Richard Sullinger

Sharna Johnson

Designated as the flagship for the convoy entering Tokyo Bay, the USS San Diego…

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

Richard Sullinger
Date of birth: Dec. 27,1923
Dates of service: 1943 to 1946
Hometown: Pierce City, Miss.
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Pacific
Branch: Navy
Rank: 2nd class radar/radioman
Unit and specialty: USS San Diego
Discharge location: Pierce City

In his words: Designated as the flagship for the convoy entering Tokyo Bay, the USS San Diego was the first ship to enter the heart of enemy territory, on the heels of minesweepers who secured the way.

Anticipation and nervousness reigned supreme among the sailors as they were told to be prepared if the surrender didn’t hold.

Riot squads were trained and on the ready as days of waiting ensued.

“I had a little book and I managed to get something scribbled nearly every day,” said Sullinger, who kept a journal while on ship heading into Tokyo Bay — although keeping a journal was a violation of the rules.

Hiding the journal in his pillow and anywhere else he could, he documented the final days of the war onboard the USS San Diego before the peace treaty was signed by Japan.

“I look back and I wish I would have put in more details. Being (a radioman) I was getting messages from the admiral to the captain that a lot of people didn’t get,” he said.

Waiting for the impending end to the war, sailors packed the top deck, trying to get a view of the high-profile officers who were arriving.

Sullinger also remembers the crew listening to the signing of the surrender on the radio.

“Coming home was about the most important thing we thought of; the sooner we got out of that place the better off we were,” he said.

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: