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A People at War headerNational Archives and Records Administration
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Prelude to War
New Roles
Women Who Served
The War in the Pacific
Mess Attendant First Class Doris Miller
The Sullivan Brothers
Robert Fredrick Read: Photographer
Joseph Timothy O'Callahan and The U.S.S. Franklin
spacerThe War in Europe
Science Pitches In

The War is Over


The five Sullivan brothers (Albert, Francis, George, Joseph, and Madison) served together as shipmates aboard the cruiser U.S.S. Juneau after requesting special permission from the Secretary of the Navy. The Juneau was sunk on November 13, 1942, off the island of Guadalcanal by Japanese submarine I-26. Of the crew of over 600 sailors, only 11 survived.

Poster of the Sullivan brothers
  "Five Sullivan Brothers - They Did Their Part". (NWDNS-44-PA-777)

Even after hearing rumors of the death of her five sons, Mrs. Sullivan continued to support the war effort as evidenced by a letter she wrote to the Bureau of Naval Personnel. Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a personal letter to Mrs. Sullivan expressing his and the nation's sorrow. For wartime America, the Sullivan brothers became the ultimate symbol of heroic sacrifice.