Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
USS Saratoga (CV-60)

USS Saratoga (CV-60)

Overview


USS Saratoga (CV/CVA/CVB-60), was one of four Forrestal- class supercarrier
Supercarrier
Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons.Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons.Supercarrier is an unofficial...

s built for the US Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 in the 1950s. Saratoga was the sixth US Navy ship, and the second aircraft carrier, to be named for the Battle of Saratoga
Battle of Saratoga
The Battles of Saratoga conclusively decided the fate of British General John Burgoyne's army in the American War of Independence and are generally regarded as a turning point in the war. The battles were fought eighteen days apart on the same ground, south of Saratoga, New York...

 in the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

.

Commissioned in 1956, she spent most of her career in the Mediterranean, but also participated in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. One of her last operational duties was to participate in Operation Desert Storm.

Saratoga was decommissioned in 1994, and is currently stored in Newport, Rhode Island.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'USS Saratoga (CV-60)'
Start a new discussion about 'USS Saratoga (CV-60)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia


USS Saratoga (CV/CVA/CVB-60), was one of four Forrestal- class supercarrier
Supercarrier
Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons.Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons.Supercarrier is an unofficial...

s built for the US Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 in the 1950s. Saratoga was the sixth US Navy ship, and the second aircraft carrier, to be named for the Battle of Saratoga
Battle of Saratoga
The Battles of Saratoga conclusively decided the fate of British General John Burgoyne's army in the American War of Independence and are generally regarded as a turning point in the war. The battles were fought eighteen days apart on the same ground, south of Saratoga, New York...

 in the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

.

Commissioned in 1956, she spent most of her career in the Mediterranean, but also participated in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. One of her last operational duties was to participate in Operation Desert Storm.

Saratoga was decommissioned in 1994, and is currently stored in Newport, Rhode Island. Multiple unsuccessful attempts have been made to preserve her as as a museum ship
Museum ship
A museum ship, or sometimes memorial ship, is a ship that has been preserved and converted into a museum open to the public, for educational or memorial purposes...

, and she is currently slated for disposal.

Construction and trials


She was ordered as a "Large Aircraft Carrier", hull classification symbol
Hull classification symbol
The United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, and United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use hull classification symbols to identify their ship types and each individual ship within each type...

 CVB-60, and her contract was awarded to the New York Naval Shipyard of Brooklyn, NewYork on 23 July 1952. She is the second of the four Forrestal-class carriers. She was reclassified as an "Attack Aircraft Carrier" (CVA-60) on 1 October 1952. Her keel was laid down on 16 December 1952. She was launched
Ship naming and launching
The ceremonies involved in naming and launching naval ships are based in traditions thousands of years old.-Methods of launch:There are three principal methods of conveying a new ship from building site to water, only two of which are called "launching." The oldest, most familiar, and most widely...

 on 8 October 1955 sponsored by Mrs. Charles S. Thomas, and commissioned
Ship commissioning
Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military...

 on 14 April 1956 with Captain Robert Joseph Stroh in command. She was the first carrier in the US Navy to use high-pressure (1200 psi
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

) boilers.

1950s



For the next several months, Saratoga conducted various engineering, flight, steering, structural, and gunnery tests. On 18 August, she sailed for Guantanamo Bay
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is located on of land and water at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba which the United States leased for use as a coaling station following the Cuban-American Treaty of 1903. The base is located on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas...

 and her shakedown cruise. On 19 December, she reentered the New York Naval Shipyard and remained there until 28 February 1957. Upon completion of yard work, she got underway on a refresher training cruise to the Caribbean before entering her home port, Mayport, Florida.

On 6 June 1957, President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 and members of his cabinet boarded Saratoga to observe operations on board the giant carrier. For two days, she and eighteen other ships demonstrated air operations, antisubmarine warfare, guided missile operations, and the Navy's latest bombing and strafing techniques. Highlighting the President's visit was the nonstop flight of two F8U Crusaders, spanning the nation in three hours and twenty-eight minutes, from the off the West Coast to the flight deck of the Saratoga in the Atlantic.

The carrier departed Mayport on 3 September 1957 for her maiden transatlantic voyage. Saratoga sailed into the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...

 and participated in Operation Strikeback
Operation Strikeback
Operation Strikeback was a major naval exercise of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that took place over a ten-day period in September 1957....

