USS Saratoga (CV-3) was an aircraft carrier built prior to World War II, which later served in that war. Prior to World War II, this ship played an important role in training and planning for naval-based air strikes. As Saratoga and her sister ships were the first aircraft carriers in the United States fleet, the battle exercises Saratoga participated in were crucial to helping commands understand how best to utilize carriers and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
World War II
The day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Saratoga was just pulling into San Diego, and was immediately turned around and sent to reinforce Wake Island, carrying planes, and however, due to delays and inroads made by Japanese forces, Wake Island was overtaken anyway.
On Jan. 11, 1942, Saratoga was hit by a Japanese torpedo several hundreds of miles off the coast of Oahu. Despite some damage and six lives lost, she was able to reach Oahu unaided. It was the first of many hits Saratoga was to take during the next several years. She routinely launched fighter planes and served in task forces, including night task forces, in the Pacific throughout the war. During one such attack off the coast of Japan, she was struck five times by hits from Japanese planes, and 123 men of her crew were killed or missing.
Saratoga participated in Operation “Magic Carpet,” ferrying home thousands of American veterans after the war. She was then used as a target in atomic bomb tests near the Bikini Atoll and was sunk during these tests on July 25, 1946. Saratoga was awarded an amazing seven battle stars for her service in World War II.
CV-3 General Specifications
Class: Lexington-class aircraft carrier
Complement: 2122 Officers and Enlisted
Length: 850 feet
Beam: 105 feet 5.25 inches
Draft: 24 feet 3 in
Flank Speed: 33 Knots
Final Disposition: Sunk by A-bomb test 25 July 1946