On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog



model of ship that Sullivans boys were on when it sank

george's hat


On my way to Sioux City I stopped in Waterloo to visit the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. The museum showcases the role Iowans played in the military from the Civil War to Afghanistan.

The most famous story is that of the hometown Sullivan Brothers - Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison, and George. Genevieve, their only sister, served in the WAVES. It was the death of her boyfriend at Pearl Harbor that spurred her brothers to join the Navy to avenge him. They signed up on the condition that they serve together on the same ship - they insisted on it. There were at least 30 sets of brothers serving on the Juneau at the same time as the Sullivans.

In one of the battles for Guadalcanal, the Juneau was hit by two torpedoes . The ship blew up and sank in seconds. Four of the Sullivans went down with the ship. George survived the blast but perished at sea waiting for rescue.

It is a myth that the rules were changed after the loss of the Sullivan brothers so that family members cannot serve on the same ship. It is discouraged but there is no such regulation.

Two ships have been christened "The Sullivans" - one in 1943 and one in 1997. It is the only time the Navy used a plural name.

P.S. The car drives beautifully. It is so good to be on my way - with windows UP!

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