, joint naval maneuvers of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries. She returned briefly to Mayport before entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard
Norfolk Naval Shipyard
The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, often called the Norfolk Navy Yard and abbreviated as NNSY, is a U.S. Navy facility in Portsmouth, Virginia, for building, remodeling, and repairing the Navy's ships. It's the oldest and largest industrial facility that belongs to the U.S. Navy as well as the most...

 for repairs.

On 1 February 1958, Saratoga departed Mayport for the Mediterranean and her first deployment with the Sixth Fleet. From this date through 31 December 1967 she was to spend a part of each year in the Mediterranean on a total of eight cruises. The remainder of the time, she either operated off the coast of Florida or was in port undergoing restricted availability.

1960s


On the night of 24/25 May 1960, the Saratoga collided with the German freighter Bernd Leonhardt off North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

. The freighter's bridge and superstructure were damaged by the carrier's flight-deck. The results of an investigation was never published, but repairs of the freighter, amounting to about 2.5 million German marks, were paid by the Navy.

While deployed with the Sixth Fleet on 23 January 1961, a serious fire broke out in Saratoga's number two machinery space which took seven lives. The fire, believed caused by a ruptured fuel oil line, was brought under control by the crew, and the ship proceeded to Athens, Greece, where a survey of the damage could be made. The ship continued on its patrol mission with reduced steam generation capability, returning to the U.S. as scheduled to offload its air group before repairs.

After an extensive shipyard period in the second half of 1964, Sara departed for the Mediterranean, arriving just before Christmas 1964. Ports visited over the next 6 months were Naples, Athens, Cannes, Valencia, Spain, Istanbul, and Malta. Another routine Med cruise was undertaken in 1966. The Med cruise from June to December 1967 was anything but routine. Immediately after entering the Med, Saratoga was deployed to the eastern Mediterranean during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, where her medical facility was used to treat survivors of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty
USS Liberty incident
The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, , by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy torpedo boats, on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War. The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members , wounded 170 crew members, and...

. Later on She was involved in a near collision with a Russian Destroyer which was cutting across Saratoga's bow during flight operations. During the return voyage in early December, 1967 Saratoga spent several days in a fierce Atlantic storm, which caused heavy damage to external catwalks on the flight deck, garbage chute and boat sponsons. She arrived in Mayport on 6 December.

On 2 January 1968, Saratoga sailed for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

, and an overhaul and modernization program which was to last 11 months. On 31 January 1969, she departed Philadelphia for Guantanamo, via Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads is the name for both a body of water and the Norfolk–Virginia Beach metropolitan area which surrounds it in southeastern Virginia, United States...

 and Mayport, and extensive refresher training of the crew and air detachments.
On 17 May, Armed Forces Day
Armed Forces Day
Several nations of the world hold an annual Armed Forces Day in honor of their military forces. - Armenia :Բանակի օր is celebrated on 28 January to commemorate the formation of the armed forces of the newly independent Republic of Armenia in 1992....

, she was the host ship for President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 during the firepower demonstration conducted by Carrier Air Wing Three in the Virginia Capes
Virginia Capes
The Virginia Capes are the two capes, Cape Charles to the north and Cape Henry to the south, that define the entrance to Chesapeake Bay on the eastern coast of North America....

 area. On 9 July, she departed Mayport for her ninth Mediterranean deployment. Underway, a Soviet surface force and a November class submarine
November class submarine
The Project 627 class submarine was the Soviet Union's first class of nuclear-powered submarines. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization used the standard radio communication phonetic alphabet to denote submarine classes...

 passed in close proximity, en route to Cuba. Off the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 on 17 July, Saratoga was shadowed by Kipelovo-based Soviet aircraft. They were intercepted, photographed, and escorted while in the vicinity of the carrier. She operated with Task Group 60.2 of the Sixth Fleet in the eastern Mediterranean during September in a "show of force" in response to the large build-up of Soviet surface units there, the hijacking of a Trans World Airlines
Trans World Airlines
Trans World Airlines was an American airline that existed from 1925 until it was bought out by and merged with American Airlines in 2001. It was a major domestic airline in the United States and the main U.S.-based competitor of Pan American World Airways on intercontinental routes from 1946...

 plane to Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and the political coup in Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

. Numerous surveillance and reconnaissance flights were conducted by Carrier Wing Three aircraft against Soviet surface units, including the helicopter carrier Moskva, operating southeast of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

. Saratoga operated in this area again in October because of the crisis in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

.

