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U.S.S. The Sullivans DD - 537

History

The U.S.S. The Sullivans is the first and only U.S. Destroyer to bear such a unique multiple name.  The ship was named for the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, who were killed in action when the cruiser U.S.S. Juneau went down fighting the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942.  The Navy was quick to honor the sprit of the five Sullivans.  On April 4, 1943, The Sullivans, built by Bethlehem Steel Corporation and sponsored by the parents of the Guadalcanal heroes, was launched at San Francisco.

The record of The Sullivans lists nine Star engagements.  Beginning with the invasion of the Marshalls, The Sullivans participated in every major phase of the invasion of the Pacific campaign through the bloody battle of Okinawa.  She was one of the leading escorts in the Pacific raids on Truk and the Marianas in February 1944.  During the spring of the year, the destroyer was active in the Western New Guinea Operations.  The Sullivans fought her was through the Marianas and Carolina Islands campaigns.  She was on hand for the recapture of the Phillipines, both at Leyte and Luzon, and her crew wore the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two stars.  The Sullivans was with the carriers when Admiral Halsey led the China Sea Sweep.

During her 18 months in the Pacific, in which the destroyer was continually "on the go", The Sullivans was credited in assisting in the sinking of one Japanese cruiser during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  Alone, the ship accounted for eight enemy planes shot down; five more destroyed on the ground.  The Sullivans assisted in knocking eight planes out of the air, and probably destroyed an additional eight planes on the ground.

On January 10, 1946, U.S.S. The Sullivans joined many of her sister ships when they were decommissioned and placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet for the future duty when needed.  It was in May of 1951, almost a year after the invasion of South Korea and the action by the United Nations began, that the peaceful sleep of the U.S.S. The Sullivans was ended, and she was prepared to resume her status as a warship of the active United States Fleet.

On July 6, 1951, the ship was officially put on active duty.  After replenishment, U.S.S. The Sullivans steamed south from San Francisco, through the Panama Canal, to Newport, Rhode Island, where she officially became a member of the Destroyer Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

After operational duty along the Atlantic Coast during the winter of 1951-1952, U.S.S. The Sullivans was prepared for the United Nations action in Korea; and in September 1952, sailed from Newport, Rhode Island.  The U.S.S. The Sullivans official tour of duty under the Commander Naval Forces, Far East, began on October 11, 1952 after a 35 day voyage via the Panama Canal.

After two days in port to replenish, U.S.S. The Sullivans sailed for the east coast of Korea.  The ship joined a fast carrier task force, operating with them until the 20th of October, as a part of the protective screen for the aircraft carriers.

While with the fast carriers on a second trip, U.S.S. The Sullivans was part of the group that made the northermost stab along the North Korean coast and approach within  75 miles of Vladivostok, where the force was attacked by communist and MIG-type jet fighter planes.  The combat air patrol shot down two of the attackers and a probable third at a distance of 40 miles from the Task Force.  This was the first at sea engagement between the Navy jets and Korean MIG's.

On the fifth of December, the ship returned to Sasebo, Japan where she was outfitted for her future duty with the United Nations Blockade and Escort Forces, which would bring her into direct contact with the enemy.  Ten days later, she again sailed north for Korea.  It was only two days after leaving Sasebo that U.S.S. The Sullivans made her first individual strike at the enemy as she bombarded trains in the next few days the ship's gunfire was responsible for preventing the rebuilding of the railroad tracks and buildings by the destruction of railroad flat cars and storage depots.

On Christmas Day, after scoring direct hits on a railroad bridge, the U.S.S The Sullivans was taken under fire by three Communist shore batteries.  Although more than 50 rounds were fired at the ship and the decks pelted with shrapnel, no damage was sustained.  Counter-battery fire was believed to have silenced one Communist shore battery.

With only a few days remaining in January 1952, U.S.S The Sullivans sailed south from Japan to Okinawa; leaving there early in February, the ship and her crew began the long journey home.  After stopping in Hong Kong, U.S.S. The Sullivans sailed to Subic Bay in the Philippines, then to Singapore, across to Colombo, Ceylon, and up to Bombay.  After leaving bombay, the ship headed west and entered the Persian Gulf where a brief stop was made at Bahrein Island.  After traveling down the eastern coast of Arabia, the ship stopped at Aden Protectorate, and then turned northwest and up the Red Sea to the Suez Canal.  Only one day was needed to transit the waters of the canal, and the ship headed for Naples, Italy, and then Cannes, France.  A breif stop for fuel was made at Gibraltar before the long trip across the Atlantic Ocean and to Newport, arriving there on the 11th of April - the same port which the ship left 217 days previously.  During the globe circling cruise, and in combat off Korea, the U.S.S. The Sullivans had steamed 54,000 miles.

