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USS The Sullivans (DDG 68)

USS THE SULLIVANS is the second ship in the Navy named after the five Sullivan brothers. Homeported in Mayport, Fla., she is part of the Atlantic Fleet. According to the German news magazine "Der Spiegel", in January 2000, 10 months before the attack on USS COLE (DDG 67) in Aden, USS THE SULLIVANS was the target of a failed terrorist attack in the port of Aden, Yemen.

General Characteristics:Keel Laid: June 14, 1993
Launched: August 12, 1995
Commissioned: April 19, 1997
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Propulsion system: four General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines
Propellers: two
Blades on each Propeller: five
Length: 505,25 feet (154 meters)
Beam: 67 feet (20.4 meters)
Draft: 30,5 feet (9.3 meters)
Displacement: approx. 8.300 tons full load
Speed: 30+ knots
Aircraft: None. But LAMPS 3 electronics installed on landing deck for coordinated DDG/helicopter ASW operations.
Armament: two MK 41 VLS for Standard missiles, Tomahawk; Harpoon missile launchers, one Mk 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight gun, two Phalanx CIWS, Mk 46 torpedoes (from two triple tube mounts)
Homeport: Mayport, Fla.
Crew: 23 Officers, 24 Chief Petty Officers and 291 Enlisted

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS THE SULLIVANS. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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USS THE SULLIVAN's Commanding Officers:

April 19, 1997 - September 4, 1998Commander Gerard D. Roncolato, USN
September 4, 1998 - February 9, 2000Commander E. Scott Hebner, USN
February 9, 2000 - July 2001Commander Daniel Paul Keller, USN
July 2001 - March 2003Commander Dixon R. Smith, USN
March 2003 - December 2004Commander Richard A. Brown, USN
December 2004 - June 2006Commander Wade F. Wilkenson, USN
June 2006 - December 2007Commander Anhtony J. Parisi, USN
December 2007 - August 2009Commander Ryan C. Tillotson, USN
August 2009 - May 2010Commander Neil E. Funtanilla, USN
May 2010 - June 2010Commander Robert J. Cepek, USN
June 2010 - September 2011Commander Mark A. Olson, USN
September 2011 - November 2011Commander Sylvester L. Steele, USN
November 2011 - May 2012Commander Derick S. Armstrong, USN
May 2012 - June 2012Captain John M. Esposito, USN
June 2012 - April 2013Commander Wesley A. Smith, USN
April 2013 - October 2014Commander Samuel F. de Castro, USN
October 2014 - presentCommander Jennifer M. Blakeslee, USN

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USS THE SULLIVANS was laid down on 14 June 1993 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works Co.; launched on 12 August 1995; sponsored by Kelly Sullivan Loughren, granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan; and commissioned at Staten Island, N.Y., on 19 April 1997, Commander Gerard D. Roncolato in command.

On 26 April, THE SULLIVANS departed New York for Norfolk where, after arriving on the 27th, the crew completed underway replenishment qualifications with PLATTE (AO 186). The warship then sailed for Mayport on 29 April and arrived in her new homeport on 2 May.

After completing two days of gunnery trials in mid-May, THE SULLIVANS embarked upon her shakedown deployment to the West Indies on 27 May. That cruise took her to the waters off Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where the destroyer conducted numerous sonar, gunnery, and torpedo exercises. The warship also twice entered Roosevelt Roads and stopped once at St. Thomas for port visits. On 29 June, THE SULLIVANS conducted test firings of Standard SM-2 ER missiles from her vertical launch system (VLS). After a brief stop at Mayport for the 4 July weekend, the warship joined other ARLEIGH BURKE - class destroyers, cruisers, destroyers, and frigates off the Virginia Capes for a multiple-ship missile firing exercise. She returned to Mayport on the 12th for upkeep.

Following three days of damage control exercises in mid-August, the crew began preparations for a post shakedown availability. She sailed for Maine on 3 September, arriving at Bath Iron Works on the 5th. The shipyard repainted the hull, altered the superstructure, and installed equipment upgrades in the engineering plant and combat systems suite. When the yard work was completed THE SULLIVANS got underway for Mayport, arriving there on the 23 November.

