• Tue. May 30th, 2023


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World War II Navy Ship Is Tilting Into the Buffalo Waterfront

He suggested that age played a role in the ship’s breach. “The problem is that we have an 80-year-old vessel that was meant to serve about 25 years, and she served us honorably,” he said. “Was she meant to be a museum ship? That was never in the plan. We are making it the plan because of what she symbolizes.”

Mayor Byron W. Brown, also speaking at the news conference, said Buffalo was “deeply concerned about the condition” of the ship. “This is an important part of our U.S. naval heritage,” he said.

Commissioned in 1943, The Sullivans is one of four remaining examples of the Fletcher-class destroyer left in the world, according to the park. The ship measures 376 feet long and was crewed by 310 sailors.

Named after five brothers who died during the battle of Guadalcanal, the destroyer left Pearl Harbor in 1944 and served in the Pacific for the remainder of World War II. According to the U.S. Navy, The Sullivans bombarded airfields on Iwo Jima, defended against Japanese air attacks, searched for submarines, rescued American sailors and Japanese merchant seaman, and supported the invasion of Okinawa.

The ship also saw action during the Korean War, supporting carriers as they attacked North Korean supply lines. The ship received nine battle stars for its service in World War II, and two for the Korean War, according to the Navy.

The ship was the first ship in the Navy to be named for more than one person, the park said. It was decommissioned in 1965 and donated in 1977 to Buffalo, where it has been designated a landmark for decades.

In 2018, the ship started sinking because of a crack in its hull, according to a local news station, WKBW-TV. The park ran a fund-raising campaign to pay for the repairs, raising $1 million by late 2021.