Who were the Sullivan brothers?

   In 1942, five brothers from Waterloo, lowa— George, Francis, Joseph, Madison, and Albert Sullivan—enlisted in the U.S. Navy on condition they be allowed to serve together. All five were assigned to the USS Juneau, a light cruiser on patrol in the South Pacific. On November 13. 1942, during a naval battle for Guadalcanal Island, the Japanese torpedoed the Juneau, killing most of its crew, including the five brothers. Many memorials were later erected to the Sullivans, including a Navy destroyer that was named for them.
   In the decades following the tragedy, it became widely believed that a Sullivan Law had been enacted to prevent the future possibility of family members perishing together in battle. But there is no basis to this myth, and no law has ever been passed to ensure the separate assignment of family members in wartime. The Military Selective Service Act does include a statute that ensures that no "sole surviving son" may be drafted, although he still may volunteer.