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USS The Sullivans DD 537 was originally laid down as Putnam on 10 October 1942, at San Francisco by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation. She was initially renamed Sullivan until President Franklin Roosevelt changed the name to The Sullivans to clarify that the name honored all five Sullivan brothers.  The name was made official on 6 February 1943, and launched 4 April 1943. The ship was sponsored by Mrs. Thomas F. Sullivan, the mother of the five Sullivan brothers. The Sullivans was commissioned on 30 September 1943.

The Sullivans received nine battle stars for World War II service and two for Korean service. On 7 January 1965, The Sullivans was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and she remained in reserve into the 1970s. In 1977, she and cruiser USS Little Rock were processed for donation to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park in Buffalo, New York. The ship now serves as a memorial and is open for public tours.

The ship was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. On 26 February 2021 it was reported that The Sullivans was taking on water and listing. It was stated that the ship's age and possible weather damage were the most likely cause for the leak below the waterline.

On 14 April 2022, the ship began to list and appeared to sit lower in the water than usual; crews told a reporter that electrical power to the ship had been lost. A later public statement reported "a serious hull breach" that was under investigation, with part of the ship resting on the riverbed, but still mostly above water. An assessment below deck in May called the damage to the ship's interior considerable.

In August 2022, The Sullivans reopened for visits after repairs.

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