USS Tripoli arrives in San Diego
Sailors “man the rail” as the USS Tripoli arrives in San Diego. Navy photo

Just a month after a fire heavily damaged the USS Bonhomme Richard, the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship arrived Friday at Naval Base San Diego.

The USS Tripoli is the second ship in the America class, which will ultimately number 11 vessels. The ships are essentially small aircraft carriers, deploying with over 30 helicopters, V-22 Osprey triltrotors and F-35B short-takeoff stealth fighters to support a Marine amphibious landing.

The 45,000-ton, 850-foot-long Tripoli was commissioned on July 15 at the shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and sailed around South American on its shakedown voyage.

“Our sailors did an outstanding job in getting Tripoli safely to our new home port 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.”

The new ship joins four older Wasp-class amphibious assault vessels in San Diego, the USS Essex, USS Boxer, USS Makin Island and the Bonhomme Richard.

No decision has been announced yet on whether the Bonhomme Richard will be repaired or replaced.

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.”

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