Steele was then transferred back to the United States where he commanded Aircraft, Scouting Force, and Carrier Division One. In July of 1932, he was given the prestigious command of the USS Saratoga, the third aircraft carrier in the United States Navy. It seemed certain that Captain Steele would soon be promoted to Admiral. These hopes were dashed when Saratoga ran aground in foggy weather later that year. Steele successfully refloated the ship with no damage. Though he was not responsible, Steele was court-martialed in October. He was then passed over for promotion in December. He retired from the Navy on December 31, 1932 after 36 years of service in the United States Navy (George W. Steele, Jr.).