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Friday, November 10, 2017

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Eugene Holmes

U.S. Marine Corps 1946-1951 Happy Veterans Day, Dad!! Thank you for your service!! Love you!!

Roger Campagna

Iowa Army National Guard 1938-1945 Captured 1942 by Italians at Fiad Pass, Tunesia POW 867 days at Fuerstenberg, Brandenburg, Prussia Nieces & Nephews: Ronnie USN (deceased), Bonnie, Ed USAF, Barb, Nancy, Marlene, Karen, Mary, Collett.

Gary Curtis Foss

Thank you for your service. You make us proud! Love, Tara, Aaron, Preston, Cameron and Reese

Royce Campbell

USMC Semper Fi Korean Conflict Beloved husband to Shirley & a great father to Randy, Mark, Deanna, Todd & Eric. Love & miss you

Charles Stewart Foss

The late Charlie Foss went to England on December 16, 1943 and landed in France on D-Day. He served until October 9, 1945 and was honorably discharged with medals of Honor. He received the Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and a Bronze Service Arrowhead. He served in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe. Thank for your service. Love, Tara Foss Seible

Ryan Anthony Foss

Thank you for your service to your great country, bro! Love, Tara, Aaron, Preston, Cameron and Reese

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James Mather - Byron Mather Jr. - Byron “Curt” Mather Sr.

WWII | U.S. Navy | USS Prichett 1942-1946 With respect, honor and gratitude. Thank you Dad and thank you veterans! Jay & Candy Nardini

PFC Emerson Anderson

L. Cpl. Jeffrey L. Wilson

S. Sgt. Robert E. Wilson

Cpl. Todd A. Wilson

WWII 1942-1945

U.S. Army WWII

Paul Aschbrenner

Pearl Harbor survivor of the USS Oklahoma. Always honored our country and flag. Loved to share his story about the attack on Pearl Harbor and his knowing the Lord Jesus. 00 1

Herbert G. Kane

The Mather family received the 2017 Sullivan Brothers Outstanding Military Family Award for having seven members/four generations serve in three military branches between 1861 and 2006. Congratulations and thank you!

U.S. Marine Corps KIA March 6, 1970

U.S. Marine Corps Military Police

Lyle E. Butikofer

Enlisted in Navy and Naval Reserves in 1948; on active duty 1948 & 1949 aboard Aircraft Carrier USS Bairoko CVE-115 in South Pacific; in active reserves 1949 through 1955.

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Clay Pilcher

George Langham

Happy Veterans Day to my son who’s made me so very proud over the years. Thanks for making your dad proud - I love you! Semper Fi!!

We were and still are so very proud of you as a Veteran, a husband, a father & a grandfather. We love & miss you. Your Family

Cpl. Jack Ramsey

Charles F. Plaehn

Corporal Jack Ramsey - In honor of Veterans Day, we’re taking to West “BY GOD” Virginia for a lunch of rice and fruit cocktail! Love you, POP!

WWII - Philippines We honor your service and your dedication as the best dad ever. Love, Janeen Danielsen, Julie Knaack, Janell Ramsey and families.

John D. Timm

Troy A. Timm

U.S. Marines 2004-2012 Proud to be an American

U.S. Navy 1985-1989 Proud to be an American

Terry D. Timm

John A. Timm

U.S. Navy 1982-2002 Proud to be an American

U.S. Navy 1954-1957 Proud to be an American

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2nd Lt. William Pugh

2nd Lt. Kate Worthington Pugh

Midshipman Elizabeth “Edie” Worthington

U.S. Air Force, Cyber U.S. Air Force, Nurse Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, OK Kessler AFB, Biloxi, MS U.S. Air Force Academy 2016 Coe College/USAF ROTC/U of Iowa 2016 So Very Proud of You! Love, Mom & Dad

Iowa State University / U.S. Naval ROTC 2021 Industrial Engineering United States Naval Sea Cadets DAR Medal for Citizenship 2017 So Very Proud of You! Love, Mom & Dad

1st Lt. Wayne R. Worthington Jr.

Cadet John “Jack” Worthington

U.S. Marines Infantry, XO Camp Lejeune, North Carolina U.S. Naval Academy 2014 U.S. Marines Achievement Medal 2017 So Very Proud of You! Love, Mom & Dad

U.S. Military Academy at West Point 2019 Mechanical Engineering West Point Combat Weapons Team So Very Proud of You! Love, Mom & Dad

Lloyd Edward Faulkner

Dan Hanson

12/12/47 - 12/24/15 Served in Vietnam and Desert Storm 3 Purple Hearts, USMC and Iowa National Guard We will always love and miss you. Your wife, children and grandchildren

Loren McEnany

Loren was in the Marines and the Army. He was stationed in Korea, Ft. Sheridan, Illinios, Mannheim, Germany, Big Red One, Kansas, serving 10 years. Thanks for your service.

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Served two tours of duty as a radioman in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, and continued to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserves post-war. Dan was one of the principal members who founded the Black Hawk County Vietnam Veterans Memorial located in Waterloo.

Robert Lee Drew

Robert entered the Army in May of 1951 and went to Korea. Discharged in May of 1953. He had wife, Joan, and one-yearold daughter, Bobbi, at home.

Gerhard Luebbers

Thank you, “Grandpa Pow”, for your service. Love, from your family

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The five Sullivan brothers — from left, Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George — before the USS Juneau left New York in 1942.

Brothers in arms Remembering the five Sullivan brothers, 75 years later



ATERLOO — Maybe they were brash. Maybe they were foolhardy. Maybe they were just five more victims in a war with hundreds of millions of victims. But maybe, George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert Sullivan were heroes as well.

Heroic enough for not one, but two U.S. Navy destroyers to bear their name. Heroic enough to inspire legendary film director Steven Speilberg to create a 1998 Academy Award-winning movie, “Saving Private Ryan,” and acknowledge their sacrifice when accepting an Oscar for best director. Heroic enough for their hometown library, museum and newspaper to receive inquiries from around the country and around

the world. In short, heroic enough to be remembered 75 years after a torpedo slammed into the magazine of the USS Juneau in the South Pacific, taking all five Sullivans and nearly all their 700 shipmates — and tragic enough for their lone offspring to lament not only over the loss of his Please see SULLIVANS, Page D8

Living legacy PAT KINNEY‌

‌WATERLOO – You don’t need to tell any member of the Sullivan family that life is to be cherished. The surviving family members and descendants of George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert Sullivan know that so well. It’s a lesson they have lived with. It’s a lesson passed down over the past 75

Family still grieves, reflects on memories, lessons

years, since the five brothers perished together in World War II when their ship, the USS Juneau, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sunk during World War II. Jim Sullivan, 76, is the son of Albert Sullvan, the youngest of the brothers and the only one who married. Jim was a year and a half old when his father and uncles died. He Please see LEGACY, Page D8

The surviving local family members and descendants of Waterloo’s five Sullivan brothers killed during World War II stand in front of statues of the brothers at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum in Waterloo in October. Pictured in front, from left, are Jim Sullivan, son of Albert Sullivan, youngest of the brothers; and Jim’s daughter Kelly Sullivan; and back row, from left, Murray and Tom Davidson, sons of Genevieve Sullivan Davidson, the sister of the five brothers. BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

The Gold Stars

Explore more on the Sullivans

Gold Star flags/banners were first flown by families during World War I. The flag included a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces of the United States, during any period of war or hostilities in which the armed forces were engaged. If that loved one died, the blue star was replaced by a gold star. This allowed members of the community to know the price the family had paid in the cause of freedom.

‌Visit for an online gallery featuring:

Source: U.S. Army 00 1

„„ Declassified U.S. Navy documents, including the official battle report

of the sinking of the USS Juneau, the official survivor report and more

„„ Archived historic Courier news articles and front pages about the

Sullivan family

„„ Additional historic photos





The sinking of the USS Juneau Battle of Guadalcanal SHIPWRECKS Enemy ships U.S. ships


Iron Bottom Sound

This is the location where the USS Juneau, on which Waterloo's five Sullivan brothers served, was struck by a Japanese torpedo and sunk on Nov. 13, 1942, as the Juneau and other battle-damaged American ships were returning from the naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The Juneau, already damaged in the overnight battle, took a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-26 intended for the USS San Francisco. The torpedo struck a main magazine and the Juneau exploded amidships and sank in seconds.


