Famous WWII Shipwreck Found After 75 Years

The Sullivan brothers, five sailors renowned during WWII, died aboard the ship when it was struck by an enemy torpedo.

During the second World War, the Sullivan brothers were the faces of patriotic sacrifice in the U.S.

All five brothers—George, Frank, Joe, Matt, and Al—died aboard the U.S.S Juneau, after the ship was struck by a Japanese torpedo on November 13, 1942.

Their story, as told on the Navy's historical website, claims they were spurred to action after the attack on Pearl Harbor and would only serve if they could sail together. The brothers were serving on the USS Juneau during the Battle of Guadalcanal, a major Allied strike against Japanese positions in the Solomon Islands.

When the ship sank, 687 people—the brothers included—died with it. Only 10 were rescued in the days following the ship's destruction.

Video: WWII Shipwreck USS Juneau Found—Famous for Five Sullivan Brothers

American war posters bearing the image of the Sullivan brothers said the Iowa-born men were "missing in action." The posters added: "they did their part." Two years after their deaths, a movie called The Sullivan's was made about their story.

Now, the remains of the ship on which they perished have been found.

Resting more than 13,000 feet below the sea, just off the coast of the Solomon Islands, lies the destroyed remains of the USS Juneau. The wrecked ship was found by Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, using his ship Research Vessel Petrel .

It's not the first such discovery made by Allen and the R/V Petrel: to name a few, the team discovered the U.S.S Lexington 500 miles off the coast of Australia earlier this month, the U.S.S Ward near Pearl Harbour last December, and the U.S.S. Indianapolis in the Philippine Sea last August.

An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) used by the R/V Petrel first detected the Juneau on March 17. A remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) then verified the wreck had been found.

Underwater video taken of the shipwreck shows the hulking remains. Barnacles and other sea life has overgrown the metal.

The find offers some closure to the famed brothers' deaths.

"The story of the USS Juneau crew and Sullivan brothers epitomize the service and sacrifice of our nation's greatest generation," said Vice Adm. Rich Brown in a press release. Brown is also the commanding officer of the U.S.S Sullivans, named for the brothers.

Allen and his expedition team plan to continue using the R/V Petrel to search for shipwrecks and other historically valuable artifacts.

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