BUFFALO — Harsh winter weather and winds have damaged the USS The Sullivans, a World War II-era destroyer at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park that is in danger of sinking.
The park, the largest inland naval museum in North America, reports The Sullivans needs emergency repairs to her hull. The emergency repairs are estimated at $100,000.
Damage to the destroyer, which is a national historic landmark, is below the waterline and the ship is taking on water, Naval Park officials said Friday.
“She is currently listing to port quite noticeably,” a press release stated. “If we cannot repair the hull and stop the water, she will sink.”
The Naval Park has a plan for long-term repair to the hull of The Sullivans that was scheduled to begin this summer. With the work expected to cost more than $1 million, Naval Park officials said they are awaiting final funding from a number of sources.
The Naval Park is using pumps to remove water from the ship.
“However, we are struggling to keep up and more damage could occur,” the press release stated. “We expect another four to six weeks of tough weather ahead, so there is potential for even more hull damage.”
The Naval Park is asking for help from the public to raise the $100,000 for the emergency repairs. Log onto the park’s website at buffalonavalpark.org to make a donation.
A Fletcher-class destroyer, the largest and most important class of U.S. destroyers used in WWII, The Sullivans was named after five brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, who were all killed when their U.S. Navy cruiser, Juneau, was sunk in a South Pacific naval battle against the Japanese on Nov. 13, 1942.
The Sullivans was the only ship in the Navy to be named after more than one person. She was commissioned in 1943 and saw action in the Pacific, shooting down eight Japanese planes, bombarding Iwo Jima and Okinawa, as well as rescuing American pilots and crew from burning or sinking vessels.
She also saw action during the Korean War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The destroyer was decommissioned in 1965, having earned 11 battle stars for meritorious performances.