The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) returned to Mayport Naval Station Dec. 21, marking the end of a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
“The Sullivans led operations daily in the Arabian Gulf that directly impacted freedom of navigation through the Strait of Hormuz, and strengthened ties with our partners in 5th Fleet,” said Cmdr. Pat Eliason, commanding officer of The Sullivans.
“Our Sullivans Sailors proudly stood watch as we escorted ships through the Strait of Hormuz, they shook hands with Sailors from Iraq and Kuwait during a maritime security exercise in the Gulf, served the community ashore in ports we visited, and navigated professionally and safely under pressure. The Sullivans crew proved again and again that they have the grit and professionalism that it takes to represent the U.S. Navy and the memory of the Sullivan brothers while deployed.”
The crew navigated over 40,000 nautical miles, completed two Strait of Gibraltar transits, two Suez Canal transits, two Bab-el Mandeb transits, and 14 transits through the Strait of Hormuz.
The crew also conducted 20 underway replenishments and 24 sea and anchor details during port visits to Rota, Spain; Limassol, Cyprus; Souda Bay, Crete; Manama, Bahrain; Muscat, Oman; Fujairah, United Arab Emirates; and Duqm, Oman.
The Sullivans provided 5th and 6th Fleet Commanders support across 20 warfare areas from surface warfare to ballistic missile defense and air defense. For a large portion of the crew’s deployment in 5th Fleet, The Sullivans was the only Arleigh Burke destroyer in the Arabian Gulf, operating with U.S Navy Cyclone-class patrol ships and Combined Maritime Forces partners to preserve the free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation in the Gulf.
While operating independently in the Arabian Gulf, The Sullivans led the 2018 Trilateral Exercise with U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships alongside the Iraqi and Kuwaiti navies. The exercise afforded the opportunity for the three countries to practice cooperative maritime security tactics and operations in the Gulf. The Sullivans also provided layered defense and command and control for the 2018 Griffin Missile Exercise with four U.S Navy Cyclone-class patrol ships. Upon arrival of Amphibious Ready Group One in U.S. 5th Fleet, The Sullivans provided layered defense for USS Essex (LHD 2) in support of Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter missions to ensure stability and security in the Central region.
USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) is named to honor five brothers from Waterloo, Iowa who served together aboard USS Juneau during World War II. The Sullivan brothers – George, Francis, Joseph, Madison, and Albert, lost their lives during the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942. They were adamant about serving together in spite of the Navy wartime policy to separate family members. Surviving the brothers were their parents, Thomas and Alleta, their sister Genevieve, and the youngest brother’s wife, Katherine, and their son, James.
The family today includes two grandchildren of Albert Sullivan: Kelly Ann Sullivan Loughren and John Sullivan.
USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) is the second U.S. warship to be named in honor of the Sullivans brothers.