WATERLOO — Saturday’s discovery of the wreckage of the USS Juneau, on which Waterloo’s 5 Sullivan brothers served and perished with practically 700 shipmates throughout World War II, was an emotional, bittersweet expertise for the fallen sailors’ descendants.
“There’s over 700 Navy households affected by this and my coronary heart goes out to all these individuals,” stated Kelly Sullivan, granddaughter of Albert Sullivan and grandniece of George, Francis, Joseph and Madison Sullivan, who all died after the Juneau was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sunk on Nov. 13, 1942.
“For me, it is like discovering my grandfather’s grave,” stated Knute Swensen of Huntington Beach, Calif., the grandson of the Juneau’s commanding officer, Capt. Lyman Okay. Swenson, additionally among the many Juneau useless.
The crew of the Research Vessel Petrel, on an expedition financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, discovered the Juneau’s wreck on the backside of “Ironbottom Sound” off Guadalcanal in the Solomons on St. Patrick’s Day.
In an audio accompanying a video of the wreckage, Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for the expedition, famous it was acceptable the Juneau’s stays had been found on St. Patrick’s Day, given the Sullivan brothers’ Irish heritage.
“The luck of the Irish was with them,” Kelly Sullivan stated, echoing a want she made for the USS The Sullivans, the present Navy destroyer named for her grandfather and nice uncles, when she christened the ship in Bath, Maine, in 1995. She is the official Navy sponsor of that ship.
This wknd Paul Allen’s group discovered wreckage of WW2 USS Juneau in Pacific Ocean In 1942 this ship was sunk by Japanese torpedo carrying the 5 Sullivan brothers of Waterloo These Iowa heroes + hundred of others misplaced their life on that ship defending our nation Shld not b forgotten
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) March 20, 2018
The crew of the Petrel despatched a message to The Courier, which stated: “Our group is comprised of skilled subsea operators and engineers with years of expertise in the business who’re really humbled with the chance to honor our fallen servicemen and supply some closure to their households.”
The crew credited Allen with making the expedition potential.
Ironically, Kelly Sullivan was on the USS The Sullivans on St. Patrick’s Day at its house port of Mayport, Fla., attending a retirement celebration for one of its former commanding officers.
“When this discovery occurred, I used to be sitting on the fantail of the Sullivans…It’s unbelievable,” Sullivan stated.
On her return journey house Sunday, she heard phrase of the invention from U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Rich Brown, commander of Navy floor forces and a former commanding officer of the USS The Sullivans. Brown was in Waterloo final November for a seventy fifth anniversary commemoration of the Juneau’s sinking. On Monday, Knute Swensen contacted her.
“It’s bittersweet, this sense,” Sullivan stated. “There’s closure. It additionally opens a wound.”
She stated her father, Albert’s son, Jim Sullivan, reacted with shock and had comparable emotions.
“My first thought was my prayers for all of the Juneau households, not simply the Sullivan brothers,” Kelly Sullivan stated, and all veterans and their households. She stated her great-grandmother, Alleta Sullivan, by no means actually had closure because her sons’ our bodies had been by no means recovered and held out hope they could have survived.
Swensen stated he watched the Petrel’s undersea video in amazement because the crew made out the Juneaus title inscribed throughout the fantail.
“Seeing that video gave me chills,” he stated.
He additionally thought of his father, U.S. Navy Cmdr Robert Swensen, who handed away in April 2016 at age 93 and was very near his father, the Juneau commander. Knute’s grandfather’s surname was misspelled as “Swenson” by a workers member on the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., and he by no means had it corrected. It was at Annapolis, when Robert was a cadet, that the Juneau commander and his son had their final assembly.
In an audio accompanying the video, Kraft of the Petrel expedition notes the ship’s bow and stern had been discovered comparatively shut to one another however the ship’s particles was scattered over a mile on the ocean flooring — a sign of the devastating explosion which sunk her.
Most of the sailors had been killed in the course of the precise sinking; greater than 100 died at sea in the times that adopted from wounds, publicity or shark assaults, together with George Sullivan, the oldest of the brothers. Ten sailors survived the precise sinking plus a four-person medical crew despatched to the USS San Francisco to are inclined to wounded there previous to the assault.
Swensen hopes the Juneau crew’s valor can be remembered. The ship earned a number of battles stars for the engagements in which it fought — together with one the night time earlier than its sinking, when it and different outgunned American ships turned again a Japanese process pressure headed for embattled U.S troops at Guadalcanal.
Sullivan praised Paul Allen’s ardour for pursuing the expedition — a lesson she used it for example for her third-graders at Lincoln Elementary School in Cedar Falls.
“I actually admire Mr. Allen and his crew for having the religion to do that,” she stated, and inspired her college students to pursue their passions as effectively.
Both had been in New York this previous November on the seventy fifth anniversary commemoration of the Juneau’s sinking on the similar Staten Island pier the place the ship was commissioned into the Navy in 1997. That ceremony was throughout New York harbor from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the place the Juneau was commissioned into the Navy and sailed out of the harbor, by no means to return.
She hopes the USS The Sullivans can sail to the Juneau’s closing resting place on a future mission, with some of its sailors surviving members of the family.