The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest America-class amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA 7) during a ceremony in Pascagoula, Mississippi on July 15.
Although the Navy canceled the traditional public commissioning ceremony due to public health and safety restrictions on large public gatherings, the Navy commissioned the USS Tripoli administratively and the ship transitioned to normal operations.
The Navy said in a statement that it is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the USS Tripoli’s sponsor, crew and commissioning committee.
“USS Tripoli is proof of what the teamwork of all of our people – civilian, contractor and military – can accomplish together,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “This ship will extend the maneuverability and lethality of our fleet to confront the many challenges of a complex world, from maintaining the sea lanes to countering instability to maintaining our edge in this era of renewed great power competition.”
Rear Adm. Philip E. Sobeck, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group THREE, welcomes the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, and crew, to the amphibious force.
“Tripoli is an example of the continued investment in our Navy, to increase and maintain our edge on the battlefield,” said Sobeck. “Congratulations to Tripoli’s crew for all of your hard work, amidst these challenging times, to reach this milestone. We welcome you to the amphibious force, of combat ready ships and battle-minded crews to go to sea and support sustained combat operations.”
Tripoli’s commanding officer, Capt. Kevin Myers, highlighted Tripoli’s accomplishments over the past several months getting through initial sea trials. The hard work and dedication of the entire team during the past few years was evident in the successful execution of at-sea testing.
“Being the third ship to bear the Tripoli namesake is a profound honor and this crew stands ready to carry on the legacy of our longstanding Navy and Marine Corps amphibious community,” said Meyers. “These sailors and Marines will pave the way for those still to come. What’s remarkable is seeing the dedication, perseverance and resilience these new plank owners have shown since day one, and more recently, through uncertain times as the Navy and nation work through a pandemic. There is no doubt in my mind that this team is ready to answer the nation’s call at any time or place.”
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 last year. She was officially delivered to the Navy by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding Division on Feb. 28 this year.
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.