INDONESIA The naval Battle of Guadalcanal was a fierce, nighttime ship-to ship battle in which the outgunned American ships surprised and turned back a "Tokyo Express" Japanese invasion task force headed for the island of Guadalcanal to attack embattled U.S. troops there.


Solomon Islands Battle of Guadacanal


GUADALCANAL©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

The USS Juneau

DECLASSIFIED A U.S. Navy account of the sinking of the USS Juneau


I saw the spot where the Juneau had been. The only thing visible was tremendous clouds of grey and black smoke. ... The men told me that the Juneau appeared to explode instantaneously and appeared to break in two, both segments of which sunk in 20 seconds ... The signalman on the bridge of the Helena was in the process of taking a message from the Juneau and had his glass trained on the signalman of that ship and reports that the signalman was blown at least 30 feet in the air. — Declassified report from Lt. Roger O’Neil, a medical officer of the USS Juneau, from the deck of the USS San Francisco, November 1942 Hours before the USS Juneau was torpedoed and sunk on Nov. 13, 1942, it and other outgunned American ships had emerged damaged but victorious from a pivotal naval battle of World War II. It was the naval Battle of Guadalcanal, in which the Juneau and other ships turned back a “Tokyo Express” Japanese task force headed straight for embattled Marines and sailors in the months-long struggle for control of the island of Guadalcanal, in the Solomons northwest of Australia. The following account of the loss of the USS Juneau is from the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. In early November 1942, as the struggle for control of Guadalcanal remained undecided, both the Allies and the Japanese were desperately trying to reinforce the island with troops, food and ammunition while trying to prevent the other side from doing the


U.S. Navy Capt. Lyman K. Swenson, commander of the USS Juneau on which Waterloo’s five Sullivans served, is shown here while the ship was ashore at Fox Harbor, Newfoundland, Canada, in June 1942. He, the Sullivans and most of the crew died after the Juneau was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine in the naval Battle of Guadalcanal Nov. 13, 1942. same. Although two American convoys arrived safely on Nov. 11 and 12, they had only partially unloaded their cargoes when intercepted Japanese messages and reconnaissance reports indicated strong Japanese naval forces were approaching the island on a shore bombardment mission. As the American transports

steamed eastwards for safety, an American force of five cruisers and eight destroyers, under command of Rear Adm. Daniel J. Callaghan, took up station in the strait between Guadalcanal and Florida Island, called “Ironbottom Sound” owing to the many sunken ships littering the sea floor from the naval battles.

After midnight on Nov. 13, a Japanese formation of two battleships, a light cruiser and 11 destroyers steamed past Savo Island, heading toward Guadalcanal. At 1:24 a.m., these warships appeared on American radar and the two forces closed rapidly. Poor radar coordination, however, left the American warships vainly try-

ing to pin down the location of the Japanese warships. The leading destroyers of both forces sighted each other briefly in the darkness and at 1:45 a.m. the USS Juneau received the order, “Stand by to open fire.” A few minutes later, just after a Japanese searchlight flicked on, the lead American destroyers opened fire at the Japanese warships at a mere 1,600 yards. The Japanese replied in kind and the two formations quickly mingled together, firing into each other at point-blank range in the glare-lit darkness. Within minutes, the Japanese destroyer Akatsuki and the American cruiser USS Atlanta lay dead in the water, victims of shell and torpedo hits. Meanwhile, the two Japanese battleships, worried that American torpedo-armed destroyers were too close for comfort, tried to turn away. Still, the four American destroyers in lead fired guns and torpedoes at Hiei, the nearest Japanese battleship, damaging her superstructure with numerous shell hits. Two of the American destroyers, USS Cushing and USS Laffey, were mortally wounded after a brief fire fight, with Laffey exploding and sinking shortly thereafter. The engagement turned against the American task force when three Japanese destroyers conducted a torpedo attack from the northern flank. Torpedo hits damaged cruiser USS Portland and sank destroyer USS Barton. Gunfire from those and other Japanese warships turned USS Monssen into a smoking wreck and damaged both cruiser USS Please see SINKING, Page D3

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Ordeal at sea

Survivors recall cataclysmic explosion, horrors that followed PAT KINNEY‌

‌ urvivors of the sinking of the S USS Juneau, in interviews with the Courier over the years, recalled the cataclysmic explosion from the Japanese torpedo that took the ship, as well as the horrific ordeal at sea in the days that followed. Though all of the survivors are now deceased, the following accounts to the Courier illustrated the devastating realities of the war. “It blew up right in my face,” said USS Juneau survivor Frank Holmgren, who was stationed at the ship’s fantail. “My hand landed on a life jacket. I sort of pulled it on me ... the ship was going down ... the fantail was at a 45-degree angle. I said ‘Oh my God, I’m gonna die; oh my God, I’m gonna die.’ Then I was gone.” Holmgren blacked out. The next thing he remembered was shooting to the surface like a cork, buoyed by his life jacket. “It was a tremendous explosion,” said Lester Zook, a signalman who later became a career Navy officer. The ship sank before he could take a breath. “I was in water waist deep. My battle tower was 40 feet above the water line.” A “surge of water” rushed over him. “Then the ship went down. The suction took me down with the ship until I could separate myself from the suction stream, and finally feel the pressure in my ears lifting. I start swimming upward again.” When Zook surfaced, “there was 4 to 6 inches of oil on the water,” he said. “I couldn’t see anything, but people on the life raft saw me and said, ‘Swim over here,’ and I paddled over there. The water was too oily to swim hand over hand.” Holmgren said he and other sailors had cut loose a stack of life rafts on the fantail some time prior to the sinking, so they wouldn’t have to cut them loose in a hurry if the ship got in trouble. The sailors used still-dry centers from roll after roll of toilet paper floating on the surface to wipe the oil out of each others’ eyes. Zook recalls George Sullivan on the same life raft as him, calling out for his brothers, to no avail. Another survivor, Art Friend, recalled seeing an injured Red and Al after the sinking as well among the

USS Juneau CL-52 survivors These sailors were on board the USS Juneau the morning of Nov. 13, 1942, and survived the actual sinking: „„ Wyart Bertram Butterfield „„ Victor James Fitzgerald „„ Arthur Theodore Friend „„ Henry Jordan Gardner „„ Joseph Patrick F. Hartney „„ Allen Clifton Heyn „„ Frank Alfred Holmgren „„ George Ilmari Mantere „„ Charles Nathaniel Wang „„ Lester Eugene Zook

Four Juneau shipmates were part of a medical crew sent to the USS San Francisco to tend to wounded there just before the Juneau’s sinking: „„ Orrel Glenn Cecil „„ Theodore Donald Merchant „„ Roger William O’Neil „„ William Turner Sims

“(The torpedo) blew up right in my face. My hand landed on a life jacket. I sort of pulled it on me ... the ship was going down ... the fantail was at a 45-degree angle. I said ‘Oh my God, I’m gonna die; oh my God, I’m gonna die.’ Then I was gone.” Frank Holmgren, USS Juneau survivor oil-covered sailors, but according to most survivor accounts, only George survived the actual sinking. Only a handful survived the ordeal at sea in the days that followed, dying of wounds, exposure or sharks. Some sailors would get delirious, fight with each other or hallucinate. Some who couldn’t stand their pain or were delirious would swim out beyond the life rafts, only to be taken by sharks. George Sullivan was one of them, according to survivor Al Heyn. Planes spotted the survivors


Frank Holmgren of Eatontown, N.J., shown here during the commissioning of the USS The Sullivans in New York harbor in April 1997, was the last surviving shipmate of Waterloo’s five Sullivan brothers to survive the actual sinking of their ship, the USS Juneau, during World War II. He died in May 2009. In this photo he wept as The USS The Sullivans crew cheered him and now-deceased fellow Juneau survivor Lester Zook. Those remaining on the rafts thought they could see land and tried to row for it, but the water was too rough. Eventually the rafts became separated. The largest group of survivors were on Zook’s and Holmgren’s raft. A plane dropped a life jacket with some provisions and a note, which explained the situation and said “cheer up lads and sit tight.” The men on the raft paddled but couldn’t quite reach the jacket, and sailor Wyart Butterfield swam out to retrieve it, fighting off three sharks with a knife — a deed for which he would later be awarded the Bronze Star. The 10 survivors of the actual sinking plus the four-man mediLester Zook runs the semiphore flags aboard the new USS The Sullivans cal crew who helped wounded on during commissioning week in May 1997. the San Francisco were all that was on the third day and dropped an James Fitzgerald, headed for land left of the Juneau’s crew of 700. inflatable rubber raft. Three men, to try to get help. They landed at Lt. Joseph Wang, who was badly San Cristobal Island four days Survivor accounts reprinted from a wounded, Joseph Heartney and later. Nov. 12, 1992, Courier story.

