Goodbye USS Saratoga CV-60
Friday, August 8th, 2014 – more than 100 veterans from all eras of the carrier’s life took part in a farewell ceremony at Naval Station Newport. The Saratoga will be towed to Texas later this month to be dismantled! It is with great honor that I knew you, and a heavy heart that I am forced to say goodbye to such a warrior and icon of our seas. I never had the privilege of serving aboard your deck, but I was your brother in arms serving beside you from the safety of the USS Ranger CVA-61. Like our country, you could only be destroyed from within, and I am so saddened by this event. You deserved better, as do all your brothers and sisters that served with you and I will continue to remember your contributions to America and so many other grateful nations. Semper FI my lady!
The greatest Aircraft Carriers that instilled freedom for millions of people, not only in the United States but worldwide are being sold off for scrap. Does that sound like a worthy proposition to you? I have never met a single person that was not totally amazed at the prospect of serving aboard such a great ship. These mighty warriors are pure amazement to those that have ever wondered, “how’d they do that”? Everyone has to take a moment to think of what life would have been like on board one of these floating cities.
The very idea of so many men (and women) being on board one ship at the same time bewilders the non sailor in every corner of the universe. Did they really have 3 mess decks serving meals, 24 hours per day? How big were the engines and props that moved this huge hunk of iron across the ocean. Did it burn gas? Diesel? Or was it Nuclear Powered? “I’d like to see that” is always the response you hear after answering such questions. How many decks (floors) were there under water? How many planes could be repaired and readied in the hangar bay? Where were the bombs that the fighter planes carried stored? What ever became of all the trash created by so many people? How did you get fuel and food while out at sea for long periods of time? How long were the flight deck and how much space was used to stop an incoming plane?
These are just a handful of the questions that people of all ages and origins have about these mighty Super Carriers. If I had my way, these former homes to so many of our bravest men and women would be on display in every state that bordered water. Think about it! Can vacation resorts near the ocean have too many water parks? Restaurants? Golf Courses? If you think that places like Savannah, GA. or Charleston, SC. have too many historical homes on view to the public, then a place like Williamsburg, VA. would definitely not make sense. Now, if showcasing these former lifestyles and architectural renderings are of interests to millions of vacationing Americans each year, why wouldn’t a former defender of our nations freedom i.e. an Aircraft Carrier, on display be a good idea?
Yes – it would be expensive to merely have electricity and running water available to keep these monuments to our freedom in shipshape and safe for the public to view. I’d bet everyone of you will agree that the money used to preserve and display one of these carriers would be better spent this way than giving it to some country’s despot leader to hoard. Our citizens are taxed and the money spent to build hospitals, roads and schools in a foreign nation that hates the American way of life. I say, “Cut back on this fools folly of foreign aid” and spend the money on Americans and preserve our patriotic vessels.
The below Aircraft Carriers could be placed in docks or even floating offshore (reached by ferry) from the state of Washington to Maine. The jobs for Veterans, working as tour guides and so many other American citizens that could be created have to be in the thousands. Tour Guides for: Engine Room, Berthing Areas, Officer Country, Ordinance Magazine, Engineering Log Room & Departmental Tours, Mess Decks, General Quarters Command Center, Hangar Bay, Flight Deck, The Bridge, are but a few of jobs that could be extended to Veterans.
Why Scrap old fighter planes or send them to the Bone Yard? Many of these should be used and put on display in the Hangar Bays and Flight Decks. Huge Las Vegas style video screens showing re-enactments of past events located in Hangar Bays and on the Flight Deck could enthrall millions of tourist every year. Imagine the millions of people that have been entertained by Civil War and Revolutionary War re-enactment presentations along the East Coast of the United States. These things could be done aboard an Aircraft Carrier Museum. Would any American not relish the idea of having a meal in a restaurant on board one of these wonders of the world?
Congress needs to think a little further past the end of their nose, and save these patriotic symbols of American freedom. Without them, hundreds of thousands more of American lives would have perished in the World Wars, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Let’s show some respect for our living military personnel and those that died serving on these Carriers and preserve them. They still have a tremendous value to add to our nation.
Click here for list of present day “decommissioned” Aircraft Carriers