1970s


Saratoga returned to Mayport and the Florida coast from 22 January until 11 June 1970 when she again sailed for duty with the Sixth Fleet. On 28 September, President Richard Nixon and his party arrived on board. That night, word was received that Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of the United Arab Republic
United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic , often abbreviated as the U.A.R., was a sovereign union between Egypt and Syria. The union began in 1958 and existed until 1961, when Syria seceded from the union. Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971. The President was Gamal...

 had died; an event that might plunge the entire Middle East into a crisis. The intelligence and communications personnel of the Saratoga were required to supply the President, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

, and the Secretaries of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 and Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 with the essential intelligence information to keep them abreast of the deteriorating situation. The Presidential party departed the ship the next evening, and Saratoga continued on patrol in the eastern Mediterranean until she sailed for the United States on 2 November.

From her arrival at Mayport until 10 March 1971, she was in a "cold iron" status. She then operated off the Florida coast until 7 June when she departed for her eleventh deployment with the Sixth Fleet, via Scotland and the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 where she participated in exercise "Magic Sword II." She returned to Mayport on 31 October for a period of restricted availability and local operations.

On 11 April 1972, Saratoga sailed from Mayport en route to Subic Bay
U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay
U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay was a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility of the United States Navy located in Zambales, Philippines. It was the largest U.S...

, and her first deployment to the western Pacific. She arrived in Subic Bay on 8 May and departed for Vietnam the following week, arriving at "Yankee Station
Yankee Station
Yankee Station was a point in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam used by the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers of Task Force 77 to launch strikes in the Vietnam War. While its official designation was "Point Yankee," it was universally referred to as Yankee Station...

" on 18 May for her first period on the line. Before year's end, she was on station in the Tonkin Gulf a total of seven times: 18 May to 21 June; 1 July to 16 July; 28 July to 22 August; 2 September to 19 September, 29 September to 21 October; 5 November to 8 December; and 18 December to 31 December. She had been reclassified as a "Multi-purpose Aircraft Carrier" (CV-60) on 30 June 1972.

During the first period, Saratoga lost four aircraft and three pilots. On the plus side, on 21 June, two of her F-4 Phantoms attacked three MiG 21s over North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

. Dodging four surface-to-air missiles, they managed to down one of the MiG aircraft. Saratoga's planes attacked targets ranging from enemy troop concentrations in the lower panhandle to petroleum storage areas northeast of Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

. On her second line period, she lost an F-4 to enemy fire northeast of Hanoi with the pilot and radar intercept officer missing in action. During this period, her aircraft flew 708 missions against the enemy.

On 6 August, Lieutenant Jim Lloyd of VA-105, flying an A-7 Corsair on a bombing mission near Vinh
Vinh
Vinh is a city in Vietnam. It is located in the northern half of the country, and is the capital of Nghệ An Province. Politically, Vinh is a municipality within Nghệ An Province. On September 5th, 2008, it was upgraded from Grade-II city to Grade-I city, the fourth Grade-I city of Vietnam after...

, had his plane shot out from under him by a SAM. He ejected into enemy territory at night. In a daring rescue by helicopters supported by CVW-3 aircraft, he was lifted from the midst of enemy soldiers and returned to the Saratoga. On 10 August, one of the ship's CAP jet fighters splashed a MiG at night using AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-7 Sparrow
The AIM-7 Sparrow is an American, medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile operated by the United States Air Force, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, as well as various allied air forces and navies. Sparrow and its derivatives were the West's principal beyond visual...

 missiles.

During the period 2 September to 19 September, Saratoga's aircraft flew over 800 combat strike missions against targets in North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

. On 20 October, her aircraft flew 83 close air support sorties in six hours in support of a force of 250 Territorials beleaguered by the North Vietnamese 48th Regiment. Air support saved the small force, enabled ARVN troops to advance, and killed 102 North Vietnamese soldiers. During her last period on station, Saratoga's aircraft battered targets in the heart of North Vietnam for over a week.

Saratoga departed "Yankee Station" for Subic Bay on 7 January 1973. From there she sailed for the United States via Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and arrived at Mayport on 13 February 1973 where she joined the Atlantic Fleet.