‘Sullivan Rule’ an informal policy that never became law META HEMENWAY-FORBES

‌The Sullivan brothers, George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert, enlisted in the U.S. Navy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on the condition they be allowed to serve together. They served together aboard the USS Juneau, and all went down with the ship after it was torpedoed and

Sinking From D2

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San Francisco and destroyer USS Aaron Ward. In return, by the time the 15-minute battle ended, destroyer Yudachi was a burning hulk and battleship Hiei was left crippled, steering an erratic course to the northwest. By the following afternoon, owing to scuttling charges or damage, the Atlanta, the Cushing and the Monssen had all been sunk. Two Japanese ships soon joined them when Yudachi exploded under shell fire from Portland, and Hiei went under following bomb and torpedo hits delivered by Navy and Marine aircraft. The light cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52), on which the five Sullivan brothers were serving, suffered a different fate. Just a few minutes into the battle, the Juneau was hit by a Japanese torpedo on the port

sunk by a Japanese submarine. The five brothers’ deaths are considered the greatest combat-related loss of life by one family at one time in U.S. military history. The Juneau and the Sullivans earned four battle stars for engagements in which they were involved. While there’s been a policy against military family members

side near the forward fire room. The shock wave from the explosion buckled the deck, shattered the fire control computers and knocked out power. The cruiser limped away from the battle, down by the bow and struggling to maintain 18 knots. She rejoined the surviving American warships at dawn on Nov. 13 and zig-zagged to the southeast in company with two other cruisers and three destroyers. About 11 a.m., the task force crossed paths with Japanese submarine I-26. At 11:01 a.m., the submarine fired three torpedoes at USS San Francisco. None hit that cruiser, but one passed beyond and struck the Juneau on the port side very near the previous hit. The ensuing magazine explosion blew the light cruiser in half, killing most of the crew. A message from USS Helena to a nearby B-17 search plane reported that Juneau was lost at latitude 10 de-

serving together as the Sullivans did, it’s never been formally enacted as a law. According to the Department of Defense, the so-called “Sullivan Rule,” fully supported by the Sullivan family, was a good idea that never went anywhere. “Early in the 1950s, legislation was introduced to ensure that family members would not serve

in the same area of combat operations, however, this legislation was never passed,” according to a DOD memo. However, an informal version of the “Sullivan Rule” went into effect Jan. 17, 1991, the day then-President George H.W. Bush officially designated the Persian Gulf area as a combat zone. Under that policy, siblings could request

to serve in separate combat areas. At the start of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Jim Sullivan, son of Albert, traveled to Washington, D.C., backing Congressional legislation — the Sullivan Act — that would prevent other families from enduring the same calamity his family experienced. The bill faced opposition from the Pentagon. It was never passed.


The USS Juneau off New York City on June 1, 1942. grees South and longitude 161 degrees East and that survivors were in the water. Because of the risk of another submarine attack and because the sections of the Juneau sank in only a few minutes, the American task force did not stay to check for

survivors. However, approximately 115 of the Juneau’s crew survived the explosion. But, as the Helena’s message unfortunately did not reach command headquarters, and there remained uncertainty about the

number of Japanese ships in the area, rescue efforts did not begin for several days. Exposure, exhaustion and shark attacks whittled down the survivors and only 10 men were rescued from the water eight days after the sinking.

D4 | Friday, November 10, 2017



Genevieve Sullivan and her fiance, Murray Davidson, visit the wishing well at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago on Nov. 2, 1946, just before their nuptials at St. Ferdinand’s Church on Chicago’s northwest side.

Brothers’ deaths took toll on sister PAT KINNEY AND META HEMENWAY-FORBES COURTESY PHOTO‌

Alleta Sullivan wrote a letter to the Navy inquiring on the whereabouts of her five sons who were serving aboard the USS Juneau. She and her husband, Thomas, had heard rumors about town that the boys were missing.

Letter of uncertainty Alleta Sullivan inquires about her missing sons; President Roosevelt responds META HEMENWAY-FORBES

‌It was January 1943, and the last Alleta Sullivan had heard from her five sons was in a letter dated Nov. 8, 1942. The boys were serving aboard the USS Juneau off the Solomon islands. In a desperate plea to find her sons, the anxious mother wrote a letter to the Bureau of Naval Personnel “in regards to a rumor going around that my five sons were killed in action in November. ... It is all over town now, and I am so worried.”

A surviving shipmate, Nebraska native Lester Zook, wrote the family of the brothers’ demise before the family received official military notification. Upon learning the Sullivan brothers were missing in action, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a letter to Alleta and Thomas Sullivan, expressing his sympathies to the grieving family. “I realize full well there is little I can say to assuage your grief,” he wrote. “As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I want you to know that the entire nation

Waterloo, Iowa January 1943 Bureau of Naval Personnel Dear Sirs: I am writing you in regards to a rumor going around that my five sons were killed in action in November. A mother from here came and told me she got a letter from her son and he heard my five sons were killed. It is all over town now, and I am so worried. My five sons joined the Navy together a year ago, Jan. 3, 1942. They are on the Cruiser, U.S.S. JUNEAU. The last I heard from them was Nov. 8th. That is, it was dated Nov 8th, U.S. Navy. Their names are, George T., Francis Henry, Joseph E., Madison A., and Albert L. If it is so, please let me know the truth. I am to christen the U.S.S. TAWASA, Feb. 12th, at Portland, Oregon. If anything has happened to my five sons, I will still christen the ship as it was their wish that I do so. I hated to bother you, but it has worried me so that I wanted to know if it was true. So please tell me. It was hard to give five sons all at once to the Navy, but I am proud of my boys that they can serve and help protect their country. George and Francis served four years on the U.S.S. HOVEY, and I had the pleasure to go aboard their ship in 1937. I am so happy the Navy has bestowed the honor on me to christen the U.S.S. TAWASA. My husband an daughter are going to Portland with me. I remain, Sincerely, Mrs. Alleta Sullivan 98 Adams Street Waterloo, Iowa

shares in your sorrow. I offer you the condolences and gratitude of our country. We who remain to carry on the fight must maintain spirit, in the knowledge that such sacrifice is not in vain.” Alleta and Thomas would go on to ensure their boys’ ultimate sacrifices were not in vain through appearances across the country. In a Jan. 31, 1943, radio broadcast from New York, the grieving parents queried fellow citizens about their own sacrifices in the war effort, according to a Feb. 1,

1943, Courier story. “We’ve all got to get into this fight, every one of us,” Thomas said. “And we feel we have the right to ask, ‘What have YOU given to win this war?’” Alleta, during the 10-minute address, said their sons went into the Navy together and were lost together. “That was the way they wanted it to be,” and since it “was what the boys would have wanted,” she and “Dad” were trying to “keep our chin up, no matter how hard it is.”

