Granddaughter Christens Ship in Honor of 'Fighting Sullivans'

Associated Press

The granddaughter of one of the "Fighting Sullivans" christened the Navy's newest destroyer Saturday in the name of her grandfather and his four brothers, who were killed in World War II.

"May the luck of the Irish always be with you and your crew," Kelly Ann Sullivan Loughren said before smashing a bottle of champagne against the ship's bow and watching The Sullivans slide down a ramp at Bath Iron Works into the Kennebec River.

The ship is named for George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert Sullivan, who served together on the light cruiser Juneau and died in the Battle of Guadalcanal on Nov. 13, 1942.

It was against Navy policy to assign brothers to the same ship, but officials relented when the five brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, insisted on serving together.

The brothers, angry over the death of a friend at Pearl Harbor, enlisted together at ages ranging from 20 to 28.

Four Sullivan brothers were among the 500 sailors who died when the ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo. About 140 others survived the explosion and sinking, but only 10 were rescued. George Sullivan was killed by a shark.

Their parents were flooded with condolence letters, including one from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1944, Hollywood came out with the movie "The Fighting Sullivans."

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