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USS Saratoga (CV-60)

USS Saratoga (CV-60)

The USS Saratoga (CV-60) is a retired Forrestal-class aircraft carrier that served the United States Navy until the 1990s. She was commissioned in April 1956 under the command of Captain J.F. Stroh


The Forrestal-class carriers were the first "supercarriers," designed from the keel up to handle jet aircraft (as opposed to the previous Essex and Midway classes, which had to be modified). These carriers were not armored, but were the first carriers to have an integrated flight deck. Saratoga was the second of this type, built at the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn between July 1952 and October 1955.

Saratoga has a length of 1,063 feet, a beam of 253 feet and full displacement of over 81,000 tons. Her Westinghouse geared steam turbines were powered by eight Babcock & Wilcox (now part of Siemens AG) boilers, capable of propelling her at 35 knots.

Crew compliment consisted of 553 officers and nearly 5000 seamen in addition to 90 aircraft.

Repairs and Upgrades

Following a lengthy testing and shakedown period, Saratoga returned to the New York Naval Shipyard for maintenance from December 1956 and the end of February 1957. She underwent another maintenance period at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard later that year, remaining until the following February.

Saratoga underwent extensive repairs from July until December 1964. In January 1968, Saratoga entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where she spent the rest of the year. During that time, she underwent extensive modernization in addition to repairs for storm damage.

Saratoga returned to the Philadelphia Shipyard in September 1980 to undergo the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) overhaul, a 28-month-long series of upgrades and modernizations that were intended to double her useful service time.

The vessel underwent a $280 million overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard starting in June 1987. Since 1998, the decommissioned Saratoga has been laid up at Newport Rhode Island. She has been extensively cannibalized for parts over the past several years.

Wartime Service

For the first several years of her career, Saratoga was used for a number of routine tasks, including training, demonstrations and participation in exercises with the naval forces of other NATO members. Between February 1957 and December 1967, she made eight deployments to the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet. During her last Mediterranean deployment, her medical bay was used to treat survivors from the USS Liberty disaster.

Saratoga returned to the Mediterranean three more times after that. In April 1972, she was ordered to the Pacific. During her six months on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin, Saratoga's air wing flew 800 missions over Vietnam. She returned to the Atlantic Fleet in February 1973. From her home port of Mayport, Florida, Saratoga continued to make deployments to the Mediterranean for the next several years.

In 1990, Saratoga was ordered to the Red Sea for Operation Desert Shield, conducting inspections of merchant ships in the area. During a NATO exercise with vessels of the Turkish Navy in October 1992, Saratoga inadvertently fired live missiles at TCG Muanvenet, hitting the bridge and killing five officers. The carrier's captain, senior officers and a number of seamen were disciplined for the incident.

Saratoga was ordered to stand down at Mayport in August 1994. The following spring, she was towed to the Philadelphia Inactive Ship Facility, then transferred to Newport, Rhode Island, where she remains laid up. In April 2010, she was scheduled for disposal.

Asbestos Risk on the Saratoga (CV-60)

Saratoga experienced a number of accidents during her career that would have increased the danger of asbestos exposure by causing such materials to become friable (a crumbing state in which asbestos dust is released into the environment).

In May 1960, Saratoga collided with a West German freighter off the North Carolina coast. The larger vessel suffered minimal damage, but the freighter sustained damage to her bridge and superstructure amounting to 2.5 DM (approximately $750,000 USD at the time).

In January 1961, a ruptured fuel line caused a fire in the No. 2 Machinery Room, resulting in seven casualties. A severe winter storm in December 1967 caught Saratoga in the open Atlantic. The storm went on for several days; the carrier sustained damage to her external catwalks and life boat facilities. While refueling in the Mediterranean in November 1978, Saratoga collided with the oiler Waccamaw, causing minor structural damage.

The use of asbestos fireproofing in the construction of marine ships was ordered by law in the U.S. in the 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a luxury liner caused the deaths of 137 passengers and crew. If asbestos-containing material becomes worn it can become friable, meaning that fibers can break off and enter the atmosphere, and then can be breathed in by crewmen or repair workers, increasing the chances of contracting mesothelioma.

Sadly, the prognosis for mesothelioma cases is not usually positive; usually those suffering with mesothelioma survive for one to two years once they've been diagnosed. If you or someone in your family has contracted mesothelioma disease, a mesothelioma lawyer can explain legal options that may be available to you.

Because information about mesothelioma isn't always easy to research, we have compiled a mesothelioma information kit with up-to-date information about legal options and treatment choices, along with a list of mesothelioma clinical trials nationwide. All you have to do is fill in the form on this page and we will send you the packet, at no cost to you.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari


Mooney, James. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. (Washington DC; Department of the Navy, 1991).

N/A. "SARATOGA VI." Retrieved 23 December 2010.

Strickland, Sandy. "Save Our Sara Campaign Hasn't Been Forgotten." Florida Times-Union, 1 April 1996.