My dear Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan: The knowledge that your five gallant sons are missing in action against the enemy inspires me to write you this personal message. I realize full well there is little I can say to assuage your grief. As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I want you to know that the entire nation shares in your sorrow. I offer you the condolences and gratitude of our country. We who remain to carry on the fight must maintain spirit, in the knowledge that such sacrifice is not in vain. The Navy Department has informed me of the expressed desire of your sons, George Thomas, Francis Henry, Joseph Eugene, Madison Abel, and Albert Leo, to serve in the same ship. I am sure that we all take heart in the knowledge that they fought side by side. As one of your sons wrote, “We will make a team together that can’t be beat.” It is this spirit which in the end must triumph. Last March you, Mrs. Sullivan, were designated to sponsor a ship of the Navy, in recognition of your patriotism and that of your sons. I understand that you are now even more determined to carry on as sponsor. This evidence of unselfishness and of courage serves as a real inspiration for me, as I am sure it will for all Americans. Such acts of faith and fortitude in the face of tragedy convince me of the indomitable spirit and will of our people. I send you my deepest sympathy in your hour of trial and pray that in Almighty God you will find the comfort and help that only He can bring. Very sincerely yours, (Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt

Courier Staff Writers‌

‌When official word arrived of her brothers’ deaths in the November 1942 sinking of the USS Juneau, Genevieve Sullivan went from one of six siblings to instant only child. She would become a grieving caretaker, sailor, wife and mother, without the support of brotherly love. Her grandniece, Kelly Sullivan, said it was a heavy cross to bear. “I think one thing that a lot of people don’t think about is how it affected your mom,” Kelly Sullivan said to Genevieve’s sons, Murray and Tom Davidson, during a recent Courier interview at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum in Waterloo. “She’s the sole child. She’s there to take care of the grieving parents. I think that it really took a toll on Genevieve.” Murray and Tom, 68 and 70, respectively, live in Waterloo. Their mother died of cancer in 1975. Murray recalls how his mother took on the burdens of caring for her aging parents, Alleta and Thomas Sullivan, while raising a family of her own. “Mom was like 5-foot-2. She weighed like 120 pounds when the boys got killed,” he said.” After that, the rest of her life, she was like 95 pounds. Grandma Mae (Alleta’s mother), she had a stroke just before they got killed. That slowed her down quite a bit. After the war Mom (Genevieve) did a lot of the housework. She was kind of frail to start with, but afterward, she was really frail. She was kind. She never raised her voice in her life. Never fought with anybody.” After seeking advice in backand-forth letters with her brothers, who were aboard the USS Juneau, Genevieve decided she would join the U.S. Navy as a WAVE. She did just that in April 1943. “They said it was a good idea,” Genevieve said in a June 16, 1943, Associated Press story. “After the boys went down with their ship I knew I would go ahead.” Genevieve served 21 months as a WAVE and in war bond work before her discharge from the Navy in 1944. She married Murray Davidson on Nov. 2, 1946, in Chicago. The couple had two sons, Murray Jr. and Thomas. Murray Jr. followed family tradition and was sworn into the U.S. Navy Reserves in August 1967.


Alleta Sullivan, left, mother of the five Sullivan brothers, grieves with Genevieve, the boys’ sister and only remaining sibling.

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Friday, November 10, 2017 | D5

Love and war Sullivan fiance shared memories PAT KINNEY‌


Katherine McFarland in a 2012 interview with the Courier on the 70th anniversary of the death of her husband, Albert Sullivan, on the USS Juneau.

Albert Sullivan’s widow looks back PAT KINNEY‌

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‌WATERLOO — No mess. No clutter. No signs of dwelling on the past. It would not be unusual for a woman in her 90s to have shelves full of old photos, daily reminders of days gone by. That was not the case with Katherine McFarland. She had memories, to be sure — good ones — and she had known tragedy and loss. But she’d never been bound by self-pity and second guessing. Her late first husband and his brothers would have wanted it that way. Keep your chins up, they would say. McFarland was the widow of Albert Sullivan, youngest of the five Sullivan brothers killed 75 years ago this month during World War II. She died Jan. 1, 2016, at the age of 93, at the Western Home Communities in Cedar Falls. McFarland was popular at the Western Home cottage where she stayed, sang karaoke and was referred to as “Kate the Great” by staff. That’s also what Albert “Al” Sullivan thought too, on May, 11, 1940, when he married McFarland, then Katherine Rooff, the daughter of Bulgarian and Irish immigrants, known as “Keena” to family. She had not brooded on the loss or simply marked time since. For years she remained in the background during various events honoring the five brothers, because she had a full life after their deaths. She raised her and Albert’s son, Jim, now retired and living in Waterloo. And she enjoyed a nearly 40-year marriage to Dean McFarland, a World War II veteran and United Auto Workers Local 838 president, who died in 1986. In 2012, with granddaughter Kelly Sullivan Loughren by her side, she shared her recollections of the five brothers with the Courier. It was not a sad reflection. McFarland told a story of a household and family full of joy, laughter, more than a little raucousness, and love. And, in the case of Albert Sullivan, she told a story of a big case of premarital jitters on May, 11, 1940. Albert Sullivan passed out cold at the altar at their wedding Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. “No kidding. Balk! Down he went. He was so nervous,” Katherine said with a laugh. Albert was standing next to his best man, Leo Rooff, Katherine’s cousin, who 30 years later would become mayor of Waterloo. Albert’s sister, Genevieve Sullivan, was maid of honor. “We just looked at him. What could we do?” she said. But Albert came to and the ceremony went on without incident from that point. Albert, or Al as he was known to friends, and Katherine had wed after about a year’s courtship.


Katherine Sullivan McFarland

yet been married two years when Albert and his brothers enlisted, and they now had their son. Albert, with a young family and older brothers enlisting, had the option of not going. Katherine encouraged him to go. “They really wanted to go, those boys. They wanted to be together. He wouldn’t have been happy at all with his brothers gone in the service. You don’t think anything is going to happen to them,” Katherine said. “That’s the sad part of it. Being young you don’t know what it means to be in war. You think, ‘Oh they’re going to be back.’ And all of a sudden, they’re not back.” Katherine recalled the day a military officer notified the family the brothers were missing. “They came to the house,” she said. That was January 1943. “It wasn’t too long after we got the news that they were gone, dead.” A surviving shipmate, Nebraska native Lester Zook, wrote the family of the brothers’ demise before the family received official military notification. The brothers and all but 14 of their shipmates on the cruiser USS Juneau died after the ship was struck by a Japanese torpedo and sank on Nov. 13, 1942, while returning with other battle-damaged U.S. ships from the naval Battle of Guadalcanal. “Everything seemed so different, like it didn’t really happen, you know what I mean?” Katherine said. “I don’t know how come it felt that way. And of course you didn’t see them. You never saw a body, somebody in a casket,” affording closure. “It just seemed not right. You can’t believe it.” Katherine and young Jim stayed with the Sullivan family for a time after Albert was killed. It was not unusual at that time for extended family, in the Depression and war years, to live together. “You just had to; there wasn’t any other way.” The Sullivan family was caught in a wave of publicity. A Navy ship was named for the brothers, and the family participated in war bond drives. Katherine shied away from that attention to raise her son. “I had Jim. He was just a little kid, wasn’t even in school,” she said. Thomas Sullivan “never got over,” the loss of his sons, Katherine said, but remained a good grandfather to Jim. Katherine carried on. “When you’re young, you say, ‘what the hell,’” she said. “I went on with my life. Gotta go on.” She and Dean McFarland, who served with the Marines in the Pacific during the war, were married Dec. 31, 1946. McFarland remained a friend to the Sullivan family, sharing outings to Harpers Ferry, and Thomas Sullivan would frequently offer help with raising Jim. There were no other children.

