Tag Archive | USS Saratoga

Warship Wednesday, May 15, 2019: Lady Sara Never Looked Better

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, May 15, 2019: Lady Sara Never Looked Better

As I am on the road this week after just getting back from Indy last week, the regular Warship Weds offering is short– but special. We have covered Sara in a past WW, but didn’t have this anniversary spread:

USS SARATOGA (CV-3) 15 May 1945 19-N-84316

NHHC 19-N-84316

Here we see the beautiful Lexington-class aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) in Puget Sound on 15 May 1944 just after a late-WWII refit/repair, 74 years ago today.

“Her flight deck is as it would be seen by a pilot coming in for a landing. Her axial deck is rimmed with gun galleries to both sides and astern; twin 5-inch gun mounts are arranged forward and aft of her prominent island and stack, as in the later Essex-class carriers. Flight decks, at this time, were painted in a dull blue stain with white markings.”

At the time this spread was taken– all of these shots are from the same day– Sara had been the oldest U.S. aircraft carrier since 1942 when both Langley (CV-1) and her sistership Lexington (CV-2) were sunk by the Japanese. Other than Enterprise and Ranger, the latter in the Atlantic, she was the only American flattop to make it through the war.

Laid down on 25 September 1920 as Battle Cruiser #3 by the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.; she converted to an aircraft carrier and reclassified CV-3 in accordance with the Washington Treaty and commissioned on 16 November 1927. Along with Lexington, the two ships were literally the seagoing training school for the U.S. Navy’s 1930s carrier program.

When WWII started, she saw much fighting but battle damage often kept her sidelined from pivotal campaigns. Nonetheless, Saratoga earned 7 battle stars the hard way– for instance, she was in Puget Sound because of six Japanese hits off Chichi Jima in February 1945.

As noted by DANFS, after she left Puget Sound, she accomplished a few records and got two A-bombs for her faithful service:

On 22 May, Saratoga departed Puget Sound fully repaired, and she resumed training pilots at Pearl Harbor on 3 June. She ceased training duty on 6 September, after the Japanese surrender, and sailed from Hawaii on 9 September transporting 3,712 returning naval veterans home to the United States under Operation “Magic Carpet.” By the end of her “Magic Carpet” service, Saratoga had brought home 29,204 Pacific war veterans, more than any other individual ship. At the time, she also held the record for the greatest number of aircraft landed on a carrier, with a lifetime total of 98,549 landings in 17 years.

With the arrival of large numbers of Essex-class carriers, Saratoga was surplus to postwar requirements, and she was assigned to Operation “Crossroads” at Bikini Atoll to test the effect of the atomic bomb on naval vessels. She survived the first blast, an air burst on 1 July, with only minor damage, but was mortally wounded by the second on 25 July, an underwater blast which was detonated under a landing craft 500 yards from the carrier. Salvage efforts were prevented by radioactivity, and seven and one-half hours after the blast, with her funnel collapsed across her deck, Saratoga slipped beneath the surface of the lagoon. She was struck from the Navy list on 15 August 1946.

Her name was recycled by CV-60, the second of four 1950s Forrestal-class supercarriers, which carried the proud moniker until she was struck from the Naval List 20 August 1994.

Hopefully, there will be another Sara in the fleet soon.

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Last Naval Aviator with an air-to-air kill leaves the service

On Jan. 17, 1991, LCDR Mark I. Fox was flying an F/A-18 Hornet with Strike Fighter Squadron 81 (VFA-81, “Sunliners”) off USS Saratoga (CV-60). On that day, Fox shot down an Iraqi MiG-21.

Fox and his wingman, Lt. Nick Mongillo, were heading into Iraq on a bombing mission in the opening salvos of the Operation Desert Storm campaign to drive Saddam Hussein’s army out of Kuwait.

Alerted by an Air Force AWACS of enemy aircraft in their path, the two aviators switched their mission control systems to air-to-air, acquired the approaching bogeys on radar, and shot both of them down with AIM-7M Sparrows .

The MiG kill of Cdr. Mark Fox during Desert Storm. An FA-18C of VFA-81. by mark styling

The MiG kill of Cdr. Mark Fox during Desert Storm. An FA-18C of VFA-81. by Mark Styling

Fox and Mogillo then switched back to air-to-ground and went on to drop a quartet of 2,000-pound bombs on an Iraqi airfield before returning to land aboard Sara.

The two MiG kills were the only Navy aerial victories in Desert Storm, and the last, despite 25 years of almost contact combat. Fox was awarded the Silver Star for that achievement.

Now, Vice Adm. Mark Fox (USNA 1978), after 100 combat sorties and 4,900 hours including 1,300 traps on 15 carriers, is retired.

Can I get a BZ.

Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Walter L. Greene

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Walter L. Greene

Born in Schenectady, New York, in 1870, Walter L. Greene studied drawing and illustration at Massachusetts State Normal School Academy of Art in Boston (now called Massachusetts College of Art and Design). After continuing his education in Europe, he returned to the states and in his 30s became the board artist first for General Electric and then for the New York Central Railroad.

Over the next several decades, he specialized in railway and maritime art for publication by his companies, producing posters, calendars, post cards, magazine ads and the like that had an eye for blending the most modern machines of the day with the mysteries of old to give the impression that industry was magical.

Eastward, Westward

Eastward, Westward

One of several original oil paintings by Schnectady artist Walter L. Greene commissioned by the New York Central Railroad to be reproduced as a travel poster advertising passenger service to the Adirondacks and Lake Placid, New York.

One of several original oil paintings by Schnectady artist Walter L. Greene commissioned by the New York Central Railroad to be reproduced as a travel poster advertising passenger service to the Adirondacks and Lake Placid, New York.

S.S. President Hoover on the Yangtze River,Shanghai

S.S. President Hoover on the Yangtze River,Shanghai

greene_calendar_3292
Although his military work was limited, he did create an amazing set of paintings of the most modern warships of their day, to include the turbine-electric USS Saratoga (CV-3) and the USS New Mexico (BB-40)

Saratoga by walter green 1927

Saratoga by Walter green 1927

The Electric Ship, New Mexico (BB-40), painting by Walter L. Greene.

The Electric Ship, New Mexico (BB-40), painting by Walter L. Greene.

GE ad from the Electric Ship painting, published 1920

GE ad from the Electric Ship painting, published 1920

Greene passed in 1956, long after Saratoga was obliterated and sunk in the A-bomb tests at Bikini Atoll and New Mexico broken up for scrap in Newark.

Today his industrial work is celebrated by train enthusiasts while a number of his paintings are in the Navy Art Collection and on display at the Albany Institute of History and Art, New York, Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum National Art Inventories.

Thank you for your work, sir.

Vive la France

Battleship Richelieu seen from USS Saratoga (CV-3), during operations with the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean, 1944

Cette photographie est protégée par un copyright, merci d’en signer l’origine par la mention : © Photo Marius BAR – Toulon (France) site internet : http://www.mariusbarnumerique.fr voir rubrique Boutique -> Navires/Warships

As a salute to France. Here we see the battleship, Richelieu, as viewed from USS Saratoga (CV-3), during operations with the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean, 1944, her tricolor proud in the wind. The 150,000shp powerplant on these ships was the most powerful ever installed on a dreadnought up to that time and would only be surpassed by the 212,000shp units of the Iowa-class fast battleships. During Trials, Richelieu was able to maintain a speed of 30 knots at a displacement of 43,100 long tons at 155,000shp. When forcing the engines to 179,000shp, Richelieu was able to steam at 32.68 knots.

(Photo: US National Naval Aviation Museum: 1977.031.085.011)

Lady Sara

US Marine Corps Vought O2U-2 Corsair aircraft preparing to land on Saratoga, circa 1930 Source United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command Identification Code NH 94899

US Marine Corps Vought O2U-2 Corsair aircraft preparing to land on Saratoga, circa 1930
Source United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command
Identification Code NH 94899

The USS Saratoga (CV-3) was a beautiful ship converted from a battlecruiser that was never allowed to be built. She and her sistership, Lexington, were largely responsible for training the pre-WWII U.S. Navy in how to use a fleet carrier. As a result, she had a few interesting people cycle through her decks.

Here are a couple

Charles Lindbergh in the cockpit of a F3B-1 carrier aircraft aboard USS Saratoga, 8 Feb 1929

Charles Lindbergh in the cockpit of a F3B-1 carrier aircraft aboard USS Saratoga, 8 Feb 1929

Ever heard of the Thatch Weave? Lt. John Thach's Wildcat taking off from Saratoga, Oct 1941 Source United States National Archives Identification Code 80-PR-1154

Ever heard of the Thatch Weave? Lt. John Thach’s Wildcat taking off from Saratoga, Oct 1941 Source United States National Archives Identification Code 80-PR-1154

And here’s a bonus shot of her all dolled up for the war.

Saratoga underway at sea, circa 1942, with 5 Grumman F4F fighters, 6 Douglas SBD scout bombers, and 1 Grumman TBF torpedo bomber

Saratoga underway at sea, circa 1942, with 5 Grumman F4F fighters, 6 Douglas SBD scout bombers, and 1 Grumman TBF torpedo bomber

Lady Sara heads to the breakers

Sold for a penny back in May  the mighty ex-USS Saratoga (CV-60) is taking her very last sea cruise after spending two decades on red lead row.

