Saratoga file photo

USS Saratoga

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassLexington-class Aircraft Carrier
BuilderNew York Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid Down25 Sep 1920
Launched7 Apr 1925
Commissioned16 Nov 1927
Sunk25 Jul 1946
Displacement38746 tons standard; 53000 tons full
Length880 feet
Beam106 feet
Draft24 feet
Machinery16 boilers, geared turbines, electric drive, 4 shafts
Power Output180000 SHP
Speed34 knots
Range10,000nm at 10 knots
Crew2122
Armament60x40mm
Armor5-7in belt, 2in third deck, 4.5in over steering gear
Aircraft91
Elevators2
Catapult1

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Saratoga was originally laid down as a Lexington-class battlecruiser, and like her sister Lexington, she was converted to become an aircraft carrier in 1922. Because she was visually identical to Lexington, a large black stripe was painted on her funnel to help sailors differentiate her, and it led to her nickname Stripe Stacked Sara. Her conversion to carrier was completed a month before Lexington's, therefore she was the first fast carrier in the United States Navy. Her shakedown took place off Philadelphia with Marc Mitscher on board as her air officer; Mitscher was also the first pilot to land an aircraft on her flight deck. She served off Panama, in the Caribbean Sea, and in the San Diego area before WW2, contributing greatly to the development of US Navy carrier doctrine. In Mar 1938, she conducted a mock surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that was eerily similar to how the Japanese would conduct the attack three years down the road.

When the attack on Pearl Harbor took place, Saratoga was just entering San Diego from Bremerton. With US Marine Corps aircraft intended for Wake Island, she got underway hurriedly, reaching Hawaii on 15 Dec 1941. The relief mission for Wake was cancelled on 22 Dec as Wake was already in danger of falling. She remained in the Hawaiian Islands region. On 11 Jan 1942, she was struck by a torpedo from Japanese submarine I-16; she limped back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Her 8in guns were removed while being repairs as they were useless against enemy aircraft; they were instead installed on shore facilities.

Saratoga arrived at San Diego on 22 May 1942 after repairs at Bremerton, and departed for Midway on 1 Jun. Because of the delay in loading aircraft at San Diego, she missed the action at Midway. She departed for the Aleutian Islands, but turned back after the operation was cancelled. She reached Pearl Harbor on 13 Jun.

Between 22 and 29 Jun 1942, Saratoga ferried Marine and Army aircraft to Midway. On 7 Jul, she departed for the South Pacific, conducting carrier rehearsals at Fiji at the end of the month, then participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign as the flagship of Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher in Aug 1942. On 24 Aug, at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, Saratoga's aircraft bit the bait and attacked the light carrier Ryujo, sinking her with several 1,000-lb bombs and one torpedo. Although they were able to sink Ryujo, the actual main attack in the form of aircraft from fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku attacked American carrier Enterprise; Saratoga, hiding in a squall, escaped unscathed.

In Sep 1942, Saratoga was struck by torpedo from Japanese submarine I-26 and was dead in the water. Cruiser Minneapolis towed her while her crew conducted temporary repairs. She eventually sailed to Tongatabu and then Pearl Harbor for repairs.

Saratoga returned to service in Nov 1942. Until mid-1943, she provided air cover for various American operations in the Solomon Islands area. On 5 and 11 Nov 1943, her aircraft conducted devastating attacks on the Japanese base at Rabaul, disabling many cruisers and lifting threat to US forces in the region from Japanese surface ships. Later that month, she supported the invasion of Tarawa.

After overhaul in San Francisco in Dec 1943, Saratoga returned to Pearl Harbor on 7 Jan 1944. She participated in the Marshall Islands Campaign, striking Japanese garrisons at Wotje, Taroa, and Eniwetok. In Mar, she joined the British Royal Navy Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean. The Eastern Fleet struck Sabang, Sumatra on 19 Apr and Soerabaja, Java on 17 May, with her aircraft contributing significantly to the success of both missions. She returned to Bremerton, Washington for overhaul in Jun 1944, then trained night fighter squadrons at Pearl harbor from Sep 1944 to Jan 1945.

On 29 Jan 1945, Saratoga set sail from Pearl Harbor for Iwo Jima. After landing rehearsals with Marine aircraft on 12 Feb off Tinian, her aircraft struck the Japanese home islands on 16 and 17 Feb. Her aircraft attacked Japanese positions on Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima. On 21 Feb, six Japanese aircraft scored five hits on Saratoga, damaging her flight deck and starting several fires. A second wave of attack two hours later scored another hit. By 2015 that evening, the fires were under control, and temporary repairs to the flight deck allowed it to function again. She returned to Bremerton for repairs in Mar.

In Jun 1945, Saratoga trained pilots at Pearl Harbor. She remained there until the end of the war.