In the beginning of 1975, Saratoga took part in the Locked Gate-75, a NATO operation meant to contain the influence of the Portuguese Communist Party
Portuguese Communist Party
The Portuguese Communist Party is a major left-wing political party in Portugal. It is a Marxist-Leninist party, and its organization is based upon democratic centralism. The party also considers itself to be patriotic and internationalist....

 in Portugal after the Carnation Revolution
Carnation Revolution
The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

. Along with several foreign vessels, she entered the Tagus River delta and anchored in front of the Presidential Palace of Belém
Belém Palace
The Belém National Palace, or alternately National Palace of Belém, has, overtime, been the official residence of Portuguese monarchs and, after the installation of the First Republic, the Presidents of the Portuguese Republic...

.

Saratoga sailed from Mayport, Florida January 1976 for another Med cruise. On board her was VS-22 with the first deployment of the S-3A Antisubmarine aircraft. She also took part in operations during the Lebanon crisis in 76.

On 21 November 1978, the Saratoga collided with USNS Waccamaw (T-AO-109)
USS Waccamaw (AO-109)
USS Waccamaw was a replenishment oiler in the United States Navy. She was named after Waccamaw River. The original capacity was ....

  while operating with the 6th Fleet, during a refueling operation 50 miles (80.5 km) south of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, suffering minor damage and no injuries.

1980s


In March 1980, Saratoga and embarked airwing CVW-3 departed on their 16th Mediterranean deployment. Highlights of the deployment included major exercises with the USS Forrestal (CV 59) battle group, and visits by the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Thomas B. Hayward
Thomas B. Hayward
Admiral Thomas Bibb Hayward was Chief of Naval Operations for the United States Navy from July 1, 1978, until June 30, 1982, after which he retired from military service. He is a 1947 graduate of the United States Naval Academy...

, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Thomas C. Crow. Then-commanding officer, Capt. James H. Flatley III
James H. Flatley III
James H. Flatley III was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. A Naval Aviator, fighter pilot and test pilot, he is the son of Vice Admiral James H...

, made naval aviation history on 21 June 1980 when he completed his 1,500th carrier arrested landing. To make the event special, Midshipman James H. Flatley IV, the Captain's son, rode in the back seat.

On 28 September 1980, only one month after her return from deployment, Saratoga departed Mayport and headed north to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
The Philadelphia Naval Business Center, formerly known as the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and Philadelphia Navy Yard, was the first naval shipyard of the United States. The U.S. Navy reduced its activities there in the 1990s, and ended most of them on September 30, 1995...

 where she underwent the most extensive industrial overhaul ever performed on any Navy ship. Saratoga was the first ship to go through the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) overhaul that would last 28 months. She conducted sea trials on 16 October 1982, and left Philadelphia with much fanfare on 2 February 1983 with her new nickname — "Super Sara."
Saratoga departed the Mayport Basin yet again for her 17th Mediterranean deployment on 2 April 1984.

Saratoga's 18th deployment was anything but ordinary. After departing Mayport in August 1985, Saratoga steamed toward the Mediterranean for what was scheduled to be a routine deployment. But on 10 October, Saratoga was called into action.

An Italian luxury liner, the Achille Lauro
MS Achille Lauro
MS Achille Lauro was a cruise ship based in Naples, Italy. Built between 1939 and 1947 as MS Willem Ruys, a passenger liner for the Rotterdamsche Lloyd. It is most remembered for its 1985 hijacking...

 on a pleasure cruise departing from Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, was hijacked by terrorists from the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF). After tense negotiations and the killing of an American tourist, the hijackers went ashore at Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

. Egyptian authorities made hasty arrangements for the terrorists to depart the country. They boarded an Egypt Air 737 jetliner at the Al Maza Air Base, northeast of Cairo.

On orders from President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, seven F-14 Tomcats from the VF-74 "Bedevilers" and VF-103 "Sluggers" were launched from Saratoga. Supporting the Tomcats continuously were VA-85 KA-6D air tankers and VAW-125
VAW-125
VAW-125, known as the “Torch Bearers” or “Tigertails,” was established on October 1, 1968, at Naval Air Station, Norfolk . The squadron’s initial supporting command was Carrier Air Wing Three deploying aboard USS Saratoga . While with CVW-3, VAW-125 became the first East Coast squadron to take...

