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Naval Warfare

USS Saratoga (CV-60)

Conventional Powered Aircraft Carrier [ 1956 ]

The USS Saratoga is currently slated for disposal with several failed attempts having been made to preserve her as a floating museum.

Authored By: JR Potts, AUS 173d AB and Dan Alex | Last Edited: 09/26/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The crew called her "Sara" and USS Saratoga (CV-60) was ordered as a "Large Aircraft Carrier", the fifth ship in the United States Navy (USN) to carry that battle name. Originally ordered with the identifier of "CVB-60", Saratoga became the second of four-strong Forrestal-class aircraft carriers reclassified as "Attack Aircraft Carrier" - "CVA-60", this on October 1st, 1952. She was ordered on July 23rd, 1952 and saw her keel was laid down on December 16th of that year by New York Naval Shipyard in New York City, New York. She was officially launched on October 8th, 1955 and formally commissioned on April 14th, 1956. Her class included lead ship USS Forrestal (CV-59), USS Independence (CV-62, and USS Ranger (CV-70. All were conventionally-powered vessels.

Her machinery included 8 x Babcock and Wilcox boilers feeding 4 x geared turbines developing 280,000 horsepower to 4 x shafts. This allowed the vessel to make headway at 35 knots in ideal conditions. Her dimensions included a running length of 1,063 feet, a beam of 252 feet, and a draught of 37 feet. Her complete crew complement numbered 5,540 personnel. Air search and surface search radars provided the needed situational awareness apart from her accompanying fleet of ships that surrounded the carrier.

For its first few months, Saratoga conducted various flights, steering, high speed runs, and gunnery tests. In August of 1956, she sailed for Guantanamo, Cuba for her shakedown cruise, returning to her homeport of Mayport, Florida - having passed all of the required bench marks and test specifications. On June 6th, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and members of his cabinet boarded Saratoga to observe operations onboard the ship. To show the speed of delivery inherent in the modern USN air wing, an operation was conducted featuring nonstop flight of two Vought F8U Crusader fighters arriving in three hours and twenty-eight minutes from the West Coast, having launched from USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31).

Saratoga departed Mayport for the Mediterranean and her first deployment was with the Sixth Fleet. On July 15th, 1958, amphibious units landed 1,800 U.S. Marines on the beach near Beirut, Lebanon to support the Lebanese government while aircraft from USS Saratoga and USS Essex (CV-9) flew air cover. The actions of the Marines on the ground supported by two carrier air wings flying numerous sorties led to no loss of American lives and resolution to the situation within a matter of days. During this action, Attack Squadron 34, flying Douglas A-4D Skyhawk fighters from Saratoga's air wing, was the first squadron deployed to the Sixth Fleet equipped with "Bullpup" missiles.

The Cold War was in full swing for in July of 1968. Saratoga departed Mayport for her ninth Mediterranean deployment. While underway, a Soviet surface force, and a November-class submarine, passed in close proximity while en route to Communist Cuba. Continuing on to the Azores, Saratoga was in contact with Kipelovo-based Soviet aircraft. The standard procedure was to launch the air CAP (Combat Air Patrol) and intercept bogie Soviet aircraft challenging them and ultimately force a course change or risk being shot down. The former was accomplished and the Soviet aircraft were escorted out of the carrier's vicinity.©MilitaryFactory.com
During September, Saratoga was in Mediterranean waters to show the flag in response to a Soviet fleet operating in the area. Tensions increased when a Trans-World Airlines plane heading to Syria was hijacked. Saratoga countered with numerous surveillance and reconnaissance flights conducted by Carrier Wing Three against Soviet surface units in the area.

In May of 1972, Saratoga sailed from Mayport en route to Vietnam, arriving at "Yankee Station" for May 18th - this marked her first deployment in an active combat zone. Her air arm lost four aircraft and three pilots to enemy aircraft and ground-based Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems and flak cannon fire. In June of 1972, Saratoga was re-classified as a "Multi-Purpose Aircraft Carrier" which changed her designation to "CV-60". During a seventeen day period in September of 1972, Saratoga air wings flew over 800 combat sorties against targets in North Vietnam. In November her aircraft flew 83 Close-Air Support (CAS) sorties over the span of six hours in support of a force of 250 ARVN troops cut-off by the North Vietnamese. Saratoga departed "Yankee Station" for the United States and arrived at Mayport in February of 1973.

Another Mediterranean deployment met the ship in 1980. In September, she was given an overhaul and returned to Mediterranean waters for April 1984. Grumman F-14 Tomcats from her decks trailed a hijacked Egypt Air 737 airliner which held terrorists wanted in the connection of the Achille Lauro luxury liner hijacking. No missiles were fired and the hijackers were taken into customer by Italian authorities. In 1985, during its time in the Indian Ocean, Saratoga's air wing confronted several belligerent Libyan vessels with success. During June of 1987, Saratoga underwent an overhaul.

In January of 1991, Operation Desert Shield became "Operation Desert Storm". Aircraft from USS Saratoga flew against Iraq in the first step to knock out Saddam Hussein's invasion force and drive its elements out of U.S. ally (and oil-rich) Kuwait. Sara's aircraft dropped more than four million pounds of ordnance on enemy targets in both Kuwait and Iraq territories. With her work done, and Hussein's military neutered, Saratoga departed the Gulf region on March 11th, 1991. After seven months and 21 days, 11,700 arrested landings, 12,700 sorties flown, and having traveled a record 36,382 miles - Saratoga's return home was greeted by family and grateful citizens to a hero's welcome.

Saratoga, the Navy's oldest active duty carrier, sailed to the rendezvous point with her relief, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73). She then arrived pier-side for the last time in Sara's 38-year career at Naval Station Mayport in Florida on June 24th, 1994. Saratoga was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy List on August 20th, 1994 and remained at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island waiting her fate to become a floating museum or scrap.

In May of 2014 it was announced that USS Saratoga would be scrapped. In August of that same year, she set sail from Naval Air Station Newport to Brownsville, Texas where she was to be disposed of. Such ended the career of this reliable and magnificent fighting vessel - another in the long line of storied American aircraft carriers.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States



USS Forrestal (CV-59); USS Saratoga (CV-60); USS Independence (CV-62); USS Ranger (CV-70)

National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Flag Ship / Capital Ship
Serving in the fleet Flag Ship role or Capital Ship in older warship designs / terminology.

1,063.0 ft
324.00 m
130.0 ft
39.62 m
37.0 ft
11.28 m

Installed Power: 8 x Babcock & Wilcox boilers powering 4 x geared steam turbines at 280,000shp; 4 x shafts.
Surface Speed
35.0 kts
(40.3 mph)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
8 x 5" (127mm) /54 caliber Mark 42 cannons (removed after refit).
3 x 8-cell NATO "Sea Sparrow" anti-aircraft missile launchers.
3 x 20mm Phalanx Mark 15 Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs).

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Between 70 and 90 various fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft types including fighters, strike, reconnaissance, and mission-specific aircraft/helicopters.

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

Images Gallery

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Image of the USS Saratoga (CV-60)
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Image of the USS Saratoga (CV-60)
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Image of the USS Saratoga (CV-60)
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