Remembering 5 Sullivan Brothers 75 years later - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Remembering 5 Sullivan Brothers 75 years later

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

One Waterloo family made a supreme sacrifice 75 years ago today. On November 13, 1942 the Five Sullivan Brothers were serving on the USS Juneau when a Japanese submarine fired a torpedo into the ship.

All five died brothers died in the accident, George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert. This was the single greatest combat loss experienced by any family in American history. The story of the Five Sullivan Brothers is part of our nation's history and such a big part of Waterloo's. The city will never forget the brothers and their service and sacrifice.

Even after decades, what happened to the brothers is still talked about everyday and is a prominent part of Waterloo.

"Most of the brothers were down below the deck and that part of the ship was destroyed almost instantaneously," said Bob Neymeyer, Grout Museum Historian. "Of the 700 men on the ship, 10 survived and none of the Sullivan's survived that accident."

When the brothers enlisted during World War II they insisted they be allowed to serve together and that is something their family will always remember. 

"I mean they stuck together," said John Sullivan, Albert Sullivan's grandson. "They were the epitome of teamwork and the epitome of a team and you know they cared about each other more than they cared about themselves, so that's really how I'll always remember them."

There are many places across Waterloo that remind us of the Five Sullivan Brothers, including Sullivan Park.

"It is an important part of Waterloo history and whether it's the Sullivan Brothers Convention Center or whether it's the park on Fourth Street or whether it's the house next to the park it's important that we remember those stories...without them we don't know what service or what sacrifice means," said Neymeyer. 

History says George Sullivan spoke for the five brothers when they enlisted saying, "we want to go in together...worst comes to worst we'll have all gone down together."

This weekend a commemoration for the brothers will be held in Waterloo. For more information on that event CLICK HERE. 

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