In the first "obvious" attempt to claim her title as "Flagship of America's Irish Fleet", U.S.S The Sullivans - with shamrock flying - steamed into New York harbor on St. Patrick's Day, 1956, to help the nations number one dity celebrate the gala Irish Festivity.  An open house for Sullivans and O'Sullivans only was held on board, with more than 2,500 New Yorkers visiting the ship during a weekend snow storm.  They all claimed to be members of the Sullivan Clan, but intelligence sources estimated that some 600 Kelleys, O'Briens, Lubotsky's and Rosenbergs were among the crowd.

Since returning from the Korean action in 1952, the U.S.S The Sullivans has made a trip to the Mediterranean to operate with the Sixth Fleet at least once every year.  In 1957 U.S.S The Sullivans made her was directly to the troubled Mid-East area after sailing on a 48 hour alert.  In transiting the Suez Canal she was the first American warship to do so since assumption of control by the Egyptian government.  During the stay in the Red Sea area, the ship visited Massawa, Eritrea and Aden Protectorate.

During the summer of 1958, U.S.S The Sullivans was again at the right place at the right time when along with one other destroyer, she supported the initial landing in Beirut, Lebanon, giving the marines the protection of her guns as they landed on the beach.

Upon returning to the United States after the Lebanon crisis, U.S.S The Sullivans received a three-month Navy Yard overhaul, followed by Refresher Training in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Returning to Newport in March 1959, U.S.S The Sullivans commenced operations as part of a Hunter-Killer Group operating with U.S.S Lake Champlain.

In June, U.S.S. The Sullivans departed for the Mediterranean on a Midshipman Cruise combined with ASW operations.  U.S.S The Sullivans spent the last three months of 1959,  in ASW exercises off the coast of the U.S., spending Christmas at sea as part of the Ready ASW Group.  January and March of 1960 were spent in local operations out of Newport with time out in February for a three week overhaul in Boston Naval Shipyard.

April through July saw U.S.S The Sullivans in key West working with  ASROC evaluation teams.  In the initial trip to Florida, U.S.S The Sullivans participated in the rescue of five survivors of an Air Force KC-97 tanker aircraft which crashed near Cape Canaveral.

In September, U.S.S The Sullivans participated in NATO fall Excercises during which she crossed the Artic Circle.  Following Fallex, U.S.S The Sullivans visited Lisbon, Portugal prior to a quick trip through the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, Red Sea and northern portion of the Indian Ocean to Karachi, West Pakistan.

In late October and November, U.S.S. The Sullivans, with Desron 20 and U.S.S Essex, participated in MIDLINK III, an operation with the Pakistanian, Iranian and British Navies.  U.S.S The Sullivans returned through the Mediterranean in late November and participated in exercises with the French Navy, and units of the Sixth Fleet.  U.S.S The Sullivans steamed across the Atlantic to arrive home in time for Christmas.  The first part of 1961 was spent in upkeep, ASW exercises, and in Amphibius exercises in the Carribean.  In April, U.S.S. The Sullivans proceeded to southern waters for Project Mercury recovery practice and on May 6th was on station and ready to recover the Astronaut on his historic first flight.  In July and August she departed on a Midshipman Cruise along the eastern coast of the United States, visiting Halifax, Novia Scotia.  Upon returning to Newport, she received a three month overhaul in Boston Naval Shipyard during the months of September through December.

Mindful of her great wartime record and aware of the great name she carries, U.S.S The Sullivans is a living, floating proof that the Navy will be continually prepared to meet any living threat which might again bring tragedy to the homes and families of this or any other Nation.

From January to April 1962 -  on refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  May - training cruise in Caribean with destroyer school officers students.  October, November and December - operating with Cuban Blockade Force.  Currently - participating in search for submarine Thresher.

Author -  Unknown