Saturday, July 20, 2024
Michael Stone Online

Sailor Helped Carry Lost Sullivan Brothers’ Memory Through World War II

Robert McAlpine stands with his wife of almost 70 years, Lorena, in front of their Gainesville home.

Robert McAlpine stands with his wife of almost 70 years, Lorena, in front of their Gainesville home.

On a pleasant weekday afternoon in his humble, charming Gainesville home, Robert McAlpine flips through a portfolio of drawings finished some 70 years ago.

They bring a touch of horror to this peaceful day: helmeted men stationed at hulking guns, planes shredded to pieces in midair, sailors bobbing in the water beside a fire-engulfed ship.

Personal cameras weren’t allowed for Navy crews during World War II, so after the day’s action, McAlpine would grab some colored pencils and sketch what he remembered.

This was his way of documenting his two years at sea on the U.S.S. The Sullivans, named after the five brothers from Iowa who were killed by a torpedo in 1942 that finished off an already-damaged U.S.S. Juneau and spared only 13 of its crew of 700.

Read the full story in Senior Times magazine.
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