Author Topic: USS Juneau Found - Not halftrack related  (Read 924 times)

steve1973

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USS Juneau Found - Not halftrack related
« on: March 22, 2018, 08:55:38 AM »
I know this isn't halftrack related but I wanted to share with you all.

I got some exciting news when I got home from work Tuesday morning. I was greeted by my Dad and rushed to the computer to watch a video. The video was about the discovery of the wreck USS Juneau CL-52 which sank during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. What is so important about this ship you say. It took the single most loss of any family during WWII, the five Sullivan brothers. I believe there were four Rogers brothers that were also lost in the sinking. This single event is what became the base for the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. There is a great movie about the Sullivan brothers called “The Fighting Sullivans”. A total of 687 crew members lost their lives with only ten survivors.

https://youtu.be/-TrPylyJRBg

So, why is this exciting? Well, back in the early 1980’s my Dad, Steve Andereggen living in Juneau, Alaska at the time, took an interest of the WWII ship that the city he lived in was named after. With little information available he started researching the ship. Remember, this was before the internet, so everything was done via by phone or writing letters. Of the ten survivors he had found five of them still living, Wyart Butterfield, Arther Friend, Allen Heyn, Frank Holmgren and Lester Zook, Captain Swenson’s son, the PBY pilot that rescued them and the captain of the Japanese submarine that sank the Juneau to name a few. My Dad has many hours on interview tapes and letters from these people and much more. He has some artifacts from the ship including an onboard copy of a ship board newspaper. He gave many lectures on the history of the ship and a planned book.
In 1987 he scratch built a custom model of the ship that was on display in the Juneau Airport for many years till it was sold to a museum, he designed and built a memorial for the USS Juneau downtown near the ferry terminal and the biggest thing of all was to help organize a 4th of July celebration honoring the ship and crew. For this the five remaining crew members, Captain Swenson’s Son and the PBY pilot were flown up for the festivities. Also, the third ship, USS Juneau LPD-10 came up from San Diego for the celebration. Dad along with some other dignitaries were lucky enough to be onboard for the trip. I remember meeting the crew and hearing their stories about the sinking. I even had them sign my school yearbook. Here is a video of a partial TV interview on a local show called Rain Country with my Dad.

https://youtu.be/pV34FdjFRxw

Ironically, in 1989 when Dad moved to Springfield, Oregon the first house we lived in was right around the corner from Lester Zook’s house, small world. We were great neighbors for many years till his death. It was truly an honor and a privilege in meeting these fine people over the years and listening to their stories.

Steve A.

8683jb

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Re: USS Juneau Found - Not halftrack related
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2018, 11:12:08 AM »
Great stuff Steve. Thanks for posting it.
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WayOffTrack

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Re: USS Juneau Found - Not halftrack related
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2018, 02:20:07 PM »
It really is great stuff. I hope someday Mr. Allen searches for the USS Houston, The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast.

rcassin

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Re: USS Juneau Found - Not halftrack related
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2018, 05:19:07 PM »
Very interesting. Here is a well done show on youtube that talks about the ship and what is real and not from the movie, "Saving Private Ryan" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2vzruzHEhU
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Hammerhead

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Re: USS Juneau Found - Not halftrack related
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2018, 07:40:32 AM »
There was a great book by Dan Kurzman titled "Left to Die; the Tragedy of the USS Juneau".  Sadly so many survived the sinking but then died due to exposure, wounds and horribly, numerous shark attacks.  Shocking too was the fact that 2 and some witnesses said 3 of the Sullivans survived the sinking but not the aftermath.  Very well written book.  He also wrote a detailed book called "Fatal Voyage" about the USS Indianapolis sinking.