They had met during outings at a park in the Riverview area off what is now La Porte Road and East Mitchell Avenue. “It really was nice at that time. It was nice and clean years ago. That was really a nice place to live.” The sand pits there, now part of the Riverview Recreation area, were a popular area for recreation and swimming. She went for bike rides there. Katherine went to West High School; Albert attended crosstown East High. The school rivalry did not impede their courtship. “I don’t know, we just got acquainted,” she said, adding modestly, “you know how things go.” She paused a moment before breaking out laughing. They both worked at The Rath Packing Co. in different areas of what was then Waterloo’s largest employer. “I worked in the lard room,” she said. “That was a mess.” Albert also worked for a time in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal-era jobs program, doing construction work at Backbone State Park. “They were a real close family,” Katherine said of the household of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan, the boys’ parents. “Every Sunday around Sunday dinner, everyone was there, just a lot of fun. They were really a happy-go-lucky family.” A neighborhood bar was a favorite before-dinner destination for the grown brothers. Their grandmother, Mae Abel, assumed many household duties and kept things in line, but would provoke Thomas into an argument over religion or politics at the dinner table, just for sport. However, one Sunday dinner in late 1941 was different. “We had the radio on Dec. 7,” Katherine recalled, and the family heard of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Some mention was made of Bill Ball, a friend of the brothers from Fredericksburg, who was on the battleship USS Arizona. It was later learned he died in the attack. “My goodness sakes, that was something. It wasn’t too long after that that they enlisted in the Navy,” Katherine said. Reprinted from a Nov. 11, 2012, Katherine and Albert hadn’t Courier story.

‌Margaret Jaros Woods of Pittsburgh fell in love with Joseph “Red” Sullivan in 1942 over a photograph. Photographs and memories were all she had left of the handsome sailor from Waterloo who would have been her husband. In 1999, she donated one of those photos to the Grout Museum. It’s a photo of her and Red, taken in May 1942 — on their only weekend together. Woods died in January 2006 at the age of 86. She shared her story of the marriage that never was in a 1999 Courier interview from her then-home in Cheswick, Pa., a Pittsburgh suburb. A month after the May 1942 visit, Red sent her a ring. Five months later, he and his four brothers were dead, killed following a World War II sea battle. And the five Sullivan brothers, in death, inspired a nation at war and became part of American naval lore. Margaret’s romance with Red started with a photo — the now-famous photo of the five brothers in Navy dress blues aboard the USS Juneau in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. The Sullivans were big news when they enlisted together to avenge a friend’s death at Pearl Harbor and insisted on serving together. They appeared in moviehouse newsreels and their photo was carried in papers nationwide — including Pittsburgh. The five strapping young sailors caught the eye of many young women — including Margaret and her friends. “The picture was in the paper in January of ’42. I said ‘Ooohh, aren’t they all nice looking? Especially the one on the left end, Joe,’” Margaret recalled. At that time, many people were writing letters and corresponding with people they knew in the service to keep their spirits up. Margaret had been corresponding with some soldiers she knew and wanted to add a sailor to the list — and not just any sailor, but Red Sullivan. She wrote him a letter. “I said, ‘I’d like to correspond with a sailor, if you’re not married or don’t have a steady girlfriend.’ I was 21 at the time. I was really surprised to receive a letter from him. He sent me a picture of him on his motorcycle and a picture of his mother and family. We wrote constantly,” for several months, she said. Bob McCann, a Pittsburgh shipmate of the Sullivans aboard the Juneau, was headed home to visit his own family during a May liberty. Red and brother Francis, or “Frankie” as Margaret called him, came along. They arranged a meeting in Pittsburgh with Margaret and friends. “To me, they seemed very nice,” she said. “Everybody was a little quiet, we just had met and nobody was rambunctious or anything.” But there was a connection between Margaret and Red. “It was one of those things. We just sort of clicked,” she said. They went to the movies Friday evening and spent Saturday evening at a get-together at Bob McCann’s house. On Sunday, Margaret and her best friend came back to the house and spent the afternoon there. “Sunday evening, they had to go back to the ship,” Margaret recalled. “So Bob McCann’s dad took them to the (train) station.” She rode along to see Red off. “He kissed me good-bye and said for me to wait for him and that was it,” she said. But it wasn’t long after that Red sent Margaret a ring. “He said maybe we could come up and visit him sometime. The ship was stationed in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.” So Margaret and her friend headed for New York. “We got up there and registered at the hotel. We called the ship and the phone kept ringing and ringing.” Margaret never saw Red that trip. Later, he wrote her that the Juneau had received orders to put out to sea and correspondence off ship was prohibited. The Juneau was headed for the South Pacific, the Solomon Is-


The late Margaret Jaros Woods donated this photo of her and Joseph “Red” Sullivan to the Grout Museum in 1999. It was taken in May 1942 on the couple’s only weekend together. lands and places like Savo Island and Guadalcanal — a voyage from which it would not return. Red told Margaret in a subsequent letter he wanted her to meet his family. She did that October. She met his parents, Thomas and Alleta, in Chicago and rode the train with them back to Waterloo. “I saw (Red’s) motorcycle while I was there,” she said. Red and Margaret continued writing each other. “He said riding a motorcycle was too dangerous, he would give up the motorcycle,” she recalled. “I said I liked motorcycles, my brother had ridden one.” But on her visit to Waterloo she found out Red had already told his dad to sell it. “He told me to start putting some money away for when we could get married. He said he wanted to get married and that I should go live with his parents. He was really ready to settle down, I guess.” Suddenly, the letters stopped. Months went by. Margaret was staying with an aunt in Bloomfield, Pa., in January. “I heard on the news one morning that the Sullivan brothers were missing, the ship had been torpedoed. It shook me up. I got off work that day and they let me take some time off. I went to Waterloo. His mom had called me to say they were reported missing. At that point there was still hope.” Hopes were dashed when the Sullivan family received a letter from Lester Zook, a Juneau shipmate and friend of the Sullivans, who wrote, “All hope is gone of your boys being found alive.” Red and his brothers — George, Francis, Madison and Albert — died with nearly 700 shipmates when the Juneau, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank on Nov. 13, 1942. In the years that followed, Margaret stood by Red’s family in their shared grief. She, Red’s parents and Beatrice Imperato of New Jersey, Madison’s fiancee, attended the premiere of the Sam Jaffee movie “The Fighting Sullivans” in New York and sold war bonds in the theater lobby. Margaret became a friend of the brothers’ sister Genevieve, meeting her in Chicago when she joined the WAVES during the war, and stood up for her as a bridesmaid when Genevieve married Murray Davidson at the end of the war. Sullivan family members continued to correspond with Margaret about events honoring the brothers, and she and Genevieve exchanged Christmas cards until she died in 1975. In 1992, Margaret was invited to Waterloo’s 50th anniversary commemoration of the brothers’ deaths, as well as the 1997 commissioning of the new Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans in New York, but was unable to attend either event. Margaret, with two grown daughters and three granddaughters, was married to John Woods for 25 years. He died at age 51 from lung cancer. “He looked a lot like Red. He even had the same dimple in his chin,” she said. Her letters from Red and other mementos were lost after a flood at her stepmother’s house in Ohio years ago. A few photos remain. “There were a lot of wartime romances. I said I’d always call it my unfinished romance,” Margaret said. Reprinted from Jan. 17, 1999, Courier story.

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The USS The Sullivans, named for the five Waterloo brothers killed during World War II, was commissioned in 1997.