 E-2C Hawkeye aircraft. Off the coast of Crete, the F-14s, without the use of running lights, eased up beside and behind the airliner. On command, the Tomcats turned on their lights and dipped their wings — an international signal for a forced landing. The E-2 Hawkeye
E-2 Hawkeye
The Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, aircraft carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning aircraft. This twin-turboprop aircraft was designed and developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s by the Grumman Aircraft Company for the United States Navy as a replacement for the...

 radioed the airliner to follow the F-14s. Realizing they were in a "no-win" situation, the hijackers allowed the pilot to follow the Tomcats to Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy.

One hour and 15 minutes later, the jetliner landed and the hijackers were taken into custody. Seven hours after the fighter jets were scrambled, all Saratoga aircraft returned home without a shot fired.

On 23 March 1986, while operating off coast of Libya, aircraft from the Saratoga, and crossed what Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 had called the "Line of Death." The very next day at noon, three U.S. Navy warships crossed the same 32° 30' navigational line.

Two hours later, Libyan forces fired SA-5 surface-to-air missiles from the coastal town of Surt. The missiles missed their F-14 Tomcat targets and fell harmlessly into the water. Later that afternoon, U.S. aircraft turned back two Libyan MiG-25 fighter planes over the disputed Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Sidra is a body of water in the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya; it is also known as Gulf of Sirte or the Great Sirte or Greater Syrtis .- Geography :The Gulf of Sidra has been a major centre for tuna fishing in the Mediterranean for centuries...

. Soon after, aircraft from the three carriers fought back in defense.

A heavily-armed A-6E Intruder fired Rockeye cluster bombs and a Harpoon anti-ship cruise missile at a Libyan missile patrol boat operating on the "Line of Death." Later that night, two A-7E Corsair II jets attacked a key radar installation at Surt. At the conclusion, three Libyan patrol boats and a radar site were destroyed by Navy aircraft.

Friendly fire shoot-down incident


On 22 September 1987, an F-14A-70-GR Tomcat
F-14 Tomcat
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental program following the collapse of the F-111B project...

, BuNo 162707, of VF-74
VF-74
VF-74, Fighter Squadron 74, Be-Devilers was an aviation unit of the United States Navy in service from 1944 to 1994.-History:VF-74 was established on 16 April 1945 as VBF-20 flying the F4U-1 Corsair from NAS Wildwood in New Jersey. After six months they transitioned to the F6F Hellcat but soon...

 out of NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay...

, Virginia, operating from the USS Saratoga
USS Saratoga
USS Saratoga may refer to:* One of several United States Navy ships named after the Battle of Saratoga in the American Revolutionary War:** , a 18-gun sloop launched in 1780; lost at sea the following year...

, accidentally shot down a USAF RF-4C-22-MC Phantom II, 69-0381, 'ZR' tailcode, of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
The 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with United States Air Forces in Europe, being stationed at Zweibrücken Air Base, Germany, where it was inactivated on 31 July 1991.-History:...

, out of Zweibrücken Air Base
Zweibrücken Air Base
Zweibrücken Air Base was a NATO air base in West Germany . It was located 35 miles SSW of Kaiserslautern and 2 miles mi SE of Zweibrücken. It was assigned to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Forces in Europe during its operational lifetime.The facility was closed in...

, West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

, at 1550 hrs. EDT over the Mediterranean during a NATO exercise, DISPLAY DETERMINATION. Both RF-4C crew ejected, pilot Capt Michael Ross of Portsmouth, Ohio, and WSO
Weapon systems officer
A Weapon Systems Officer is an air Flight Officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the fighter in the United States Navy. A Weapon Systems Officer ("WSO", pronounced "wizzo") is an air Flight Officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the...

 1st Lt Randy Sprouse of Sumter, South Carolina, both of the 38th TRS
38th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
The 38th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, stationed at Zweibrücken Air Base, Germany. It was inactivated on 31 July 1991....

, and were rescued by a helicopter from the Saratoga within 30 minutes, suffering numerous injuries. A Navy spokesman said that the F-14 downed the RF-4C with an air-to-air missile, but did not know whether it was a Phoenix, a Sparrow or a Sidewinder. This was likely due to insufficient information being relayed to the spokesman. When told by the Saratoga's Admiral that they had been shot down, Sprouse remarks "I thought we were supposed to be on the same side?" to which the Admiral replies "We're sorry about this, but most of the time we are." The Tomcat pilot was duly disciplined and permanently removed from flying status.

