USS Little Rock & The Sullivans Celebrate 40 Years

Ceremony on Saturday morning at the hangar

Mike Baggerman
July 15, 2017 - 5:56 am

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Buffalo and Erie County's Naval and Military Park will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the USS Little Rock and the USS The Sullivans on Saturday morning at the hangar.

"At that time we are going to have families of the crew members who brought the ships from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard to Buffalo," Don Alessi, board member at the Naval Park, said. "We're going to present those family members with a memento of the 40th anniversary and belatedly thank them for what their family members did in bringing these two ships to Buffalo."

Alessi said he and other board members are not aware of any living crew members.

"It's something we should have done a long time ago," he said. "Without them bringing ships to Buffalo, we would not have a Naval Park. Or if we did, it would have been very limited. We are totally in debt in their gratitude for what they did."

According to Alessi, most of the crew members were Buffalo of City employees who traveled to Philadelphia to acquire the Sullivan. Seven men took a bus down to Pennsylvania to get the ship ready for sailing to Buffalo.

"It took about a week for these fellows to get the ship ready because it had been lying there in Philadelphia for a couple of years," Alessi explained. "While there, the crew members were made an offer. They said that if the City of Buffalo was interested in a cruiser then we could have the Little Rock. They jumped at the thought of it."

He said the future continues to shine bright for Buffalo's Naval Park.

"Last year we had over a million-and-a-half people at Canalside. Our attendance was the greatest it has ever been. Part of that attendance was from visitors from all 48 states and 120 countries...We get more and more people coming down all the time."

Saturday's ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m.


LISTEN: Don Alessi from Buffalo's Naval Park discusses the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the USS Little Rock and USS Sullivan

Naval Park - Don Alessi RAW .mp3

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