After the war, Saratoga participated in Operation Magic Carpet that brought American servicemen back to the United States; she brought home 29,204 men, more than any other ship in the operation. As she became obsolete after the war, she was used as a target at Bikini Atoll for the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests. She survived the first blast on 1 Jul 1946, but the second test conducted on 25 Jul sank her.

Source: Wikipedia.

Aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga Interactive Map

USS Saratoga Operational Timeline

16 Nov 1927 Saratoga was commissioned into service.
23 Jan 1929 Starting on this date and lasting through 27 Jan 1929, the US Navy aircraft carriers USS Lexington and USS Saratoga participated in their first exercise. Sailing with the opposing forces of Fleet Problem IX, Saratoga was detached on a southerly sweep against the Panama Canal, where she arrived undetected, and launched 69 aircraft on a mock dawn raid.
2 Nov 1931 US Marine Corps Squadrons VS-15M and VS-14M embarked in the aircraft carriers USS Lexington and USS Saratoga respectively, the first US Marine squadrons to be assigned to carriers, as part of the organisation in Aircraft, Battle Force. They were to remain carrier-based until late 1934 giving US Marine Corps pilots necessary experience in a realm of naval aviation which, previously, had been largely denied to them.
13 Jun 1939 The US Navy carrier USS Saratoga completed a two day trial of underway refueling tests with the fleet tanker Kanawha. These sea replenishment techniques greatly extended the range of the US carrier force and proved invaluable for later operations in the Pacific War.
8 Dec 1941 USS Saratoga departed San Diego, California for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
15 Dec 1941 USS Saratoga arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
16 Dec 1941 USN Task Force 14, centered around USS Saratoga, departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii to relieve Wake Island.
25 Dec 1941 Carrier USS Saratoga launched F2A Buffalo aircraft of Marine Fighter Squadron 221, originally intended to relieve Wake Atoll, to Midway Atoll. They became the first fighters to be based in Midway, and they immediately began a daily patrol schedule.
27 Dec 1941 USS Saratoga arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
31 Dec 1941 US Navy Task Force 11 with USS Saratoga departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for patrol.
12 Jan 1942 USS Saratoga was damaged by a torpedo from Japanese submarine I-6 about 500 miles southwest of US Territory of Hawaii; she returned to Pearl Harbor under own power.
1 Jun 1942 USS Saratoga departed San Diego, California for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
7 Jun 1942 USS Saratoga transferred aircraft to Enterprise and Hornet so that they could sail north to reinforce the Aleutian Islands.
13 Jun 1942 USS Saratoga arrived at Pearl Harbor.
22 Jun 1942 Saratoga departed Pearl Harbor. US Territory of Hawaii to ferry aircraft to Midway Atoll.
25 Jun 1942 Saratoga delivered 25 P-40 Warhawk fighters and 18 SBD Dauntless dive bombers to Midway Atoll.
29 Jun 1942 USS Saratoga arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii after ferrying aircraft to Midway Atoll.
7 Jul 1942 Saratoga departed Pearl Harbor for the South Pacific.
18 Jul 1942 Frank Fletcher was promoted to the rank of vice admiral. He broke his flag aboard USS Saratoga.
31 Aug 1942 Japanese submarine I-26 damaged USS Saratoga by torpedo 240 miles east of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, leaving her dead in the water. There were no casualties from this attack. She would be out of action for next three months for repairs.
26 Jul 1943 Rear Admiral Frederick Sherman of Task Force 36 broke his flag aboard USS Saratoga.
1 Nov 1943 USS Saratoga launched two sorties against Japanese positions on Bougainville, Solomon Islands in support of the landings.
2 Nov 1943 USS Saratoga launched two sorties against Japanese positions on Bougainville, Solomon Islands in support of the landings.
21 Feb 1945 The Japanese Army and Navy launched a combined tokko attack, dispatching 4 and 21 suicide aircraft, respectively. The fleet carrier USS Saratoga and escort carrier USS Lunga Point were hit and damaged, while escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea was sunk.

Photographs

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See all 90 photographs of Aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. MANDY MOORE says:
    21 Sep 2007 09:11:43 AM

    MY GRANDFATHER WAS LAWARNCE E. MOORE (LARRY) I WOULD LOVE 2 HEAR FROM ANYONE WHO KNEW HIM 2 CONTACT ME WITH ANY INFO. HE AND ANOTHER MAN TREADED WATER, SHARING A LIFE JACKET UNTIL THEY WERE RESCUED. PLEASE LET ME KNOW OF ANY STORIES THAT U MIGHT HAVE OF HIM. HE DIED IN 85 SO I WOULD LOVE 2 LET MY KIDS KNOW MORE STORIES.
  2. Anonymous says:
    28 Jan 2010 10:29:48 PM

