U.S. Navy’s Newest Amphibious Assault Ship USS Tripoli Arrives at San Diego Homeport
The U.S. Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, USS Tripoli (LHA 7), arrived at its new homeport in San Diego, Sept. 18.
USS Tripoli, the second America-class landing helicopter assault (LHA) ship, arrived at Naval Base San Diego following its commissioning and subsequent sail around South America this summer.
“Our Sailors did an outstanding job in getting Tripoli safely to our new homeport of San Diego,” said Capt. Kevin Meyers, Tripoli’s commanding officer. “Now, we shift our focus to preparing this ship for her future mission: supporting combat operations and providing humanitarian assistance around the globe, in the air, on land, and sea.”
Tripoli, the only America-class amphibious assault ship in San Diego, joins the Wasp-class large deck amphibious assault vessels USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), and USS Makin Island (LHD 8). As the largest amphibious ship on the waterfront, Tripoli serves as an LHD variant designed to accommodate the Marine Corps’ future Air Combat Element (ACE) including the F-35B Lightning II and MV-22 Osprey.
“Tripoli serves as a fine example of our Sailors’ ability to learn, adapt, and continuously improve even in the face of uncertainty,” said Capt. Jennifer Ellinger, commodore of Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 7. “The ship’s arrival here today is exciting and the crew has worked diligently to get to this point.”
Tripoli’s arrival brings approximately 1,100 Sailors and their family members to the San Diego area.
“It will be nice to get the ship to her homeport in San Diego, a city that is renowned for its continuing support of our service members,” said Master Chief Alicia Harrison, Tripoli’s acting Command Master Chief. “This crew has not ceased to amaze me in how they have risen to every challenge from ship’s delivery, to crew move aboard, to operating under new health guidelines, to sail around.”
Tripoli is the second LHA to be delivered to the Navy, and the third in naval history to bear the name which harkens back to the first U.S. battle fought on foreign soil. The name Tripoli was previously assigned to a Casablanca-class escort carrier which saw service in the Second World War. Later, the first amphibious assault ship with the name USS Tripoli (LPH 10) served in Vietnam and during the Gulf War.
Tripoli was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by Huntington Ingalls Industries. Prior to departing for San Diego, Tripoli’s crew conducted a 14-day restriction of movement (ROM) in accordance with U.S. Navy pre-deployment guidelines. In addition, the Navy cancelled the ship’s traditional commissioning ceremony as a COVID mitigation measure. The Navy commissioned Tripoli via naval message on 15 July and transitioned the ship into service as scheduled.
USS Tripoli (LHA-7)
The USS Tripoli (LHA-7) is the second America-class amphibious assault ship built for the United States Navy.
The construction of LHA 7 began in July 2013, and the ship’s keel was laid in a ceremony on 20 June 2014 in Pascagoula. Tripoli was christened on 16 September 2017, with Lynne Mabus (wife of former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus) as her sponsor.
The vessel completed her builder’s trials on June 19 and acceptance trials in October, 2019. She was officially delivered to the Navy by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding Division on Feb. 28, 2020.
LHA 7 is the third Navy ship to be named Tripoli. The name honors and commemorates the force of U.S. Marines and approximately 370 soldiers from 11 other nationalities who captured the city of Derna, Libya, during the 1805 Battle of Derna. The battle resulted in a subsequent peace treaty and the successful conclusion of the combined operations of the First Barbary War, and was later memorialized in the Marines’ Hymn with the line, “to the shores of Tripoli.” The Battle of Derna was the first recorded land battle of the United States fought overseas.
Amphibious assault ships project power and maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of the amphibious ready group or expeditionary strike group. These ships transport elements of the U.S. Marine Corps’ (USMC) Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) or Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) with a combination of aircraft and landing craft.
LHA 7 incorporates the fuel-efficient gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution, and electric auxiliary systems first installed on Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). LHA 7 is 844 feet in length, has a displacement of approximately 44,000 long tons, and will be capable of operating at speeds of over 20 knots.
The USS Tripoli is the last Flight 0 America-class LHA ship planned for construction and features an enlarged hangar deck, realignment, and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, an increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. LHA 8 (future USS Bougainville) will be the first Flight I ship, reincorporating a well deck to enhance expeditionary warfighting capabilities while maintaining the principal aviation characteristics of the Flight 0 ships.
Optimized for aviation capability, Tripoli will enhance Marine Corps aviation with an enlarged hangar deck, greater maintenance capability, and JP-5 fuel capacity.