The crew that discovered the wreckage of the USS Juneau is in Iowa today. The five Sullivan Brothers from Waterloo perished on November 13, 1942 when their ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo and sunk near the Solomon Islands.
The crew on the research vessel Patrel discovered the sunken vessel in 2018. The crew spoke to a group of third graders this morning at the Cedar Falls school where Kelly Sullivan, the grand-daughter and grand-niece of the brothers, teaches.
“The kids were just eating it up. They’d already toured the museum not long before and they were pretty well informed and primed and they asked a lot of good questions and the crew just loved it,” said Pat Kinney, the director of institutional advancement for the Grout Museum District in Waterloo which includes the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum.
The crew that found the Juneau will speak at the museum tonight (Wednesday) and show the video of their discovery. Kinney has watched it several times.
“Just watching that unfold is just kind of breath-taking,” Kinney told Radio Iowa, “and if you know the Sullivan story and know that all but about 14 sailors on that ship were killed, it kind of makes you feel a little humble.”
The five Sullivan brothers and 682 other sailors perished when the Juneau was hit. The video of the wreck is narrated by Paul Mayer, the captain of the crew that was searching for the ship in March of last year.
“And as you zoom in on the stern of the ship, you start seeing the letters. There’s a J. There’s a U. And he says: ‘Yep, that’s the Juneau,'” Kinney said. “The ship’s name was on the stern of the ship.”
Kinney said he and other staff hope to incorporate the video in a permanent display at the Waterloo museum.