USS The Sullivans (DD-537) is a World War II Fletcher class destroyer. She was built by the Bethlehem Steel Company in San Francisco, California. She was launched April 4, 1943, and was commissioned September 30, 1943.
As the United States in World War II built more Fletcher class destroyers than any other, this class is particularly significant and played a major role in our nation's victory at sea. This class was the first to break with design practices that had developed as a result of the London Treaty of 1930. Fletcher class destroyers were flush deckers with two funnels and five 5-inch guns. They were larger in size than any previous class of destroyers and when full y loaded carried the fuel, ammunition, and stores needed for extensive sea duty in the Pacific. Their larger size enabled them to employ their 5-inch guns in enclosed mounts. They had 10 torpedo tubes in two quintuple banks, depth charges, and large batteries of antiaircraft guns.
USS The Sullivans was modernized in the 1950s to meet the changing conditions of naval warfare. One 5-inch gun and both quintuple banks of torpedo tubes were removed. Six deck-mounted torpedo tubes, loaded with modern Mark 44 torpedoes were installed. USS The Sullivans is in good condition and retains much of her World War II integrity. The interior spaces of USS The Sullivans are not open to the public, at this time, because of the presence of asbestos fibers. As soon as the asbestos fibers are removed the interior of the ship will be restored and opened to the public.
Role of the Destroyer in World War II
The destroyer had its origin in the late-19th century with the development of the first self-propelled torpedo. Navies quickly developed small fast torpedo boats designed to attack and sink larger battleships and cruisers. As a counter against torpedo boats, navies built a slightly larger ship, armed with torpedoes and heavier guns. These 900-ton ships were known as torpedo boat destroyers. World War I showed these ships suited to protecting larger ships against surface, submarine, and air attack. Also, they proved more effective offensively than torpedo boats, and assumed the attack role. By the end of World War I, they were simply known as "destroyers." 
The destroyer during World War II continued in this role as an all-purpose ship ready to fight off attacks from the air, on the surface, or from below the sea. They could be called upon to give fire support to troops, deliver mail and people to other ships, rescue pilots who had been forced down at sea, and to serve as the distant early warning eyes of the fleet in hostile waters.  Destroyers did not have the glamour of a battleship or an aircraft carrier but without them the aircraft carrier and battleship would be helpless against enemy submarines. They were all-purpose ships whose support of general fleet operations was vital. No aircraft carrier or battleship ever proceeded into enemy waters without an escort of destroyers.
USS The Sullivans represents American destroyers that fought against Japan in World War II for the following reasons:
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No author, USS Kidd (Information Brochure) March 1984.
Preston, Anthony. Destroyers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1977.
Schofield, William G. Destroyers--60 Years. New York: Rand McNally & Company, 1962.
(click on the above photographs for a more detailed view)