USS Saratoga CV-3
Location: Bikini atoll
, a 33,000-ton aircraft carrier, was converted from the battle cruiser Saratoga (CC-3)
while under construction at Camden, New Jersey. Commissioned in November 1927, as the second of the Navy's initial pair of fully capable aircraft carriers, Saratoga
spent the years before World War II taking part in exercises, training aviators and generally contributing to the development of carrier techniques and doctrine. She was in the Pacific when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
on 7 December 1941 and took part in the abortive Wake Island relief expedition later in that month. While operating in the Hawaiian area on 11 January 1942, she was struck by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine, necessitating several months of repairs, during which her eight-inch guns were replaced by the more useful 5"/38 dual purpose type.
returned to action in June 1942, in time for reinforcement operations immediately following the Battle of Midway
. She was next engaged in supporting the Guadalcanal Operation
in August 1942, including participation in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Another enemy submarine torpedo hit on 31 August put her in the repair yard for two months.
The carrier was back in the South Pacific war zone in December 1942, spending the next year in that area. In November 1943, her planes made devastating raids on the Japanese base at Rabaul and supported the Gilberts operation later in the month. In January and February 1944 Saratoga took part in 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 Iwo Jima invasion 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". Too old for retention in the post-war fleet, Saratoga was then assigned to target duty for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini, in the Marshall Islands. She survived the first blast, on 1 July 1946, but sank after the 25 July underwater test. USS Saratoga still lies beneath the waters of Bikini atoll, where she is occasionally visited by divers.
(Click on the link to view)