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  USS Juneau CL-52
Atlanta-class light cruiser

6,000 Tons
541' 6" x 52' 2" x 16' 4"
16 x 5" Guns
9 x 1.1" Guns
8 x 20mm cannons
6 x depth charge proj
2 x depth charge tracks

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USN February 11, 1942

Click For Enlargement
USN February 14, 1942
Ship History
Built by Federal Shipbuilding Company in Kearny, New Jersey. Laid down on May 27, 1940 as an Atlanta-class light cruiser. Launched on October 25, 1941 as USS Juneau (CL-52) named for Juneau sponsored by Mrs. Harry I. Lucas, wife of city's mayor. Commissioned February 14, 1942 at New York Navy Yard into the U.S. Navy (USN) with Captain Lyman K. Swenson in command. At the ceremony, the five Sullivan brothers were photographed aboard. Afterwards, Juneau underwent a shakedown cruise along the Atlantic coast.

Wartime History
During early May 1942 Juneau assumed blockade patrol off Martinique and Guadeloupe to prevent the escape of Vichy French Naval units. Next, returned to New York to complete alterations. On June 1, 1942 operated in the North Atlantic then the Caribbean performing patrol and escort duties until August 12, 1942.

On August 22, 1942 departs bound for the South Pacific via the Panama Canal with a brief stops at Tonga and New Caledonia. On September 10, 1942 rendezvoused with Task Force 18 (TF-18) under the command of Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes aboard USS Wasp (CV-7). The following day, combined with Task Force 17 (TF-17) built around USS Hornet (CV-8) to form Task Force 61 (TF-61) to ferry planes to Guadalcanal.

On September 15, 1942 at 2:45pm USS Wasp (CV-7) was hit by three torpedoes fired by Japanese submarine I-19 and sank at 9:00pm with Juneau and destroyers rescuing 1,910 survivors then steamed to Espiritu Santo to disembark them. On September 17, 1942 rejoins Task Force 17 (TF-17) and supports USS Hornet (CV-8) during the Buin-Fasi-Tonolai Raid.

On October 24, 1942 Task Force 17 (TF-17) combined with USS Enterprise as Task Force 61 (TF-61) under the command of Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid. This force positioned itself north of the Santa Cruz Islands in order to intercept enemy units that might attempt to close Guadalcanal.

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
On October 26, 1942 in the early morning at the start of the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, U.S. carrier planes spotted the enemy force and immediately attacked it, damaging two Japanese carriers, one battleship, and three cruisers. But while American aircraft were locating and engaging the enemy, American ships were also under fire. Shortly after 10:00, roughly 27 enemy aircraft attack Hornet. Though Juneau and other screen ships fired effective AA barrage which splashed about 20 of the attackers, but Hornet was badly damaged and sank the next day. Just before noon, Juneau left Hornet's escort for the beleaguered Enterprise group several miles away. Adding her firepower, Juneau help in repulsing four enemy attacks on that force that accounted for 18 Japanese planes shot down. In the evening, the American forces retired to the southeast.

On November 8, 1942, departs Nouméa Harbor as part of Task Force 67 (TF-67) under the command of Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner to escort reinforcements to Guadalcanal.

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
On November 12, 1942 in the early morning Task Force 67 (TF-67) arrive off Guadalcanal and Juneau took up station as part of the protective screen around the transports and cargo vessels. Their unloading proceeded unmolested until 2:05pm when 30 Japanese planes attacked the alerted group. The AA fire was effective, and Juneau alone accounted for six B5N Kate torpedo bombers shot down. The few remaining Japanese planes were attacked by American fighters with only one escaping. Later in the day, an American attack group of cruisers and destroyers cleared the area based on reports that a large enemy surface force was inbound for Guadalcanal.

Sinking History
On November 13, 1942 at 1:48am, Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan relatively small Landing Support Group engaged a Japanese force of two battleships, a light cruiser and nine destroyers. During the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal bad weather and confused communications in the darkness the battle happened at almost point-blank range as the ships of the opposing sides became intermingled. During the melee, Juneau experiences difficulty identifying targets but opens fire. A torpedo hit her port side in the forward fire room and disables the cruiser that causes a severe list and stops dead in the water.

Before noon, Juneau with two other damaged cruisers USS Helena CL-50 and USS San Francisco CA-38 withdraw from Guadalcanal area bound for Espiritu Santo for repairs.

Juneau was steaming on only one screw on station 800 yards off the starboard quarter of the likewise severely damaged San Francisco. She was down 12' by the bow, but able to maintain 13 knot. A few minutes after 11:00am, Japanese submarine I-26 fired three torpedoes. Juneau successfully avoided two, but at 11:01am the third hit at the same point where damaged during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The impact caused a large explosion and broke the cruiser into two sections and sank in only 20 seconds into the Solomon Sea between of Guadalcanal and San Cristobal. A total of 687 crew were lost in the battle and sinking.

Fates of the Crew
Fearing more attacks from I-26, USS Helena and San Francisco continued without attempting to rescue survivors. Although the ship went down with heavy loss of life, more than 100 sailors survived the sinking. They were left to fend for themselves in the open sea for eight days before rescue aircraft arrived. While awaiting rescue, all but ten died from the elements and shark attacks.

The Sullivan Brothers
The five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa served aboard Juneau: GM2c George T. Sullivan, 3211592 age 27, Coxswain Francis H. Sullivan, 3211593 age 26, S2c Joseph E. Sullivan, 6202070 age 24, S2c Madison A. Sullivan, 6202071 age 23 and S2c Albert L. Sullivan, 6202069 aged 20.

Two of the brothers two presumably went down with the ship. Two others including George reportedly survived the sinking, but died to die at sea. Some reports indicate the fifth brother also survived the sinking, but disappeared during the first day at sea. This was the greatest military loss by any one American family, and their death caused the Navy to revise its policy about having brothers serve on the same ship.

A memorial to USS Juneau is located at cruise ship docks in Juneau.

The crew lost in the sinking remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

The five Sullivan brothers have memorial markers at Arlington National Cemetery. George T. Sullivan at MC 34-M. Francis H. Sullivan at MC 33-M. Joseph E. Sullivan at MC 32-M. Madison A. Sullivan at MC 31-M. Albert L. Sullivan at MC 30-M.

Juneau received four battle stars for her service in World War II.

On March 17, 2018 the shipwreck was USS Juneau was located by RV Petrel funded by Paul Allen at a depth of 13,800' / 4,200m.

Navsource - USS Juneau (CL-52)
RV Petrel - USS Juneau (CL-52) (photos)
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - The Sullivan Brothers: Report on Loss of USS Juneau (CL-52) November 17, 1942
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - The Sullivan Brothers: List of USS Juneau survivors
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - The Sullivan Brothers: The Loss of USS Juneau, (CL-52)

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - George T. Sullivan
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - George Thomas Sullivan (grave photos)
FindAGrave - George Thomas Sullivan (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - George Thomas Sullivan (photo, memorial marker photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Madison A. Sullivan
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Albert Leo Sullivan
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Francis H. Sullivan
FindAGrave - Francis Henry “Frank” Sullivan (photo, memorial marker photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph E. Sullivan

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Last Updated
November 12, 2021


November 13, 1942

Photo Archive

13,800' / 4,200m
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