UPDATE: Worker from Sullivan Brothers Museum reacts to wreckage of Sullivans' USS Juneau being found

An expedition funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen found wreckage of the USS Juneau on...
An expedition funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen found wreckage of the USS Juneau on March 17, 2018. The five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo died when the ship sank during the Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942. (Courtesy: Paul G. Allen)(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 19, 2018 at 8:56 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

The video of the recovery of the USS Juneau video is staying on loop at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. It's the ship the museum's namesake were on when it sank during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942.

The museum is a one stop shop in Waterloo, where people can come to checkout Sullivan Brothers memorabilia.

"For the remainder of the week, we are going to provide half off admission here at our Sullivan Brothers Iowa Museum Building," said Christy Decker.

Decker said they are expecting a lot of people to stop by, intrigued by the discovery, and wanting to know more about the five brothers and the incident.

"It was gut-wrenching, you know, news to their mother, their father, their sister, their surviving family and friends. And it was something the community felt hard, and really never forgot," Decker said.

Last November hundreds of people came to the museum for the 75th anniversary of the Juneau sinking. Decker hopes this discovery can help bring the community, and family members some closure.

"You think of the families of the men who went down with the ship. You think of their wives, their children that are surely surviving. That maybe never knew them," said Decker.

Museum officials say they probably won't get a piece of the ship, because the ship remains will likely go untouched as a final resting place.

_______________

ORIGINAL STORY:

A research team funded by billionaire Paul Allen has found the wreckage of the USS Juneau, the ship Waterloo's five Sullivan brothers were on when it sank during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942.

A Japanese torpedo sank the Juneau, killing 687 crew members, including the Sullivans. The brothers had joined the Navy in early 1942 and asked to serve together.

According to Allen's website, the crew of the Research Vessel Petrel found the wreckage on St. Patrick's Day nearly three miles below the surface, resting on the floor of the South Pacific off the coast of the Solomon Islands. (See video of the wreck from the R/V Petrel below.)

The Juneau sank on November 13, 1942 in only about 30 seconds. Due to the risk of further Japanese attacks, the American task force did not stay to check for survivors. When rescue efforts began eight days later, only 10 men had survived.

The Sullivan family lost sons George, Francis, Joseph, Madison, and Albert. The Irish-American family's story inspired the 1944 movie "The Fighting Sullivans."

The Sullivan family's loss touched the nation. The brothers' deaths "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," according to Navy History and Heritage Command.

"It also drove home for families all over the country the loss that they would be experiencing for years to come," said Billie Bailey of the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. The museum aims to preserve the memory of the brothers, and their families' immense sacrifice.

The Navy has named two destroyers in honor of the Sullivan brothers.

Allen-led expeditions have also discovered wreckage of the USS Lexington, USS Indianapolis, USS Ward, and USS Astoria.