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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 18-A The Buffalo Naval & Servicemen's Park (1991)

18-A The Buffalo Naval & Servicemen's Park (1991)

Narrative by - David M. Rote
(Narratives are copyrighted)

Opened in June of 1979 on a six acre site along the Buffalo River, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Servicemen's Park is the largest inland park of its kind in the United States.

The park's museum facility has a full size lithograph of this watercolor on permanent display and until recently included the extensive Gillis model ship collection. Moored here are the guided missile cruiser USS Little Rock, the destroyer USS The Sullivans which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 by the Department of the Interior and the submarine USS Croaker.

The USS Croaker was commissioned in 1944 and had 6 Pacific war patrols, sunk eleven Japanese ships and was awarded 3 battle stars during the later stages of World War II. Decommissioned in 1971, the vessel arrived in Buffalo in 1988.

The guided missile cruiser USS Little Rock was originally commissioned in 1945 as a light cruiser and later recommissioned as a missile cruiser in 1960. She served as flagship for the 2nd and 6th Fleets and saw service in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic. She was decommissioned in 1976 at the close of the nation's bicentennial year.

The USS The Sullivans, commissioned in 1943, was named by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in honor of the five Sullivan brothers who served together during World War II on the cruiser USS Juneau. On November 13, 1942 the USS Juneau, in service at Guadalcanal, was sunk by a Japanese submarine and the brother, along with seven hundred fellow sailors, lost their lives. The parents of the five brothers, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas F. Sullivan, were sponsors of the new destroyer when it was launched at San Francisco on April 4, 1943. The USS The Sullivans saw action in the Marshalls and Philippines in the Pacific theater during World War II and also served in the Korean War, The Cuban Blockade and assisted in the rescue efforts of the nuclear submarine Thresher which was lost at sea. In the view depicted in this painting, The Sullivans is hidden by the larger USS Little Rock.

Other interesting exhibits include jet airplanes, a tank, an armored personnel carrier and a PTF boat. Memorials to veterans of Korea and Viet Nam are nearby and are often visited sites. Soaring in the background is the Skyway, a major link between Buffalo and the Southtowns which was opened in October of 1955.