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USS The Sullivans (DD-537)

Destroyer Warship [ 1943 ]

USS The Sullivans DD-537 was named after five brothers lost with the sinking of USS Juneau by Japanese torpedo in November 1942.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/18/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

USS The Sullivans (DD-537) was a Fletcher-class destroyer warship of the World War 2 and Cold War periods, seeing combat service in both the Second World War (1939-1945) and the Korean Was (1950-1953) that followed. The ship was named after the five Sullivan brothers who all perished on November 13th, 1942 when their light cruiser, USS Juneau, was struck and sunk by Japanese submarine I-26 during the Battle of Guadalcanal. The quintet went on to be remembered as the "Fighting Sullivan Brothers" and became national heroes during the war effort against the Empire of Japan.

Laid down on October 10th, 1942 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, The Sullivans was launched on April 4th, 1943 and formally commissioned into USN service on September 30th of that year.

Fletcher-class became one of the more critical ship designs of the USN during the war as their hulls eventually encompassed 175 total units constructed by a myriad of shipbuilders from Boston to Seattle. Many of the hulls went on to serve with foreign navies in the post-war period. With thin hulls, the warships were some of the fastest in the water for their size - though at the expense of armor protection.

As completed, The Sullivans had a displacement of 2,080 tons (short) and structural dimensions included a bow-to-stern length of 376.5 feet, a beam of 39.7 feet, and a draught down to 17.8 feet. Internally, the propulsion was provided for by 4 x Babcock & Wilcox oil-fired boiler units feeding 2 x General Electric geared-steam turbines outputting 60,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts astern. This gave the craft a maximum straightline speed of 35 knots in ideal conditions and she could range out to 6,500 nautical miles (7,500 miles). Aboard was a crew of 336 personnel.

Externally, the ship showcased a pair of turrets in stepped fashion over the forecastle with the bridge superstructure directly aft. A mast was erected behind this structure and the twin, rear-canted smoke funnels followed amidships. The rear of the vessel seated the reaming three primary turrets, giving the warship a full broadside of five turrets equaling ten total guns.

The main guns were 5" (130mm) /39 caliber systems and these were installed in the turrets in twin-gun arrangement. The guns were backed by a line of 10 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) automatic cannons arranged in five twin-gunned emplacements. Beyond this were 7 x 20mm Oerlikon AA guns in single-gunned mountings. The warship carried 2 x 5 21" torpedo launchers, 6 x "K-gun" depth charge launchers, and 2 x Depth charge racks for submarine hunting.

The ship entered the war in 1944, taking part in various actions of the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTOs) including operations related to Truk, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Leyte. She survived the war and returned stateside to California by way of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to be decommissioned on January 10th, 1946. After this, she was overhauled and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet for the interim until reactivated in May of 1951 service in the Korean War (1950-1953).
Having survived both wars, and operating with distinction, The Sullivans was relegated to training ship until decommissioned for good on January 7th, 1965 (the Australians rebuffed a USN offer for the ship, instead choosing a British design). For her contributions, the warship was awarded eleven total Battle Stars - nine from World War 2 and another two for the Korean War.

USS The Sullivans was donated, along with USS Little Rock (CG-4) to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park of Buffalo, New York to be preserved as a floating museum ship.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

April 2022 - It was reported that The Sullivans museum ship had begun to list and sink after taking on water through her thin, aging hull. Efforts are underway to raise and right the ship.


Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation - USA
United States
Operators National flag of the United States
United States
National Origin
Decomissioned, Preserved
Project Status
Hull Class
USS Fletcher (DD-445); USS Radford (DD-446); USS Jenkins (DD-447); USS La Vallette (DD-448); USS Nicholas (DD-449); USS O'Bannon (DD-450); USS Chevalier (DD-451); USS Saufley (DD-465); USS Waller (DD-466); USS Strong (DD-467); USS Taylor (DD-468); USS De Haven (DD-469); USS Bache (DD-470); USS Beale (DD-471); USS Guest (DD-472); USS Bennett (DD-473); USS Fullam (DD-474); USS Hudson (DD-475); USS Hutchins (DD-476); USS Pringle (DD-477); USS Stanly (DD-478); USS Stevens (DD-479); Halford (DD-480); USS Leutze (DD-481); USS Watson (); USS Philip (); Renshaw (); Ringgold (); Schroeder (); USS Sigsbee (); USS Conway (); USS Cony (); USS Converse (); USS Eaton (); USS Foote (); Spence (); Terry (); Thatcher (); Anthony (); Wadsworth (); Walker (); Brownson (); Daly (); Isherwood (); Kimberly (); Luce (); Abner (); Read (); Ammen (); Mullany (); Bush (); Trathen (); Hazelwood (); Heermann (); Hoel McCord Miller Owen The Sullivans Stephen Potter (); Tingey (); Twining (); Yarnall (); Boyd (); Bradford (); Brown (); Cowell (); Capps (); David W. Taylor (); Evans (); John D. Henley (); Franks (); Haggard (); Hailey (); Johnston (); Laws (); Longshaw (); Morrison (); Prichett (); Robinson (); Ross (); Rowe (); Smalley (); Stoddard (); Watts (); Wren (); Aulick (); Charles Ausburne (); Claxton (); Dyson (); Harrison (); John Rodgers (); McKee (); Murray (); Sproston (); Wickes (); William D. Porter (); Young (); Charrette (); Conner (); Hall (); Halligan (); Haraden (); Newcomb (); Bell (); Burns (); Izard (); Paul Hamilton (); Twiggs (); Howorth (); Killen (); Hart (); Metcalf (); Shields (); Wiley (); Abbot (); Braine (); Erben (); Hale (); Sigourney (); Stembel (); Albert W. Grant (); Caperton (); Cogswell (); Ingersoll (); Knapp (); Bearss (); John Hood (); Van Valkenburgh (); Charles J. Badger (); Colahan (); Dashiell (); Bullard (); Kidd (); Bennion (); Heywood L. Edwards (); Richard P. Leary (); Bryant (); Black (); Chauncey (); Clarence K. Bronson (); Cotten (); Dortch (); Gatling (); Healy (); Hickox (); Hunt (); Lewis (); Hancock (); Marshall (); McDermut (); McGowan (); McNair (); Melvin (); Hopewell (); Porterfield (); Stockham (); Wedderburn (); Picking (); Halsey (); Powell (); Uhlmann (); Remey (); Wadleigh (); Norman Scott (); Mertz (); Callaghan (); Cassin Young (); Irwin (); Preston (); Benham (); Cushing (); Monssen (); Jarvis (); Porter (); Colhoun (); Gregory (); Little (); Rooks ()

Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

376.5 feet
(114.76 meters)
39.7 feet
(12.10 meters)
17.8 feet
(5.43 meters)

4 x Babcock & Wilcox boiler units feeding 2 x General Electric geared-steam turbines generating 60,000 horsepower driving 2 x Shafts astern.
35.0 knots
(40.3 mph)
Surface Speed
6,517 nm
(7,500 miles | 12,070 km)
1 knot = 1.15 mph; 1 nm = 1.15 mile; 1 nm = 1.85 km

5 x 5" (130mm) /38 caliber main guns in five single-gunned turrets.
10 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) automatic cannons in five twin-gunned emplacements.
7 x 20mm Oerlikon AA automatic guns in seven single-gunned emplacements.
10 x 21" (530mm) torpedo tubes in two quintuple launchers.
6 x K-gun depth charge throwers.
2 x Depth charge tracks.


Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2


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Image of the USS The Sullivans (DD-537)
Image from the United States Navy; Public Domain.

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