Gone but not forgotten Years of Waterloo, Navy, national honors for Sullivan brothers PAT KINNEY‌

‌WATERLOO — In the 75 years since Waterloo’s five Sullivan brothers died during World War II, honors, recognition and memorials to their sacrifice have been numerous and widespread. Following is a non-comprehensive list of just some of the recognition the brothers have brought upon themselves, their family, community and state. ÌÌ Each of the five Sullivan brothers were awarded the Purple Heart, a medal given military personnel killed or wounded in combat, along with other theater and service decorations. The Juneau and the Sullivans earned four battle stars for engagements in which they were involved. ÌÌ Two Navy ships were named USS The Sullivans — a World War II era destroyer, DD-537, now decommissioned and docked at a Buffalo, N.Y., military park, and the present USS The Sullivans DDG-68, an Arleigh Burke-Class Aegis guided missile destroyer, still on active duty. The brothers’ mother, Alleta Sullivan, christened and sponsored the first ship; their granddaughter and grandniece, Kelly Sullivan, serves in the same capacity for the second vessel. Each ship is emblazoned with an Irish shamrock, a nod to the brothers’ heritage. A silver table service, paid for with funds raised by residents of Waterloo, including students from St. Mary’s Catholic School which the Sullivan brothers attended, was donated to the second USS The Sullivans during its 1997 commissioning in New York. ÌÌ Sullivan Brothers Memorial Park, containing a five-sided memorial marker adorned with an Irish shamrock for the brothers and a mast-shaped flagpole, is located at East Fourth and Adams streets and also takes in the site of the Sullivan family home, identified by a large stone and historic marker. The part was dedicated in 1964, replacing the previously named park at Maxwell and Stratford avenues, now Galloway Park. ÌÌ Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, soon to be Waterloo Convention Center at Sullivan Brothers Plaza and originally ConWay Civic Center, was renamed for the brothers in 1988 largely as a result of efforts by Waterloo attorney and Navy veteran Ed Gallagher Jr. and retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. James D. Ramage, a Waterloo native of the Highland area in east Waterloo and former Courier paperboy who commanded the dive bomber squadron of the USS Enterprise during World War II. The entire block, including the convention


This memorial to the Sullivan brothers was installed at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School in Waterloo. It now is displayed at COURTESY PHOTO‌ Columbus High School. Thomas and Alleta Sullivan are presented with Purple Hearts for each of their five perished sons. Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war, President Ronald Reagan to the Grout Museum District, said: “And none of us who were opened in November 2008 after alive then can forget the special more than three years of planning burden of grief borne by Mr. and and fundraising. The $11.5 million Mrs. Thomas Sullivan of Watermuseum honors all Iowa veterans loo, Iowa. They would remember and is a repository for hundreds forever the autumn afternoon of their video-recorded oral his- they learned that their sons — tories. George, Francis, Joseph, Madison, ÌÌ The Sullivan Brothers Out- and Albert — the Five Sullivans as standing Military Family award we knew them then, would not be is given annually by the Grout coming home.” ÌÌ In 2001, five memorial markMuseum District to families who have had multiple members in the ers for each of the Sullivan brothmilitary who also have been active ers were placed at Arlington National Cemetery. It was the result in community service. ÌÌ The Sullivan Brothers Award of efforts by U.S. Army veteran of Valor for police officers and Harry Burtner of Maumers, N.C., firefighters is offered by the Iowa who was inspired to petition Arlington’s superintendent to erect Department of Public Safety. ÌÌ Stapleton Pier at Staten Is- the markers after seeing a doculand, N.Y.,where the USS The Sul- mentary on the brothers which livans was commissioned in 1997, was part of the “Histories MysCOURIER FILE PHOTO‌ was renamed USS The Sullivans teries” television series on The In this May 1, 1959, Courier photo, the park at the corner of Maxwell Street Pier. History Channel. and Stratford Avenue was dedicated to and named after the Sullivan ÌÌ The Sullivan brothers in part ÌÌ The brothers’ surviving sister, Brothers. In 1963, an area on East Fourth Street closer to the Sullivan inspired the 1998 movie “Saving Genevieve Sullivan Davidson, who home and on a busier thoroughfare would become the new Sullivan Park. Private Ryan” and Steven Spiel- died in 1975, had her wartime serberg paid tribute to them in ac- vice in the Navy WAVES recorded center, is to be renamed Sullivan ÌÌ The local organization of cepting a Oscar for Best Director at the Women in Service to America Brothers Plaza as part of a renova- the Ancient Order of Hibernians, for that film. In one scene of the memorial, dedicated in 1997 and lotion of the convention center and an Irish heritage group, is known movie, U.S. Army Chief of Staff cated at Arlington’s Memorial Gate, adjacent hotel. as the Sullivan Brothers Division George C. Marshall, played by not far from the grave of President ÌÌ Sullivan Brothers Veterans of I chapter. In 2012, the Sullivan actor Harve Presnell, is informed Kennedy. Many other local womForeign Wars Post 1623 in Water- brothers were inducted into the by officers that the fictitious Ryan en’s service is recorded there. ÌÌ A Department of Defense loo honors the brothers, as does organization’s Irish American Hall brothers of Paton, Iowa, were diSullivan-Hartogh-Davis Post 730, of Fame, joining other individu- vided up into different units “after Sullivans American Elementary which helps organize Cedar Val- als including composer George M. the Sullivan brothers went down School is located on the island of ley Honor Flights of veterans to Cohan, former U.S. Speaker of the on the Juneau.” Okinawa, Japan, and The SulliÌÌ In a May 21, 1987, memorial vans School is located on Yokosuka Washington D.C. The post also is House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill named for two local soldiers killed and President John F. Kennedy. service for 37 sailors killed aboard Navy Base in Yokosuka, Japan. ÌÌ The Sullivan Brothers Iowa the frigate USS Stark when an in Vietnam, Dave Hartogh and 00 Veterans Museum, an addition Iraqi jet fired missiles at it in the Dave Davis. Please see HONORS, Page D7 1


Friday, November 10, 2017 | D7



Inside the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum in Waterloo.


The 1944 film “The Fighting Sullivans” featured the following actors: front row, from left, Thomas Mitchell as Thomas Sullivan; Selena Royle as Alleta Sullivan; and back row, from left, George Offerman as Joe; John Alvin as Madison; Eddie Ryan as Albert; Trudy Marshall as Genevieve; John Campbell as Frank; and James Cardwell as George.

Sullivan Brothers’ story showcased in film, TV META HEMENWAY-FORBES

‌In 1944, the Hollywood premiere of “The Fighting Sullivans” was the biggest premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre among the last 50 films debuted there at the time. “Crowds came in spite of a heavy downpour to Hollywood’s splashiest first night in years,” the Courier reported in a March 2, 1944, story. The 20th Century Fox film, directed by Sam Jaffe, was based on the family of the five Waterloo brothers who’d perished when the USS Juneau sank off Guadalcanal in World War II. It drew thousands of movie fans, Hollywood stars and military men and women on its opening night. “From New York and Hollywood the audience’s reaction has been tremendous in their applause and is slated for top honors in film fare,” the Courier read. The Midwest premiere took place at the Paramount Theatre on East Fourth Street in downtown Waterloo where the Courier building now stands. Katherine Sullivan, widow of Albert Sullivan, and the brothers’ sister, Genevieve, saw the Waterloo premiere, and noted in a Courier story that scenes from the film “hit pretty hard.” While the film opened to acclaim, Katherine, in a 2012 Courier interview, said “I thought it

was a lot of BS. Everyday life, it’s boring. They had to spice it up a little bit. Really kind of funny, in a way.” And her own portrayal in the movie “made me mad,” she said, because of one inaccuracy — the actress who played her wasn’t attractive enough. In 2000, a one-hour documentary on the five Sullivan brothers aired as part of the History Channel’s “History’s Mysteries” series. It focused on the brothers as well as the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the USS Juneau. In one of Hollywood’s biggest

nods to the Sullivan brothers’ sacrifice, legendary film director Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” was said to be loosely based on the story of the Waterloo sailors. Spielberg acknowledged the Sullivan family’s sacrifice in accepting an Academy Award for best director for the film in 1999. In 2007, co-producer and co-director Lynn Novick of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary “The War” issued an apology for mistakenly noting in the film that the Sullivan brothers were from Fredericksburg instead of Waterloo.


The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. immediately following the program. The program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Museum admission will only be charged to those wishing to tour the exhibits. For more information, call 234 -6357.

This image, provided by the Waterloo Black Hawks, shows what the team jerseys will look like during home games at Young Arena Nov. 17 and 18. COURTESY IMAGE‌

Waterloo Black Hawks to honor Sullivan brothers at Nov. 17 & 18 home games

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WATERLOO — Vice Adm. ‌ Richard Brown, former Commander of the USS The Sullivans DDG68, will speak at the 75th anniversary Sullivan brothers commemoration on Nov. 18 at the Grout Museum District’s Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, 503 South St. The event will honor the sacrifice of the brothers, George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert Sullivan, of Waterloo, who were killed during World War II when the USS Juneau was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine off the Solomon Islands on Nov. 13, 1942. The 1 p.m. ceremony will also feature remarks by Kelly Sullivan, a Cedar Falls elementary school teacher and the granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, the youngest of the five brothers. Recently acquired Sullivan Family memorabilia will be on display, and an updated Sullivan family documentary will be premiered in the Clair and Jean Parker Theatre at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum

Young actors take on the roles of the five Sullivan brothers in a scene from the 1944 movie, “The Fighting Sullivans.”