Following Saratoga's 19th Mediterranean deployment in June 1987, she was overhauled once again at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard at a cost of $280 million.

Operation Desert Storm


Saratoga along with embarked airwing, CVW-17, participated in Operation Desert Storm, primarily in the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

. Before the outbreak of hostilities in Iraq, the Saratoga suffered a loss of 21 crewmembers in a ferry boat accident off the coast of Haifa, Israel. During the war, the USS Saratoga (CV 60) set what were at the time, several records. She completed 6 transits of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 and completed approximately 11,000 aircraft launch and recovery cycles. Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 claimed on Iraqi television that Saratoga had been sunk, along with several other Coalition vessels. On one occasion during the war, a missile, possibly a Scud
Scud
Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies...

, was launched in the general direction of the Saratoga in the Red Sea, but it was either unguided, or launched on a hunch, as it was determined early in its flight path it would miss by more than 100 nautical miles (185.2 km).

The ship launched many flights in support of operations, including that of Scott Speicher
Scott Speicher
Michael Scott Speicher was a United States Navy pilot who was shot down over Iraq during the Gulf War. He was the first American combat casualty of the conflict. His remains were not recovered until Aug. 2, 2009...

, correctly assumed to be the first American casualty of the war.

Another Saratoga aircraft shot down was an A-6E Intruder
A-6 Intruder
The Grumman A-6 Intruder was an American, twin jet-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft built by Grumman Aerospace. In service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps between 1963 and 1997, the Intruder was designed as an all-weather medium attack aircraft to replace the piston-engined A-1 Skyraider...

. Navigator-Bombardier LT Jeffrey Zaun was paraded before cameras by his Iraqi captors, but was eventually returned to American forces and was able to return to the Saratoga.

Saratoga-based US Navy SEALs conducted the first wartime boardings of merchant shipping in the Red Sea in support of Operation Desert Shield.

The TCG Muavenet incident


During the fall of 1992, the United States, Turkey, and several other NATO members participated in "Exercise Display Determination 1992", a combined forces naval exercise under the overall command of Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda
Jeremy Michael Boorda
Jeremy Michael Boorda was an admiral of the United States Navy and the 25th Chief of Naval Operations . Boorda is the only CNO to have risen to the position from the enlisted ranks.-Early life and education :...

 of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. The forces of participating nations were assigned to either of two multinational teams. Vice Admiral T. Joseph Lopez of the United States Navy led the "Brown Forces", which included Saratoga. The opposing "Green Forces", including the Turkish
Turkish Navy
The Turkish Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the Turkish Armed Forces.- Ottoman fleet after Mudros :Following the demise of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I, on November 3, 1918, the fleet commander of the Ottoman Navy, Liva Amiral Arif Pasha, ordered all flags to be...

 destroyer
Destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

 minelayer
Minelayer
Minelaying is the act of deploying explosive mines. Historically this has been carried out by ships, submarines and aircraft. Additionally, since World War I the term minelayer refers specifically to a naval ship used for deploying naval mines...

 TCG Muavenet
TCG Muavenet (DM-357)
TCG Muavenet was a destroyer minelayer of the Turkish Navy crippled by two Sea Sparrow missiles fired from the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga during a NATO exercise in Saros Bay, Turkey in 1992, resulting in death and injury among its crew.-Sea Sparrow Assault:During the fall of 1992, the United...

, former USS Gwin (DM-33), were under the direct control of Admiral Kroon of the Netherlands.

During the "enhanced tactical" phase of the training exercises, the Brown Forces were to attempt an amphibious landing at Saros Bay
Saros Bay
Saros Bay or Gulf of Saros is an inlet of the northern Aegean Sea located north of the Gallipoli Peninsula in northwestern Turkey.The bay is 75 km long and 35 km wide. Far from industrialized areas and thanks to underwater currents, it is a popular summer recreation resort with sandy...

 in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 against the resistance offered by the Green Forces. Admiral Boorda ordered the units comprising each force to actively seek and "destroy" each other. Both task force commanders had full authority to engage the enemy when and where they deemed appropriate and to use all warfare assets at their disposal to achieve victory. Needless to say, all confrontations were intended to be simulated attacks.

