Flight operations JUN 1935 (National Archives) Underway WW II (US Navy Archives)
USMC O2U-2 "Corsair" preparing to land circa 1930 (National Archives)
CV-3 USS SARATOGA
The USS Saratoga was originally laid down in September 1930, as 43,500 ton Lexington class battle cruiser (CC-3). When the Washington Naval Limitations Treaty was ratified, her hull was converted into the 33,000 ton aircraft carrier (CV-3).
During World War II, Saratoga participated in many Pacific Theater sea battles and island invasions. She engaged the enemy off Guadalcanal and the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in 1942. Her aircraft flew against the Japanese stronghold on Rabaul and Gilbert Islands in 1943 and the invasion of the Marshall islands in 1944. Her final war time actions included the invasion of Iwo Jima and raids against the Japanese home islands in 1945.
Saratoga was seriously damaged repeatedly during the war. She was attacked twice by torpedoes from enemy submarines and finally by several Kamikaze suicide planes. Her final wartime duty was the transport of US servicemen back to the United States, as part of "Operation Magic Carpet."
USS Saratoga leaves for Bikini Atoll. Some of the aircraft left on deck for the tests have been found around the wreck. (San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park)
When the war ended Saratoga was considered too old for continued use, and was given her last assignment as a target ship for the Atomic Bomb tests, at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands. She survived the first test "Able" an air burst, but sank subsequent to the "Baker" test an underwater detonation. The 888 foot ship now lies upright in 185 fsw of water in the lagoon at Bikini Atoll.
USS Saratoga (CV-3) sinks after "Baker" test 25
Jul 46. (National Archives)
CLASS - LEXINGTON Displacement 33,000 Tons, Dimensions, 888' (oa) x 105' 6" x 32' (Max) Armament 8 x 8"/55 12 x 5"/25AA, 90 Aircraft Armor, 7" Belt, 2" Decks Machinery, 180,000 SHP; G.E. Turbines, With electric drive, 4 screws Speed, 34 Knots, Crew 2122.
USS Saratoga as she appeared in 1989. The tremendous power of the atomic bomb can be seen in the deformation of the starboard hull and collapsed after flight deck. (National Park Service, Submerged Cultural Resources Unit)
(National Park Service, Submerged Cultural Resources Unit)