Honors ÌÌ A Sullivan Brothers memorial statue with a 2 1/2-ton base engraved with the brothers’ names, is topped by an Italian marble Roman Catholic statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace. It was first erected on the grounds of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and school in 1956. According to an April 15, 1956, Courier article, the statue was imported from Italy and is made of rare Carrara marble. It was purchased “with funds contributed by Sullivans throughout the nation” to honor the five brothers’ memory. The fund drive was started by Sullivans in Boston and spread from there. Contributions were solicited from school children around the country. After St. Mary’s, the Sullivans’ home parish, closed as a worship site in 2003, the statue was restored and relocated, to the Waterloo Knights of Columbus Council 700 grounds in 2010. Earlier this year, after the Council 700 building was put up for sale, the statue was relocated to an outdoor chapel on the grounds of Columbus High School, 3231 W. Ninth St.

Museum program to commemorate anniversary




A Roman Catholic Mass was conducted at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the home parish of Waterloo’s five Sullivan brothers killed during World War II, in 1988 as part of the activities concurrent with the renaming of Waterloo’s convention center for the brothers that year. Left: This tribute to the five Sullivan brothers was installed at the former Schoitz Memorial Hospital on Kimball and Ridgeway avenues.

‌WATERLOO — As part of a longstanding tradition, the Waterloo Black Hawks hockey team will honor military veterans on the ice in November. At home games on Nov. 17 and 18 at Young Arena, the Black Hawks will honor five of the country’s most famous veterans of all time — Waterloo’s own Sullivan brothers. Players will don specially designed jerseys featuring an iconic image of the five Sullivan brothers — George, George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert — who were killed in 1942 during World War II when the USS Juneau was torpedoed and sunk off the Solomon Islands. Each jersey also will feature the number 75, an image of the USS Juneau on the back and a patch bearing the official seal of the United States Navy on each shoulder. Black Hawks spokesman Tim

Harwood said the team was aware of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Juneau and “couldn’t be more honored to help commemorate it.” “This is something that is so significant in Waterloo’s past,” he said. “It brought so much attention to Waterloo on a national stage, and in 1942 it was the focus of so much positive sentiment and patriotism. It’s a really special story and we wanted to make sure we had the opportunity to recognize something that resonates with the community. The majority of our fans are aware of the Sullivan brothers’ sacrifice, and we are excited to help share that story.” The jerseys will be auctioned off after the Nov. 18 game, and proceeds will go to the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum and the Cedar Valley Sullivan-Hartogh-Davis Honor Flight program, which takes local veterans on daylong trips to visit Washington D.C., war memorials.

D8 | Friday, November 10, 2017


“Well, our minds are made up, aren’t they, fellows? And, when we go in, we want to go in together. If the worst comes to the worst, why, we’ll have all gone down together.” George Sullivan, oldest of Waterloo’s five Sullivan brothers, December 1941

Sullivans From D1

father and uncles, but over the brothers, sisters and cousins that might have been. The five sons of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan went into harm’s way with their eyes open. The late Paul Hamilton, a buddy of Joseph “Red” Sullivan in the Black Hawks Motorcycle Club, was a guest at a Sunday dinner at the Sullivan household on Adams Street on Dec. 7, 1941. “As soon as we drove up there, their mother came running out to tell us the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor,” Hamilton said in a 1991 Courier interview. “So we got in there and listened to the radio.” George and Francis, or “Frankie,” the two oldest brothers, were listening intently, because each had just returned from a tour of duty in the Navy. “Those two boys could tell what was happening,” Hamilton said. “I’m not sure whether they were on those ships, but they had part of their friends on ships that were being blown up over there. “So they talked right away about going into the Navy,” Hamilton said, tears in his eyes. “We had dinner that day, but it wasn’t a very happy occasion.” The brothers enlisted on the condition they be allowed to serve together on the same ship, a departure from Navy policy. After some initial resistance, the military acquiesced. “I was talking to an ensign the other day,” Red Sullivan wrote Hamilton. “From the way he talked, all five of us brothers are going to get on the same ship. I wish the rest of you guys could go along.” That ship was the Juneau. The public relations possibilities of having five brothers enlist together and serve on the same ship weren’t lost on the Navy. Word was spread. The five broth-

Legacy From D1

has no memories of them — except the stories passed on by his grandparents, the late Thomas and Alleta Sullivan, and the friends and neighbors who knew the brothers growing up in Waterloo. Murray and Tom Davidson, 68 and 70, respectively, are the sons of Genevieve Sullivan, the brothers’ sister and only surviving sibling, who died in the 1970s. Murray said his mother, who served in the Navy WAVES during the war, took on the burdens of caring for her aging parents while raising a family of her own. Kelly Sullivan, Jim Sullivan’s daughter, a third-grade teacher in Cedar Falls, has been the public face of the Sullivan family for more than 20 years, christening the current U.S. Navy ship named for the five brothers and serving as its official sponsor and at many public commemorative events. She recalls, in sixth- or seventh-grade, weeping when the “Star-Spangled Banner” played at sporting events and feeling out of place. “I remember how much it affected me and I remember looking around and feeling the odd one out,” she said. “It just affected me a different way. And it still does. Especially at Sullivan events.” The Sullivans and Davidsons who live locally gathered recently at the Five Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum to reflect on the 75th anniversary of the brothers’ deaths. Jim’s son and Kelly’s brother, John Sullivan, of Lenexa, Kan., was unable to attend. They agreed the anniversary is a poignantly bittersweet occasion, as are all commemorative events honoring the brothers: A combination of pride and grief. “It’s a little bit of both,” Jim Sullivan said. “I also think about how it affected my grandparents,” Thomas and Alleta Sullivan. “They never, after all those years, they never did forget. It still affected them.” He doubts that, with the public attention foisted upon them, they had much private time to grieve. “I don’t know that they did, really, you know? Accept it, think about


The five Sullivan brothers at home in their home on Adams Street in Waterloo. ers appeared in newsreels and publicity photos. They were feted at heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey’s restaurant before the Juneau embarked from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York Harbor. Pictures of the five handsome brothers — all bachelors except Albert, the youngest — circulated around the country. Two of them — Red and Madison, or “Matt,” became engaged to be married — Red to Margaret Jaros of Pittsburgh, Matt to Beatrice Imperato of New Jersey. The Juneau set sail in the early summer of 1942, after Red and Frank had visited Margaret Jaros and friends in Pittsburgh. Also, between enlistment and embarkation, Matt and Al were able to return home to see the family, including Al’s wife Katherine and son Jimmy. After some shakedown and convoy cruises in the Atlantic, the Juneau, vaunted for its speed and radar capabilities, was dispatched to the Pacific. It was designed for anti-aircraft combat, and the ship and crew acquitted themselves well in the Battle of Santa Cruz, combining with other ships to shoot down some 38 Japanese

