Wreckage from the USS Juneau -- a World War II cruiser sunk by a Japanese torpedo in 1942 -- has been discovered by a team of explorers led by billionaire Paul Allen on the floor of the South Pacific off the coast of the Solomon Islands, the Microsoft co-founder announced on Monday.
The Juneau was lost on November 13, 1942, during the Battle of Guadalcanal in an attack that ultimately killed 687 men, including five brothers: Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George Sullivan.
Remains of the "Atlanta-class light cruiser" were first identified by sonar on Saturday resting nearly 2.6 miles below the surface.
"We certainly didn't plan to find the Juneau on St. Patrick's Day. The variables of these searches are just too great," Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Paul Allen, said in a news release. "But finding the USS Juneau on Saint Patrick's Day is an unexpected coincidence to the Sullivan brothers and all the service members who were lost 76 years ago."
The Navy has since named two new destroyers "The Sullivans" in honor of the five brothers.
"As the fifth commanding officer of USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), a ship named after five brothers, I am excited to hear that Allen and his team were able to locate the light cruiser USS Juneau (CL 52) that sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal," said Vice Adm. Rich Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces, in a statement. "The story of the USS Juneau crew and Sullivan brothers epitomize the service and sacrifice of our nation's greatest generation."
The discovery of the Juneau came just weeks after a crew led by Paul Allen found wreckage from the USS Lexington -- a US aircraft carrier sunk by the Japanese during World War II -- 500 miles off the Australian coast.