Buffalo --- The USS The Sullivans is upright and stable.
The Echo recently visited the iconic World War II destroyer at its berth in the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
But the ship is not yet fully shipshape as it awaits the arrival of federal funding for necessary repairs that will ensure its long term future.
For now, the ship is held still and stable by metal braces applying pressure to both the hull and dockside.
The braces were applied after the ship began listing and was in danger of sinking last year.
USS The Sullivans honors the five Irish American Sullivan brothers who all served on the same ship in World War II, the USS Juneau. All five perished when the Juneau was sunk.
Members of the public are now allowed on board for guided tours. Docents Peter B and Michael Guillow said that the federal money had still not arrived, but inquiries by the Echo show that the money, which was secured by Senator Charles Schumer, is on the way.
Said Schumer of the needed funding to save the ship when he spoke of the rescue effort last December: “I stood in front of the USS The Sullivans as it started to sink into the harbor and promised I would get all hands on deck to get the funding we needed to restore this pride and joy for Buffalo, our veterans, and strong Irish-American community.
"I am proud to say a promise made is now a promise kept, and funding will soon be on the way to help restore this iconic Western New York landmark, which honors the tragic loss of the five Sullivan brothers.
“Earlier this year the waters ahead looked rocky and rough, but I knew this ship and all it stands for meant too much to Buffalo to let it sink into the abyss. The $7.5 million I have secured in the spending bill, which will pass this week, will give the community the robust financial support it needs to help fund repairs so this beloved vessel can continue to be admired for generations to come. I am happy to deliver this early Christmas present to Buffalo’s Naval Park and to have steered the USS The Sullivans onto safer waters with a brighter future on the horizon.”
What is likely slowing up the arrival of the funding is the fact that it is coming from two sources: $5 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and $2.5 million from the National Parks Service.
Luckily, the money is not tied up in the current debt ceiling negotiations in the nation's capital.
Commissioned in 1943, the USS The Sullivans operated in the Pacific Theater during World War II and is one of four remaining Fletcher-class destroyers left in the world.
The ship is named in honor of the working-class Irish-American family that lost all five of its sons during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. It was decommissioned in 1965 and donated in 1977 to the City of Buffalo.