it, whatever. When they were on that war bond drive (during World War II) that really kept them busy. That happened right away, after the boys were killed.” Jim’s grandmother, Mae Abel, Alleta’s mother, kept the household running before and especially after the brothers’ deaths, he said – despite having suffered a stroke not long before that. Murray Davidson said he frequently received information requests about the brothers through the Waterloo Public Library, where he is a regular patron. Jim lived with his grandparents until age 6; his mother married Dean McFarland, also a World War II veteran and later a local labor leader with United Auto Workers Local 838, when Jim was about 7. “I don’t remember them at all,” Jim said of his father and uncles. “I never did. I was about a year and 10 months old when they were killed.” He carries his grandparents’ stories about the Sullivan brothers with him, along with those who knew them in Waterloo and late Juneau survivor Lester Zook, who attended several Sullivan commemorations in the 1980s and ’90s. “Every time I see Dad go to something, it definitely reopens his wounds,” Kelly Sullivan said, sitting next to her father. “And it just depends how it hits him; it can be a happy thing; it’s just bittersweet.” She recalled when a Navy cycling team honored the Sullivans during this year’s RAGBRAI cross-state bicycle ride. Jim took her to Cresco to meet the team, and he re-connected with an old comrade he served with during his own Navy service. “It was exciting for him to see his friend, but it’s still always tough. Sometimes Dad gets a little weepy.” “Oh, yeah,” Jim said, unable to say much more. Kelly said she had a similar moment while portraying her late aunt Genevieve during a Grout Museum District “Strolling With the Spirits” cemetery walk, a guided tour in which individuals portray prominent deceased local residents. She recounted, through Genevieve’s eyes, the day the family

planes that were attacking two U.S. aircraft carriers, according to Navy records. Following that battle, at the port of Noumea in New Caledonia, a shore officer came aboard and asked any members of the same family to split up and board other vessels because of high casualties in the area. Two of four Rogers brothers from Connecticut went to other ships. The five Sullivans decided to stick together, as well as two brothers named Coombs. The Juneau accompanied carriers ferrying U.S. planes to the island of Guadalcanal, where Japanese and American forces were locked in a months-long seesaw battle, and shot down six Japanese torpedo bombers in a 30-plane attack force. It also participated in the costly Battle of Savo Island off Guadalcanal. In November, word was received that a large Japanese task force, known to U.S. sailors as a “Tokyo Express,” was steaming toward Guadalcanal. The outgunned Juneau and other American ships headed out to meet them. With personnel at battle stations, the American ships passed right in between the Japanese

ships in the middle of the night. Searchlights, flares, explosions and tracers broke the darkness as the ships exchanged fire and maneuvered to avoid ramming into each other. It was known as the “Battle of Friday the Thirteenth” and compared to “a barroom fight with the lights out.” “It was a pistol,” Juneau survivor Lester Zook, who died in a 1998 traffic accident in Reno, Nev., said of the firefight. “We lost the most ... but in a way, it was considered a victory for us, because we had delayed them from making any further inroads on Guadalcanal” until the island and American offensive strength could be reinforced. The ships are credited with saving Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, a key installation on the island. Of the Japanese force of 18 to 20 ships, three destroyers were damaged, two sunk and a battleship was left rudderless and destroyed the following day by American aircraft. The delaying action took a toll on the American ships. Twelve of the 13 American ships had been either sunk or damaged in some way, including the Juneau, which had taken a torpedo hit. It and five other ships that were able to leave the battle, headed by the USS Helena, had headed for Noumea by daylight. A medical team was sent from the Juneau to the heavily damaged USS San Francisco to tend to wounded there. A Japanese submarine, I-26, fired three torpedoes that were apparently directed for the USS San Francisco. Two missed. According to Lt. Roger O’Neil, a Juneau medical officer on the San Francisco, a third erratic torpedo dove under the San Francisco, surfaced on the other side, headed directly toward the Juneau 800 yards away and struck the ship at about the same point as the first torpedo hit in the night battle. The Juneau exploded and sank in 20 seconds. The Sullivan family in Waterloo received word in January 1943 that the five brothers were missing. It


Cousins Kelcie Loughren of Cedar Falls, left, and Josephine Sullivan of Lenexa, Kan., great-granddaughters and great-grandnieces of Waterloo’s five Sullivan brothers killed during World War II, each sport the number 5 on their soccer jerseys in honor of the five brothers. Kelcie, daughter of Kelly Sullivan, plays soccer for Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa. Josephine, daughter of Kelly’s brother John Sullivan, plays soccer in Lenexa. The girls are great-granddaughters of Albert Sullivan, the youngest of the brothers and the only one who married. received official word the brothers were missing in action. She repeated the performance several times that day. “The first time I went through it, I started crying,” she said. Her great-grandfather Thomas Sullivan, at wife Alleta’s urging, still reported for work at his job with the Illinois Central Railroad, which was hauling war supplies at the time. Kelly had to retell that story. “It hits you in weird times when you don’t expect it,” she said. “Even when I was out in Buffalo (N.Y.) for the Sullivan Association meeting.” The first USS The Sullivans is moored there. Kelly’s

great-grandmother Alleta was that ship’s sponsor, just as Kelly is of the current vessel. “I think about how much time Great-Grandma spent there. She’d write them letters; she’d go visit. I threw out a wreath with two of the sailors. I teared up. I just did.” Jim Sullivan said he does think about the number of family members – siblings, cousins and descendants – he and his family could have had if the five brothers had survived the war. “It’ll surprise you that people don’t think about that long-term effect,” Kelly added. “Even if one of them had come home.”

was Zook, while recuperating at a Chicago naval hospital, who wrote Thomas and Alleta Sullivan that “all hope is gone of your boys being found alive.” The family did not receive official word from the Navy for another seven months. The Sullivans’ deaths is believed to be the most members of a single family killed in battle at one time in the history of the Navy, and possibly American military history, though many other families lost multiple members over the course of a single war, particularly during the Civil War. The five brothers’ deaths were used as a rallying point in the nation’s war effort, and their parents and sister, Genevieve, who enlisted in the WAVES, participated in numerous war bond rallies and appearances at defense plants. President Roosevelt ordered a new ship, the USS The Sullivans, commissioned in the brothers’ memory, and it was christened and sponsored by their mother. It saw action in World War II and Korea and is now decommissioned and docked at a Buffalo, N.Y. military park. A park near the boys’ home was dedicated in the 1960s, and Waterloo’s convention center was renamed after them in 1988. This year, plans were announced to rename it the Waterloo Convention Center at Sullivan Brothers Plaza following a renovation of the convention center and adjacent hotel. Thomas Sullivan died in the 1960s; Alleta and Genevieve followed in the 1970s. Genevieve’s sons, Murray and Tom Davidson, Al Sullivan’s son Jim and his children John Sullivan and Kelly Sullivan are the surviving family members. Kelly Sullivan has a college-age daughter, Kelcie Loughren, and a teenage son, Luke Loughren. John Sullivan has two daughters, Madeline and Josephine, named for his great-uncles Madison and Joseph. Portions of this story reprinted from earlier Courier stories.

Ironically, Jim said, “They had thought about splitting up” with a couple of brothers going on other ships, but decided to stay together. The absence of that potential family, Jim said, makes the family appreciate the family they do have. Kelly has two college- and high school-age children – Kelcie and Luke Loughren – and John has two daughters in their early teens, Madeline and Josephine, each named for their great-great uncles, Madison and Joseph, who went down with the USS Juneau. “And the people I’ve met along the way, especially me being sponsor of the ship, I call my Navy family,” Kelly said. “I’ve met Pearl Harbor survivors. They touch your life and they touch your heart. Somehow, meeting these people who are actually strangers, helps fills the void of not having a big Irish Catholic family.” On a recent trip she met many family members of sailors lost on the Juneau. Also, the daughter of the late Margaret Jaros Woods of Pittsburgh, who was the fiance of her great-uncle Joseph Sullivan, presented her with a four-leaf clover broach Genevieve Sullivan had given Margaret on a trip to Waterloo. While the commemorations can be difficult, they do, at the same time, offer some comfort that the brothers’ sacrifice is remembered across the generations. “The fact that people come to these things and are interested still, it makes me feel a little bit better,” Jim Sullivan said. They were asked what they felt people should remember about the brothers. “Respect anybody that serves their country,” Murray Davidson said. “The Sullivans symbolize all veterans past, present and future, that have that integrity, righteousness, sense of right and wrong, that we don’t always see in today’s world,” Kelly Sullivan said. “That, ‘I want to do my part to make the world a better place.’ I want people to have good hearts.” “I think you should take away from this that life is precious,” Jim Sullivan said. “We should treasure the time we have with our fami- 00 1 lies.”

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Veterans Day - 2018  

Veterans Day - 2018