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USS Juneau found by Paul Allen ship in WWII ocean grave

Paul Allen's World War II shipwreck expedition uncovers the USS Juneau and writes a new chapter in the story of the doomed Sullivan brothers.

The USS Juneau propeller as Paul Allen's crew found it resting on the seafloor.
Navigea/R/V Petrel/Paul Allen

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has a lot of unusual hobbies, including massive airplanes and searching for long-lost shipwrecks. His latest accomplishment in the realm of watery disasters is the discovery of the USS Juneau, which sunk in the South Pacific during a naval battle between the US and Japan in 1942.

The crew of Paul Allen's research vessel Petrel confirmed the finding of the USS Juneau using video captured by a remotely operated underwater vehicle on March 18 after first discovering it with sonar the day before. 

The US Office of War Information distributed this poster as a rallying cry for the war effort.

Library of Congress

The St. Patrick's Day timing of the find ties in with the loss of five sailors who all came from the same Irish-American family.

The USS Juneau went down after a torpedo hit from a Japanese submarine, causing the deaths of 687 crew members. Five brothers from the Sullivan family of Waterloo, Iowa, died during the disaster. Just 10 survivors were eventually rescued.

The deaths of the Sullivan brothers became a rallying cry for the US war effort, according to Navy historians. The Library of Congress documents a widely distributed government poster showing the five sailor siblings with the message, "They did their part."

The wreckage of the USS Juneau is located near the Solomon Islands at a depth of around 2.6 miles (4.2 kilometers). 

Allen has led a series of successful expeditions in search of lost warships, including the recent discovery of the the USS Lexington World War II aircraft carrier earlier in March.

The finding of the USS Juneau is particularly resonant due to the lasting interest around the Sullivan brothers and their tragic legacy.

Video footage released on Monday shows the Petrel's investigation of the wreckage and reveals the moment when the crew confirms the ship's identity.