Group says final goodbye to USS Saratoga

AP Photo/Matt York

A private farewell ceremony was held Friday for the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga at Pier One in Newport.

About 180 members of the USS Saratoga Reunion Association and others gathered to see the ship one last time. The Saratoga is to be scrapped.

The ceremony included a prayer and the playing of taps.

The Saratoga was one of four Forrestal-class supercarriers built for the United States Navy in the 1950s. The ship spent most its career in Mediterranean, but also saw service in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm.

The Saratoga was decommissioned in 1994 and was towed to Newport four years later. The USS Saratoga Museum Foundation wanted to display the ship at Quonset, but it couldn't raise enough money.

Earlier this year, the Navy awarded a 1-cent contract to a Texas company to dismantle the Saratoga. The company will keep all proceeds from selling the scrap metal.

The Saratoga is expected to be towed from Newport the week of Aug. 18.