World War II Navy Pharmacist’s Mate Sully Sullivan, RIP

Sully Sullivan, U.S.S. Barnwell Veteran, posing so I can get him in the same picture as his WW II license plate.

A Wonder Lake man who went through hell as a World War II Navy Corpsman in the Pacific has returned to his Maker.

Corpsman Sully Sullivan with one stripe.

Official Navy photo of Sully Sullivan.

A school photo of Sully Sullivan.

I met Sully Sullivan at my father-in-law’s kitchen as the two had one of their frequent discussions last spring.

He told me he had been out on Thompson Road collecting money and giving away poppies for McHenry VFW Post 460.

He was so excited that a young woman had stopped to drop some money in his can and thanked him for serving his country.”]

Sully Sullivan's Pharmacists' Mate stripes were in his box of photos.

Sullivan said he had never been thanked before.

We have all heard the abysmal way Vietnam Veterans were treated when they returned home.

While World Two Veterans were welcomed as heroes, the history books taught me.

But, from Sully’s revelation, it seems that expressing gratitude to the men who fought to keep Japanese from obtaining its Emperor’s and general’s world domination ambitions in check would be appropriate.


Sullivan was 85.

Donald B. Sullivan's service record as a Pharmacist's Mate.

Sully was a Navy Corpsman.

The Japanese surrender was a big deal for McHenry County. Until relatively recently, Woodstock held an annual VJ Day Parade. Click to enlarge any photo.

The title then was “Pharmacist’s Mate.”

September 2nd was the date of the surrender signing ceremony on the battleship USS Missouri.

He assisted a doctor who had a camera, the source of the WW II photos you see posted here.

The physician got a photo of Emperor Hirohito's diplomatic and military representatives leaving the unconditional surrender ceremony.

The physician must have been well-placed, as his photos of the surrender of the Japanese place him on the ship where the Emperor signed the surrender papers.

USS Barnwell

The two served on the USS Barnwell.  There is a video tribute to the ship’s service here.  It was amphibious attack transport ship.

An unidentified girl in Hawaii posed for the doctor's camera.

The sailors seem to have had fun in Hawaii.  There were girls at home who sent their photos with letters to Sullivan.

As the ship crossed the International Date Line, the newbies underwent hazing.

They had fun on the ship, especially crossing the International Dateline.

Haircuts that would not be appealing to the ladies in Chicago were administratered f\during the initiation

It appears there was a wet towel gauntlet during the International Dateline initiation, plus a butchering of the sailors’ hair.

Neptune on the way to the main deck to presidde over the USS Barnwell's International Dateline ceremony.

Neptune presided over the ceremony.

International Dateline initiates seem to have had to take a swim in a tank of water.

Perhaps someone can explain in the comment section what happens in the Navy when a ship crosses the International Dateline.

The docs on the ship also had some fun.

The doctors on the ship check the health of the amphibious assault ship USS Barnwell.

A dressed up Sully Sullivan poses next to one of the USS Barnwell's guns.

This photo of what I assume is Sully Sullivan straddling one of the big guns on the USS Barnwell.

Sullivan’s box of memorabilia also had some graphic war shots, which

The docs had some fun, too.

It appears that even non-combatants posed with the ship’s guns.

Pharmacist’s Mates were apparently lab techs, as well as battlefield assistants.

The article below gave those on the USS Barnwell some publicity:

Sully Sullivan is on the right of the photo above. Also shown are R.J. Undes, C.F. Kaiser and J.D. Bartlett.

The memorabilia box also had some graphic battlefield photos, which prompted the first sentence of this article.

Before I show them, here are the funeral arrangements:

Visitation – from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, at Schneider-Leucht-Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary Ave., in Woodstock, and from 10-11 before the funeral mass at St. Mary Catholic Church, 312 Lincoln Ave., Woodstock on Wednesday, July 27. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Woodstock with military honors provided by Woodstock VFW Post 5040.