On 8 December the destroyer joined ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) off Georgia for a week of underway training. While providing plane guard services on the 11th, a McDonnell Douglas T-45A trainer ("Goshawk") splashed following take-off. THE SULLIVANS made a high-speed dash to the site. While the carrier's rescue helicopter safely rescued the pilot, boats launched by THE SULLIVANS picked up considerable pieces of wreckage which were helpful in determining the cause of the crash. The crew also completed helicopter deck landing qualifications before returning to port for the holidays on the 12th.

In January 1998, the crew of THE SULLIVANS began a series of exercises designed "to build the capability for long-term self-sustained training onboard." They included engineering, combat, seamanship, and battle scenario training exercises. These local operations lasted until 18 May when the warship got underway for New York and the annual "Fleet Week" celebrations.

Following a week long port visit, THE SULLIVANS got underway on 26 May for Halifax, Nava Scotia to conduct training workups for the upcoming Exercise "Unified Spirit `98." During the exercise she joined an amphibious task force formed around NASSAU (LHA 4), two LPDs, and two LSDs. The warship screened the "gator" ships during an exercise focusing on multi-national peace enforcement operations. Ships from Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, and Portugal also participated in the exercise. After this exercise, the ship visited Boston and then sailed with relatives and family for Mayport, arriving on 1 July.

After a summer of conducting midshipmen training off the Florida coast, Commander Roncolato was relieved by Commander E. Scott Hebner, USN, in a change of command ceremony on 4 September 1998. THE SULLIVANS is assigned to Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Four, a component of the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) Battle Group. In 1999, the ship participated in various training exercises to prepare for her maiden deployment in October to the Mediterranean and then in 2000 continued into the Arabian Sea and participated in exercises and boarding operations until late March. On 9 February, 2000, Commander Daniel Paul Keller, USN relieved Commander Heber in a change of command ceremony, held at sea on station in the Arabian Gulf. After port visits in the Persian Gulf, she returned through the Mediterranean to her homeport in April 2000, successfully completing her first six month deployment. After participating in BEACHFEST at Port Canaveral, FL, THE SULLIVANS underwent a major maintenance overhaul to prepare for future operations.

In February 2002, the destroyer again deployed with the KENNEDY Battle Group to the Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In mid-August 2002, THE SULLIVANS returned to Mayport.

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Accidents aboard USS THE SULLIVANS:

July 22, 2015off VirginiaA SM-2 Block IIIA missile detonates during a test launch while the ship is underway off the coast of Virginia. The explosion causes a small fire on the ship's stern and slightly damages THE SULLIVANS' port side. No injuries are reported. The photo below is an official US Navy photo taken just after the explosion.

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About the Ship’s Name:

Destroyers are named for naval heroes and leaders. Thus the Navy decided to honor the five Sullivan brothers by naming a new destroyer THE SULLIVANS. This name has caused some confusion because the Navy does not use the article "the" in front of the names of its ships. In this particular instance "the" is part of the ship's name.

George, Francis, Joseph, Madison, and Albert Sullivan, all sailors from Waterloo, Iowa, gave their lives in World War II, when on November 12, 1942, the cruiser JUNEAU (CL 52) was sunk during the battle of Guadalcanal. Tragically, most of the crew was lost, including all five Sullivan brothers.

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The photos below were taken by me and show THE SULLIVANS at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., on July 31, 2000.

The photos below were taken by Verena Suess and show THE SULLIVANS at Reykjavik, Iceland, on July 6, 2013. The port visit was the first stop for THE SULLIVANS after her departure from Mayport, Fla., on June 24, 2013. The ship is presently on an independent deployment.

The photo below was taken by Michael Jenning and shows THE SULLIVANS at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., on April 28, 2015.

The photos below were taken by me and show THE SULLIVANS getting underway from Faslane, UK., on October 4, 2015, to join Exercise Joint Warrior 15-2. Note the markings on the portside of the 5-inch gun on the first two photos.

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