Wreckage of sunken WWII cruiser USS Juneau found; 687 men were killed, including 5 Sullivan brothers

SEATTLE — The wreckage of the World War II cruiser USS Juneau — which was torpedoed, killing 687 men, including the five Sullivan brothers — has been found on the floor of the South Pacific off the coast of the Solomon Islands, Paul Allen’s expedition crew announced Monday.

The Atlanta-class light cruiser was found about 2.6 miles below the surface on Saturday, Allen’s Vulcan website said.

“We certainly didn’t plan to find the Juneau on St. Patrick’s Day,” said Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen. “The variables of these searches are just too great.”

“As the fifth commanding officer of USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), a ship named after five brothers, I am excited to hear that Allen and his team were able to locate the light cruiser USS Juneau (CL 52) that sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal,” Vice Adm. Rich Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces, told Paulallen.com. “The story of the USS Juneau crew and Sullivan brothers epitomize the service and sacrifice of our nation’s greatest generation.”

On Nov. 13, 1942, the ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo during the Battle of Guadalcanal. A second torpedo then hit the Juneau’s port side, which caused a larger explosion and cut the ship in half. It sank in 30 seconds.

Due to the risk of additional Japanese attacks, Navy forces did not stay to check for survivors. After several days, when search crews returned, only 10 survivors were found in the water.

The Sullivan family of Waterloo, Iowa, lost all five sons in one instant. According to paulallen.com, despite the U.S. naval policy that prevented siblings from serving in the same unit, the Sullivan brothers refused to serve unless assigned to the same ship.

Allen’s expedition team has also discovered the World War II aircraft carrier USS Lexington; the USS Indianapolis; the USS Ward; USS Astoria; the Japanese battleship Musashi; and the Italian World War II destroyer Artigliere.