans to a destroyer under construction. Sponsored by Mrs. Alleta Sullivan, mother of the five Sullivan brothers, and commissioned 30 September 1943, The Sullivans 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. and launched on 12 August 1995 sponsored by Kelly Sullivan Loughren, granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan. Commissioned on 19 April 1997 at Staten Island, New York under the command of Commander Gerard D. Roncolato, the motto of the ship is "We Stick Together."

Today's Educational Sources and suggestions for further reading:

The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The USS Juneau and the Sullivan Brothers - Feb. 5th, 2003
1 posted on 06/19/2004 12:06:03 AM PDT by snippy_about_it
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To: All

The following letter was sent to Mrs. Sullivan by President Roosevelt when he learned that her five sons were listed as missing in action after the USS Juneau was sunk:

"Dear Mrs. Sullivan:

"The knowledge that your five gallant sons are missing in action, against the enemy, inspired me to write you this personal message. I realize full well there is little I can say to assuage your grief.

"As the Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy, I want you to know that the entire nation shares your sorrow. I offer you the condolence and gratitude of our country. We, who remain to carry on the fight, must maintain the spirit in the knowledge that such sacrifice is not in vain. The Navy Department has in- formed me of the expressed desire of your sons; George Thomas, Francis Henry, Joseph Eugene, Madison Abel, and Albert Leo, to serve on the same ship. I am sure, that we all take pride in the knowledge that they fought side by side. As one of your sons wrote, `We will make a team together that can't be beat.' It is this spirit which in the end must triumph.

"Last March, you, Mrs. Sullivan, were designated to sponsor a ship of the Navy in recognition of your patriotism and that of your sons. I am to understand that you are, now, even more determined to carry on as sponsorer. This evidence of unselfish- ness and courage serves as a real inspiration for me, as I am sure it will for all Americans. Such acts of fate and fortitude in the face of tragedy convince me of the indomitable spirit and will of our people.

"I send you my deepest sympathy in your hour of trial and pray that in Almighty God you will find a comfort and help that only He can bring.

Very sincerely yours,

"/s/ Franklin D. Roosevelt"

2 posted on 06/19/2004 12:06:39 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: All
'Reference to a "Sullivan Act" in connection with family members serving in the same ship/unit is a popular misconception. The Sullivan Law of 25 May 1911 is a New York City ordinance dealing with firearms. Although proposed after the death of the five Sullivan Brothers, no "Sullivan Act" was ever enacted by Congress related to family members serving together. Similarly, no President has ever issued any executive order forbidding assignment of family members to the same ship/unit.'


3 posted on 06/19/2004 12:07:02 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: All

On Jan. 3, 1942, the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo came to Des Moines to join the Navy. The brothers are (left to right), Francis, George, Madison, Albert and Eugene.

The Sullivan Brothers: U.S. Navy Policy Regarding Family Members Serving Together at Sea Several misconceptions, common during World War II and after, continue to circulate about the Sullivan brothers and the assignment of family members to U.S. Navy ships.

Following are nine references that describe the U.S. Navy policy toward the assignment of family members to ships since 1942, and one other article that help explain this policy.

Official U.S. Navy Documents:

(1) Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, 1942; Extract on the assignment of brothers to same ship or station

(2) Bureau of Naval Personnel Circular Letter 345-44, 15 November 1944; Sole-survivor policy

(3) Bureau of Naval Personnel Circular Letter 107-45, 14 April 1945; Sole-survivor policy

(4) Bureau of Naval Personnel Circular Letter 281-45, 28 September 1945; Members of Families Serving in the Same Ship, [Policy after World War II]

(5) Extract from History of Enlisted Personnel Activity, Bureau of Naval Personnel Administrative History, 1946. This summarizes wartime practice with regard to family members serving in same ship/unit, also "sole survivor" policy.

(6) Bureau of Naval Personnel Manual: Chapter 5; Policy on assignment or reassignment of members of the same immediate family, 1966.

(7) Naval Military Personnel Command Press Release , 29 May 1980; on same-unit and sole-survivor policies.

(8) OPNAV Instruction 1300.15, 6 January 1988 [Extract on sole survivors from Office of Chief of Naval Operations instruction]

(9) Naval Military Personnel Manual, NavPers 15560C, 15 August 1991


(1) Non-Commissioned Officers Association News Brief, 22 October 1990; Sole-survivor policy at time of Desert Shield, 1990.
4 posted on 06/19/2004 12:07:34 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Diva Betsy Ross; Americanwolf; CarolinaScout; Tax-chick; Don W; Poundstone; Wumpus Hunter; ...

FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

Good Saturday Morning Everyone.

If you would like to be added to our ping list, let us know.

5 posted on 06/19/2004 12:08:35 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it

You want to see a real tear-jerker, get a copy of The Fighting Sullivans. It's about the brothers growing up.

6 posted on 06/19/2004 12:12:02 AM PDT by SAMWolf (I've had fun before. This isn't it.)
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To: All

LOCATION: At the cruise ship dock on the waterfront area, Juneau, Alaska. PURPOSE: To commemorate the sinking of the U.S.S. Juneau, a light cruiser (CL-52) during WAR II.

DESCRIPTION: Concrete, consisting of a base for a flag pole and three sections with brass plaques. One says U.S.S. JUNEAU and is bordered by two others inscribed with names of the crew who were lost.

INSCRIPTION: At the top of the plaque is an outline of the ship. Just below that is: LEST WE FORGET

The naval Battle of Guadalcanal was as ferocious and decisive any battle of World War II. It was not won cheaply. The night action of Friday the thirteenth, November 1942 was the last day of life for eight ships and hundred of sailors including the U.S.S. Juneau CL52. Juneau was in the thick of the battle until an enemy torpedo knocked her out of action. Retiring from the battle, and enemy submarine took Juneau in her sights and at 11:01 another torpedo found its mark. This Cruiser disintegrated instantaneously and completely. All but 10 of her crew of 700 perished including the five Sullivan brothers.

The two other plaques, one on each side of the middle plaque, are inscribed with names of those who perished on the ship. Each plaque contains the following heading:

U.S.S. Juneau crew Nov. 13, 1942
7 posted on 06/19/2004 12:14:30 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: All

8 posted on 06/19/2004 12:22:13 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning Snippy.

9 posted on 06/19/2004 2:18:50 AM PDT by Aeronaut (I think I'll just go lie by my dish and whimper.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Foxhole.

We're entertaining guests. My sister and her two kids from the city are coming down. Her son is participating in a tennis tournament.

10 posted on 06/19/2004 3:06:33 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: snippy_about_it

Off to work Bump for the ol Foxhole.

Last day for the yard sale, weather guessers are saying partly cloudy and about 73degrees. YIPPEEE

Y'all have a good day now, ya here


alfa6 ;>}

11 posted on 06/19/2004 3:56:50 AM PDT by alfa6 (Mrs. Murphy's Postulate on Murphy's Law: Murphy Was an Optimist)
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To: snippy_about_it


12 posted on 06/19/2004 5:23:04 AM PDT by Samwise (I posted this tagline "because I could.")
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To: Aeronaut

Good Morning Aeronaut.

13 posted on 06/19/2004 5:57:52 AM PDT by SAMWolf (I've had fun before. This isn't it.)
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To: E.G.C.

Good Morning E.G.C.

My mom and other two sisters are coming in for a week visit. This will be the first time all the "kids" are together in about 6 years.

14 posted on 06/19/2004 5:59:19 AM PDT by SAMWolf (I've had fun before. This isn't it.)
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To: SAMWolf

Hey Sam.

15 posted on 06/19/2004 6:01:09 AM PDT by Aeronaut (I think I'll just go lie by my dish and whimper.)
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To: alfa6
Last day for the yard sale

Good luck, hope the weather holds out for you.

16 posted on 06/19/2004 6:05:51 AM PDT by SAMWolf (I've had fun before. This isn't it.)
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To: Samwise

Morning Samwise.

17 posted on 06/19/2004 6:06:13 AM PDT by SAMWolf (I've had fun before. This isn't it.)
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To: snippy_about_it
I've went to that monument when I met USS JUNEAU (LPD-10) in Juneau, AK to ride it to Japan prior to our crew swap in 1999.

18 posted on 06/19/2004 6:14:11 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Professional Engineer; PhilDragoo; radu; All

Good morning everyone!

19 posted on 06/19/2004 6:17:33 AM PDT by Soaring Feather (~The Dragon Flies' Lair~ Poetry and Prose~)
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Morning Gator Navy.


20 posted on 06/19/2004 6:22:04 AM PDT by SAMWolf (I've had fun before. This isn't it.)
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