Future USS Tripoli
The future USS Tripoli undergoing sea trials in October. Courtesy Huntington Ingalls Industries

As the USS Bonhomme Richard continued to burn at Naval Base San Diego, the Navy on Wednesday commissioned a new amphibious assault ship that will be based in San Diego.

The USS Tripoli, the second ship in the America-class, is an improvement over the Wasp-class Bonhomme Richard. The new 46,000 ton warship is small aircraft carrier, capable of carrying over 30 aircraft, including helicopters, MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors and the new F-35B vertical-takeoff stealth fighter.

The commissioning at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Mississippi was virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, though the Navy plans a future public event.

“Tripoli is an example of the continued investment in our Navy, to increase and maintain our edge on the battlefield,” said Rear Adm. Philip E. 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.”

Sobeck, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3, briefed the media in San Diego on Tuesday about progress in fighting the raging fire on the Bonhomme Richard.

The new warship’s name commemorates the Marines who captured the city of Derna, Libya, in 1805 to end the First Barbary War. The event was later memorialized in the Marines’ Hymn with the line, “to the shores of Tripoli.”

The Tripoli is the 10th amphibious assault ship in the Navy’s fleet. A third America-class assault ship, the future USS Bougainville, is under construction.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.