This conquered Pacific island was not identified.

Dead Japanese soldiers lie on the beach.

A dead soldier lies exposed to the sun.

This appears to be somewhat inland from the beach.

After a battle to take a Pacific island. during World War II.

This photo has a caption: "Marines march off one of very few Japanese prisoners." Sullivan told me prisoners were stripped to make sure they did not have concealed weapons.

Many dead Japanese soldiers are seen in this photo.

A Japanese bunker than has been cleaned out.

Destroyed World War II Japanese tank.

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Thanks to my citizen editors for the needed corrections noted in comments below. They have been incorporated in the story.


World War II Navy Pharmacist’s Mate Sully Sullivan, RIP — 6 Comments

  1. Great pictures.

    And thanks for your service Sully. Rest in peace.

    A small nit, Cal, Emperor Hirohito did not attend the surrender on the USS Missouri. He sent his diplomatic and military representatives to sign the documents.

    “The instrument was first signed by the Japanese foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu “By Command and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government” (9:04 a.m.).[1] Then General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, “By Command and on behalf of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters” Wikipedia

    MacArthur didn’t meet the Emperor until September 27, 1945.

  2. I am betting they stripped the soldiers in lieu of striping them as you state. Do you know why obits generally don’t include the residential address of the deceased? Same applies to displaying their license plate.

  3. One more issue. The photo caption says “August 8th was the date of the surrender signing ceremony on the battleship USS Missouri.”

    The signing ceremony occurred on September 2, 1945, not August 8.

  4. My Dad was a Pharmacist’s Mate, and at some point the name was combined and/or changed to Hospital Corpsman.

    My Dad retired in 1962 Chief Hospital Corpsman.

    I enjoyed reviewing your blog page.

  5. My father Winham E. “Pete” Yeager was also Pharmacist’s Mate aboard the Barnwell.

    He never spoke of the events he witnessed during his service of WWII in the Pacific.

    After seeing the pictures in your blog, I now understand. I am very proud of my Dad and his service to his country.

    There were five Yeager brothers, all served in the US Navy during WWII.

    They have all passed now, my Dad in 2002, the others before and after.

    The men of this war were a breed of extraordinary gentlemen.

    This memorial day, 2014, I want to say thanks to all who have served our United States of America for my freedom as well as my children’s freedom, and God willing their children.

    We must keep their memories alive, even though when living, they wished to forget the horrors of war.

    My Dad carried in his wallet, until his death, a small I.D. card bearing: The Secret Order of the Deep, longitudes and latitudes. and the year, but not a specific date, upon crossing the equator while on the Barnwell.

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to post.

  6. Sailors who have already crossed the Equator are nicknamed (Trusty/Honorable) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune;those crossing for the first time are Pollywogs.

    After crossing the line, Pollywogs receive subpoenas to appear before King Neptune and his court (usually including his first assistant Davy Jones and her Highness Amphitrite and often various dignitaries, who are all represented by the highest ranking seamen), who officiate at the ceremony, which is often preceded by a beauty contest of men dressing up as women, each department of the ship being required to introduce one contestant in swimsuit drag.

    Afterwards, some wogs may be “interrogated” by King Neptune and his entourage, and the use of “truth serum” (hot sauce + after shave) and whole uncooked eggs put in the mouth. During the ceremony, the Pollywogs undergo a number of increasingly embarrassing ordeals (wearing clothing inside out and backwards; crawling on hands and knees on nonskid-coated decks; being swatted with short lengths of firehose; being locked in stocks and pillories and pelted with mushy fruit; being locked in a water coffin of salt-water and bright green sea dye (fluorescent sodium salt); crawling through chutes or large tubs of rotting garbage; kissing the Royal Baby’s belly coated with axle grease, hair chopping, etc.), largely for the entertainment of the Shellbacks.

    Once the ceremony is complete, each Pollywog receives a certificate declaring his new status as a Shellback.

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