USS Saratoga (CV-3)

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USS Saratoga (CV-3) Lexington-class U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, converted from a battle cruiser hull in 1927, and serving throughout World War Two in the Pacific. Honored, but obsolete and worn-out, she sunk in 1946 as a target for nuclear weapon tests.

She began the war in the attempted relief of Wake Island. Damaged by a Japanese submarine torpedo while in Hawaiian waters, she was still repaired in time to fight in the critical Battle of Midway.

After Midway, she turned to supporting the Guadalcanal Campaign, and took part in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Another torpedo put her into repair for two months.

Returning to the South Pacific in December 1942, she spent 1943 in that area. In November 1943, her planes were part of Operation CARTWHEEL against the Japanese base at Rabaul,, and supported Operation GALVANIC, the invasion of the Gilberts. In January and February 1944 Saratoga took part in Operation CATCHPOLE, the invasion of the Marshall Islands.

"She then was sent to join the British Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean and participated in raids on Japanese positions in the East Indies during April and May 1944.

"An overhaul from June to September prepared her for employment training aviators for night operations. In February 1945, she carried night fighters during the Battle of Iwo Jima and raids on the Japanese home islands. Several Kamikaze suicide plane hits on 21 February caused serious damage and casualties, sending her back to the U.S. for another session in the shipyard.

Saratoga returned to service in May, again taking on a training role that lasted until Japan's surrender. Beginning in September 1945, she transported servicemen from the Pacific back to the United States as part of Operation "Magic Carpet"."[1]

She was a fighter to the end, surviving the first above-water nuclear test but sinking only when close to an underwater blast.


  1. U.S. Naval Historical Center