US Navy Photo

US Navy Photo

Tugboats pull the ex-USS Saratoga under the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge as she begins her final voyage from Newport Naval Station to a dismantling facility in Brownsville, Texas–the carrier’s final resting place. The ship arrived in Newport on Aug. 7, 1998, after spending four years in storage following her decommissioning in 1994. The Saratoga was the second carrier of the Forrestal class and completed 22 deployments in her 38-year career.

The Offshore Towing Vessel, SIGNET WARHORSE III a 143’5” x 50’ x 18’ ABS Fully Classed tug with 10,000 brake horsepower and 135.44 Metric Tonnes bollard pull and a nine-man crew is making the tow http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/Signet-Maritime-Launches-Final-Voyage-of-USS-Saratoga-2014-08-21 and is expected to arrive in Brownsville, Texas, with ex-USS Saratoga in tow, on September 4, 2014.

Sara’s slightly older sister-ship Forrestal was sold a few months ago to the breakers for the same cost and it is expected that sisters Ranger (CV-61), decommissioned in 1993, and stored at Bremerton, Washington, and Independence (CV-62) in mothballs at  Puget Sound Naval Shipyard will soon join the class on the heap.

Of the four Kittyhawk-class ships, Constellation (CV-64), 11 years in mothballs is likely to be scrapped in coming months. The America (CV-66) was sunk in testing in 2005 to help design the new Ford-class carriers, Kennedy (CV-67) is on donation hold and may become the only US super carrier on display as a museum ship, and the aging Kitty Hawk (CV-63), her hull now some 53-years old, is still a Reserve asset until at least 2015 when the Ford comes online. It is likely that she will follow to the scrappers soon after.

Big SIXTY from Dixie: Returning there to become razorblades

From the end of World War Two until the late 1960s when the current Nimitz-class of carriers were designed, the US Navy was big into oil-fired super carriers. These eight ships, of the Forrestal and Kitty Hawk-class, with the single nuclear-powered USS Enterprise thrown in for good measure, were the carriers that flew the bulk of the million sorties from Yankee Station during the Vietnam conflict, went toe-to-toe with the Red Banner Fleet during the Cold War, and dropped it like it was hot during the original Gulf War.

And another one of those eight magnificent flat tops is now headed to the scrappers.

The USS Saratoga, CV-60, was sold to ESCO Marine in Brownsville, Texas this week for the ripe old cost of one penny ($0.01). ESCO will have to pay millions to tow the Sara from her current berth on Red Lead Row in Newport, Rhode Island to Texas, remove the 1950s era asbestos and other TICS and TIMs from her hull, and cut her into manageable pieces to be sold on the commercial market for her value as recycled materials.

cv60_c

Sara was named after the legendary 1927-1945 era carrier who helped win WWII and establish the US Navy’s aviation legacy. That old carrier itself was the 5th ship to carry the name for the country to commemorate the famous Revolutionary War victory. These prior namesakes being sloops, corvettes, and cruisers who fought in the War of 1812, the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and WWI.

Commissioned 14 April 1956, Saratoga was the second of four Forrestal-class aircraft carriers. These huge 1070-foot, 81,000-ton beasts were the largest warships ever made up until that time. She served on the front line of the Cold War, treating the survivors of the Liberty incident during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, hammering targets off Vietnam, and forcing down the terrorists who assaulted the Achille Lauro in 1985. During Desert Shield/Storm, she conducted some 11,000 launch and recovery cycles, seeing some very hard use.

She was home-ported in Mayport, FL (Jacksonville) most of her career and as such carries the nickname “Big 60 from Dixie” (among others.)

Decommissioned following the outbreak of peace and the completion of more Nimitz class carriers, she was stricken on 20 August 1994. Maintained for a few years in Reserve condition as an emergency asset, she has for the past 15 years been so much rusting metal, receiving little in maintenance.

Her slightly older sister-ship Forrestal was sold a few months ago to the breakers for the same cost and it is expected that sisters Ranger (CV-61), decommissioned in 1993, and stored at Bremerton, Washington, and Independence (CV-62) in mothballs at  Puget Sound Naval Shipyard will soon join the class on the heap.

Of the four Kittyhawk-class ships, Constellation (CV-64), 11 years in mothballs is likely to be scrapped in coming months. The America (CV-66) was sunk in testing in 2005 to help design the new Ford-class carriers, Kennedy (CV-67) is on donation hold and may become the only US super carrier on display as a museum ship, and the aging Kitty Hawk (CV-63), her hull now some 53-years old, is still a Reserve asset until at least 2015 when the Ford comes online. It is likely that she will follow to the scrappers soon after.

For now, three cheers for the Saratoga and lets soon see her name on the Naval List again.

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