Madison Abel “Matt” Sullivan

Madison Abel “Matt” Sullivan

Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa, USA
Death 13 Nov 1942 (aged 23)
At Sea
Cenotaph Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Memorial Section MC 31-M
Memorial ID 10089 · View Source
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World War II United States Navy Sailor. A native of Waterloo, Iowa, he enlisted in the United States Navy in January 1942, joining brothers George, Frank, Joseph and Albert in the service under the stipulation that they serve together. While the United States Navy had no policy obligating it to such a request, it was honored, and all five were assigned to the Atlanta-class light cruiser "USS Juneau" (CL-52). The ship and her crew participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign in the South Pacific, a conflict that ran from August 1942 to February 1943. On November 13, 1942 the "Juneau" was struck by two Japanese torpedoes, one of which struck near the vessel's ammunition magazine, causing a huge explosion that sank the ship within minutes. All five Sullivans became casualties - Frank, Joseph and Madison in the explosion, Albert by drowning the next day, George a few days later after he slipped into the water while floating with other survivors and never returned. Due to the fact that the campaign was ongoing, Naval secrecy kept the parents of the Sullivan brothers from being notified of their sacrifices until the next January. The five brothers soon were hailed as heroes, and became known in popular memory as the "Fighting Sullivan Brothers". In April 1943 a Fletcher-class destroyer was named "USS The Sullivans" (DD-537) in their honor - the first United States Navy vessel named for more than one person. In 1944 a Hollywood version of their story in the motion picture "The Fighting Sullivans". As a direct result of the death of the five siblings in one action, the United States Military adopted the "Sole Survivor" policy in 1948. Each brother has a memorial cenotaph for them in Arlington National Cemetery, and their names are inscribe on the Tablets of the Missing in the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila City, Philippines.

Bio by: R


US Navy
World War II
Purple Heart
USS Juneau
Brother in Arms



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 21 Jun 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 10089
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Madison Abel “Matt” Sullivan (8 Nov 1919–13 Nov 1942), Find a Grave Memorial no. 10089, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .