USS The Sullivans (DD-537) has been decorated with shamrocks since World War II as a sign of the Irish ancestry of the five Sullivan brothers who, serving together on the light cruiser USS Juneau, were all killed in action on its sinking on Nov. 13, 1942. The 79-year-old Fletcher-Class destroyer saw action in World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War, and is a major attraction at The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. The ship was christened by the fallen brothers’ mother, Alleta Sullivan, and is a National Historic Landmark. It holds a special place in this nation’s military history – and a special place on the Buffalo Waterfront.
In February of 2021, damage to the ship’s hull resulted in leaks that put the ship in danger of sinking. The Naval Park launched a successful fundraising campaign, “Save the Sullivans,” to raise the $1 million needed to complete hull repairs.
On Tuesday, the Naval Park hosted an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Seneca One Tower to announce the launch of an endowment campaign to help with the long-term sustainability and preservation of the ship.
“We are so grateful for the support of the community, and to Douglas Jemal and Kelly Sullivan, who volunteered to serve as co-captains of the ‘Save the Sullivans’ campaign.” said Paul Marzello, president and CEO for the park. “Creating an endowment for USS The Sullivans is an important next step to ensure its preservation as a museum ship for many years to come.”
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 17-19, with last admission at 3 p.m. Opening day is Saturday, March 26, with a ceremony scheduled at 10 a.m. For the 2022 season, the Naval Park will be open seven days a week.
The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the nation’s largest inland naval park, and the home of four U.S. Naval vessels: USS The Sullivans, USS Little Rock, USS Croaker and PTF-17. Located on Buffalo’s waterfront, this unique family destination is committed to its mission, which is to honor, educate, inspire, and preserve. More information is available at www.BuffaloNavalPark.org.