    My grandfather was also on the Saratoga and lived, He passed when I was 6, and I am now 27. I'm doing a report on the Saratoga and in the next few weekd will be interviewing my grandmother. Maybe I will get some good informnation and stories.
  3. Ellen says:
    11 Mar 2010 02:10:46 PM

    Here's some great photos taken aboard the Saratoga: http://todayspictures.slate.com/20100311/
  4. Jon Sneddon says:
    17 Apr 2010 04:32:02 PM

    My uncle William Harlan "Simp" Brady was pilot and died 2/2/1943. He supposedly was flying off airfield instead of USS Saratoga.
  5. Ray Montee says:
    16 Jul 2010 10:13:14 AM

    My brother Robert Earl Montee, QrtrMstr First Class, was on the Sara throughout the heavy south Pacific campaignes.....when she was torpedoed and hit by Japanese Aircraft. He joined the Navy at age 18 after graduation from Newberg, Or., High Schoo.
  6. Anonymous says:
    31 Mar 2011 12:53:53 PM

    my uncle edford northern was on the us saratoga he was stationed in hawaii if anyone knew him please send me an e-mail .
  7. Stephanie says:
    20 Jul 2012 05:51:13 AM

    My grandmother told me that my grandfather served on the Sara during WWII. I don't know dates or what he did, and I would love to know. If anyone has any information, please email me. My grandfather's name was Raymond Gremillion.
  8. Jimmy D. Smith says:
    23 Jul 2012 03:04:32 PM

    My brother, Henry was killed FEB. 21 1945 on the Saratoga. I was only 4 Yrs. old at the time. Anyone who knew him send me an e-mail.
  9. Linda says:
    11 Sep 2012 10:11:59 AM

    My Grandfather was a FC2 (Fire Controlman) on "Sara". Always heard rumors he was injured during 21st Feb 1944, Kamikaze attack. But like many of the Greatest Generation, he never spoke of it, would only say he was a sailor in WW2. His name was Frank B.Cole of Pittsburgh PA area. I'm his oldest Grandchild & would love to learn more about his adventures during WW2, no I need to know, his other Grandchildren & now Great & Great-Great Grandkids need to know what this generation sacrificed in order for them to have the privelages they so take for granted.
  10. David Woods says:
    14 Apr 2013 01:53:07 PM

    Please tell me if you knew Frank Inzana who was a sailor on the Saratoga. Thank you. Write:
    Shadowlandhawk@yahoo.com
  11. Jennifer Thomas says:
    12 Aug 2013 08:52:54 PM

    My grandpa was on the Saratoga in WWII he told me he was up in the look out tower (maybe called birds nest) His name is James Thomas, he never said much about it just that he was there and there, I lost him last week Aug. 9th and looking at his keepsakes i seen the "victory" menu from there dinner and book that was stamped when he left port. so many neat things.
  12. David Brown says:
    1 Oct 2013 11:04:27 AM

    My uncle Burgess Brown served on the Saratoga in ww2
    I beleive he was a gunnery mate. anyone knowing of him,please respond.
    Thank You,
    David Brown
  13. Gregory Rapier says:
    23 Oct 2013 06:30:13 PM

    My father served on CV 3 somewhere around1942to 1945 not sure. If there is anyone that knew Joseph L Rapier would you contact me. My father told me that he was injured on Midway Island I think 1945 when an Australia bomber that was shot up came in to land as they were taking off. The plane my father was in crashed he lived ( good for me) the pilot and bottom gunner did not. Me father spent the next ten months in a body cast in Bremerton Washington. Hope someone out there remembers him.
  14. William Thompson says:
    23 Nov 2013 01:32:44 PM

    My uncle, William, (Bill), Beck from Chicago was on the Saratoga during WWII. He passed in 1982.
    Any old timers that served with him, I sure would enjoy an e-mail.
    Sincerely,
    Bill Thompson
  15. Chris Cornelius says:
    9 May 2014 01:46:31 PM

    Hello, my dad and uncle were on the Saratoga in WWII. Until the Sullivan brothers were killed. Then they were separated and went on different ships. Uncle went aboard a torpedo launching ship and dad was aboard USS Barton599 at Guadalcanal. Had 5 battle stars and went down with 47 survivors. Uncle is still alive at 94, dad passed away in '09. Would appreciate anything because either one talked much about their experience in the war.
  16. rachel booker says:
    19 Aug 2014 01:22:26 PM

    My brother James Edward Heck was one of the survivors on the Saratga ship during wwii. I was looking for any information.

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More on USS Saratoga
Personnel:
» Stanhope Ring
» Richmond Turner

Event(s) Participated:
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Gilbert Islands Campaign
» Marshall Islands Campaign
» Operation Cockpit and Operation Transom
» Battle of Iwo Jima


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