USS SaratogaUSS Saratoga
(CVA-60, later CV-60), 1956-?

USS USS Saratoga, second of the 56,000-ton Forrestal class aircraft carriers, was built at New York Naval Shipyard. Upon completion she went into commission in April 1956 and operated in the Western Hemisphere until September 1957. Next, she briefly went to Northern European waters to participate in Operation "Strikeback"…

In February 1958, USS Saratoga began the first of more than twenty deployments to operate with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Over the following decade, the big carrier made seven more tours to that increasingly tense part of the world.

In 1968, the USS Saratoga was given a major renovation. She then played host to President Nixon in May 1969.

A tour in the Mediterranean was marked by a growing Soviet naval presence in the "Middle Sea" and by unrest in Arab nations.

Two more Sixth Fleet deployments in 1970 and 1971, including North Atlantic operations during the latter, were followed by the ship's only Pacific cruise.

From May 1972 until January 1973, USS Saratoga served with the Seventh Fleet off Vietnam, taking part in combat operations to stop and partially reverse an intense North Vietnamese offensive against South Vietnam. During this deployment, in June 1972, the ship received her new designation CV-60.

Through the rest of the 1970s, USS Saratoga crossed the Atlantic regularly to visit the Mediterranean. In September 1980, following her sixteenth Sixth Fleet cruise, she began a massive "SLEP" reconstruction. This work was completed in February 1983, and the next year saw her back in the Mediterranean for tour number seventeen.

The aircraft onboard USS Saratoga in October 1985 took control of terrorists who had recently hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro. The aircraft intercepted the hijackers’ airliner, forcing the plane to land in Italy and be taken into custody.

In 1986, the ship took part in combat operations against Libyan forces at sea and ashore.

In response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, USS Saratoga steamed through the Mediterranean and passed through the Suez Canal to operate in the Red Sea. The first two months of 1991 saw her aircraft participating vigorously in operation "Desert Storm", which broke the Iraqi army and forced it out of Kuwait.

Two more Sixth Fleet deployments rounded out the carrier's active career, one in 1992 and the other in 1993-94. Both involved air activities over the Balkans, in an effort to restrain the brutal war in Bosnia. Departing the Mediterranean for the last time in June 1994, the ship began preparations for inactivation.

USS USS Saratoga was placed out of commission and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register at the end of September 1994. After resting at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from mid-1995 to mid-1998, she was towed to Newport, Rhode Island, where she remains in Navy custody pending final disposal.

The Saratoga model on the Pavilion Display Area. The “Saratoga” was based in Jacksonville for more than 30 years. Many people who visit the museum have a personal or family attachment to this carrier.

 
 

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