On 2 October 1992 the Combat Direction Center Officer aboard Saratoga decided to launch a simulated attack on nearby opposition forces utilizing the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow
RIM-7 Sea Sparrow
RIM-7 Sea Sparrow is a US ship-borne short-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapon system, primarily intended for defense against anti-ship missiles...

 missile system. After securing the approval of Saratoga's Commanding Officer and the Battle Group Commander, Rear Admiral Philip Dur, the Combat Direction Center Officer implemented the simulated assault plan. Without providing prior notice, officers on Saratoga woke the enlisted Sea Sparrow missile team and directed them to conduct the simulated attack. Certain members of the missile firing team were not told that the exercise was a drill, rather than an actual event.

As the drill progressed, the missile system operator used language to indicate he was preparing to fire a live missile, but due to the absence of standard terminology, the responsible officers failed to appreciate the significance of the terms used and the requests made. Specifically, the Target Acquisition System operator issued the command "arm and tune", terminology the console operators understood to require arming of the missiles in preparation for actual firing. The officers supervising the drill did not realize that "arm and tune" signified a live firing. As a result, shortly after midnight on the morning of 1 October, Saratoga fired two live Sea Sparrow missiles at Muavenet. The missiles struck Muavenet in the bridge, destroying it and the Combat Information Center, killing five, including the commanding officer, and injuring most of the Turkish ship's officers. Navy officials recommended that the captain of the aircraft carrier Saratoga and seven other officers and sailors be disciplined for the missile firing, which recommendation was followed through.

Decommissioning



Saratoga was decommissioned at the Naval Station, Mayport, Florida, on 20 August 1994, and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register
Naval Vessel Register
The Naval Vessel Register is the official inventory of ships and service craft in custody of or titled by the United States Navy. It contains information on ships and service craft that make up the official inventory of the Navy from the time a vessel is authorized through its life cycle and...

 the same day. She was towed to Philadelphia in May 1995, then, upon deactivation of the Philadelphia Navy Yard in August 1998, to Naval Station Newport
Naval Station Newport
The Naval Station Newport is a United States Navy base located in the towns of Newport and Middletown, Rhode Island. Naval Station Newport is home to the Naval War College and the Naval Justice School...

 in Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

. There, she was first placed on donation hold, then her status was changed to "disposal as an experimental ship", and finally she was returned to donation hold on 1 January 2000. While a hulk at Newport, ex-Saratoga, like her sisters, has been extensively stripped to support the active carrier fleet. There was an active effort to make her a museum ship in Quonset Point in North Kingstown, Rhode Island
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
North Kingstown is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 26,486 at the 2010 census. The famous American portraitist Gilbert Stuart was born in the village of Saunderstown, located in the southern region of North Kingstown....

. In April 2010 the Saratoga was removed from donation hold and scheduled to be disposed of.


Efforts in the 1990s to establish the ship as a museum in Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968...

 failed to raise even half of the start up costs. Jacksonville civic leaders attempted to funds, but the fundraising campaign, "Save Our Sara", fell short of the $3 million goal. Efforts were abandoned when startup costs increased from $4.5 million to $6.8 million. Officials had wanted to place the ship in downtown Jacksonville, on the St. Johns River along the Southbank Riverwalk
Jacksonville Riverwalk
The Jacksonville Riverwalks are located on the north and south banks of the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.The Riverwalk was originally a boardwalk on the south bank of the St. Johns River that opened Nov. 8, 1985. It was intended as a venue where tourists and local residents...

.

Saratoga received one battle star for service in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

.

Notable naval officers

  • Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda
    Jeremy Michael Boorda
    Jeremy Michael Boorda was an admiral of the United States Navy and the 25th Chief of Naval Operations . Boorda is the only CNO to have risen to the position from the enlisted ranks.-Early life and education :...

    , ship was his flagship 1987; 25th Chief of Naval Operations
    Chief of Naval Operations
    The Chief of Naval Operations is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Navy. The office is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy...

  • Captain Scott Speicher
    Scott Speicher
    Michael Scott Speicher was a United States Navy pilot who was shot down over Iraq during the Gulf War. He was the first American combat casualty of the conflict. His remains were not recovered until Aug. 2, 2009...

    , Naval Aviator.
  • RADM Jack M. James, Commanding Officer, 2 October 1964 – 2 September 1965
  • VADM Joseph Scott Mobley (COMNAVAIRLANT) , the U.S. military's last Vietnam prisoner of war (Shot Down: June 24, 1968/Released: March 14, 1973) still on active duty (CO of USS Saratoga during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm) http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.asp?ID=87

See also


External links