The ex-Saratoga departed under tow by the Signet Maritime tug, MV Signet Warhorse III, in front of thousands of spectactors who lined the shores to get one last glimpse of the decorated ship.
The ship arrived in Newport Aug. 7, 1998 following 38 years of commissioned service with the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1994. The Saratoga, the second carrier of the Forrestal class, completed 22 deployments during her career, including the service off the coast of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and in the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
“It’s sad that she could not be turned into a museum,” said Darryl Fern, 51, of Tatamy, Pennsylvania, who served as an electrician’s mate second class aboard the Saratoga from 1982-1984. “Like all the other older carriers, it’s time for her to meet her demise.”
The ex-Saratoga will now make the approximately 16 day voyage to Brownsville where the ship will be dismantled and recycled by ESCO Marine.