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USS Juneau: Sunken War Ship discovered in South Pacific, giving local woman closure

Posted at 11:34 PM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 04:08:47-04

The USS Juneau was finally found in the South Pacific March 17, 2018, nearly 76-years after two Japanese torpedoes sank the ship during WWII, killing nearly 700 men.

The ship was found near the Solomon Islands by a crew privately funded by Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen.

Famous sailors on the ship included the five Sullivan brothers, who famously enlisted together, insisting on being on the same ship together. All five brothers died.

A Jupiter woman also lost her only brother on the ship.

Sarah Aston, 97, told WPTV about her late brother, Edward George Francis McNally.

“He was terrific,” Aston said. The two were very close, “all we had was each other,” Aston said.

She remembers the day her then 17-year-old brother told her he enlisted in the Navy.

“I said you’re nuts. You’re too young for that. And he says, well it’s already done,” Aston said.

Nov. 13, 1942, her biggest fear came to fruition.

“I was going to work and I usually picked up the paper, but that day, I didn’t,” Aston said. She got a phone call at work. “They told me the USS Juneau was sunk and my brother was killed,” Aston said.

A series of two torpedoes took the ship down. Some sailors died in the days they were waiting for rescue in the water. Just 10 men survived.

“I just prayed he went in the first blast, that he never ended up in the water with the sharks. That’s all I hoped,” Aston said.

For 76 years, she lived with the mystery, not knowing where the ship ended up.

But all of that changed on March 17, her 97th birthday.

“My granddaughter’s husband called me, and told me that they found the Juneau,” Aston said. “I couldn’t believe it."

The timing of the discovery, to Aston, was no coincidence.

“All I can think of is he sent me happy birthday,” Aston said.

The discovery making her 97th birthday, her best yet.

“Now we know where he is,” Aston said.

McNally was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.