USS Juneau, WWII Warship That Sank with 700 Onboard Including the 5 Sullivan Brothers, Found
A team funded by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, discovered the wreckage of the USS Juneau, a military vessel that was sunk by a Japanese torpedo in November 1942. Of her crew, only 10 men survived. The nearly 700 others, including five brothers all serving together, are believed to have perished.
According to a statement on Allen’s website, as reported by USA Today, the wreckage was found near the coast of the Solomon Islands, which are located in the South Pacific, approximately 2.6 miles beneath the surface of the water.
He stated that the exploration ship, named the R/V Petrel, used sonar to first identify the vessel on March 17. The following day, they used a remotely operated underwater vehicle to confirm their findings.
WWII ship USS Juneau located by #RVPetrel on St. Patrick’s Day—unexpected coincidence since she is best known for the Sullivans, all 5 brothers were lost, along with the other 682 sailors. Only 10 survived the sinking by Japanese torpedoes. https://t.co/FOkRwR6FXc pic.twitter.com/1PZjNP1uHd
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) March 19, 2018
Previous expeditions led by Allen have also located other lost WWII vessels, including the USS Indianapolis and the USS Lexington.
The USS Juneau became infamous because all five Sullivan brothers – George, 27; Francis, 25; Joseph, 23; Madison, 22; and Albert, 19 – from Waterloo, Iowa, were serving together on the ship, and did not survive the sinking of the vessel.
According to witness statements, as reported by the Des Moines Register, three died instantly, one drowned on the second day, and the last, who was seriously injured, perished four or five days after the attack.
Although Navy policy said that the brothers should have been separated, they enlisted on January 3, 1942, under the condition that they could remain together.
They were the only sons of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan, and only brothers to Genevieve Sullivan, Thomas and Alleta’s only daughter.
The brothers’ passing on the USS Juneau is even referenced in the film Saving Private Ryan, used as an explanation as to why brothers are separated in war zones.