USS TRIPOLI was the fifth IWO JIMA - class amphibious assault ship (helicopter). The USS TRIPOLI was the second ship in the Navy named after the famous amphibious operation that inspired the words in the Marine Hymn - ''...to the shore of Tripoli.'' This land assault was the decisive battle in the Tripolitan War (1801-1805), a war that humbled the piratical Barbs state of Tripoli.
Decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on September 15, 1995, TRIPOLI spent the following years laid up at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, Ca. In December 2006, she was towed to Pearl Harbor, Hi., to serve as a launch platform with the ballistic missile defense program. To launch the small ballistic missiles, the TRIPOLI was towed some 100 miles off shore before taken back to Pearl Harbor. The first test series were completed in October 2007 and a second series followed in 2008.
USS TRIPOLI has earned the following awards: Combat Action Ribbon (3 awards), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation (4 awards), Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy "E" Ribbon (2 awards), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3 awards), Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation for Gallantry, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.
|General Characteristics:||Awarded: December 10, 1962|
|Keel laid: June 15, 1964|
|Launched: July 31, 1965|
|Commissioned: August 6, 1966|
|Decommissioned: September 15, 1995|
|Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, West Bank, Pascagoula, Miss.|
|Propulsion system: Two boilers, one geared steam turbines, one shaft, 22,000 total shaft horsepower|
|Length: 603, 65 feet (184 meters)|
|Beam: 104 feet (31.7 meters)|
|Draft: 25,9 feet (7.9 meters)|
|Aircraft elevators: two|
|Displacement: approx. 19,500 tons full load|
|Speed: 23 knots|
|Aircraft: 20 UH-46D Sea Knight Helicopters, 10 MH-53E Sea Stallion Helicopters, 3 UH-1 Helicopters, 3 AH-1 Helicopters but the actual mix depends upon mission|
|Armament: two Phalanx CIWS, two Mk-25 Sea Sparrow Missile Launchers|
|Crew: 80 officers, 638 enlisted, 1,750 Marine Detachment|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS TRIPOLI. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
USS TRIPOLI Cruise Books:
USS TRIPOLI History:
TRIPOLI was constructed at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Yard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Her keel was laid on June 15, 1964 and was launched on July 31, 1965. TRIPOLI was commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on August 6, 1966. Following outfitting in Philadelphia, TRIPOLI was assigned to the West Coast. TRIPOLI got her ''sea legs'' on the voyage that took her from Philadelphia, via the Panama Canal, to her homeport of San Diego, California. After extensive training off the coast of California, TRIPOLI departed the United States for her first Western Pacific deployment on May 1, 1967. This deployment took her into the Southeast Asian theater during the Vietnam Conflict. As part of the Seventh Fleet Ready Group, TRIPOLI launched eight full-scale amphibious assaults against the insurgent communist guerrilla forces and the North Vietnamese Regular Army (RVN). In addition to her role as a support ship for surface forces, TRIPOLI also served as a medical facility for the immediate evacuation and treatment of wounded personnel. For her actions during this deployment, TRIPOLI was presented with both the Navy Commendation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation by the Secretary of the Navy in May, 1968. The later years of Vietnam, as well as the years following, USS TRIPOLI was involved in numerous key evolutions, exercises and operations. Over and over, TRIPOLI proved herself to be an extremely versatile platform from which various helicopters and the AV-8 Harriers were launched. In 1974, TRIPOLI became the first amphibious ship to carry a full squadron of AV-8 Harrier jets.
As a result of her performance throughout 1976, TRIPOLI received the coveted Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy for demonstrating the greatest improvement in battle efficiency in the Pacific Fleet, and was runner-up for the Admiral Flatley Award for Aviation Safety. TRIPOLI won the COMPHIBRON ONE Professional Olympics three years straight, from 1981-1983. In 1985, TRIPOLI was awarded nine 11 departmental excellence awards. In 1988, TRIPOLI received the CNO Safety Award and again won nine of 11 departmental excellence awards - the most awarded to any amphibious ship - and was runner-up for the Battle ''E''. In 1989, TRIPOLI, no longer content with runner up, won the coveted Battle ''E''. In 1990, the momentum continued as TRIPOLI was named the winner of the Secretary of the Navy's NEY award for food service excellence.
USS TRIPOLI was sent on its 15th Western Pacific deployment on December 1, 1990 in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. TRIPOLI was extended on station in the Persian Gulf and did not return to San Diego until August 8, 1991. The ship was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon on February 18, 1991 following an Iraqi mine strike. According to the US Naval Historical Center, TRIPOLI was the first US Naval vessel to sustain major mine damage and continue operations since the Civil War.
On October 16, 1992, the ''Famous Fighting Ship'' set out once again to put its name into the history books. On December 6, TRIPOLI arrived on station off the coast of Somalia in support of Operation RESTORE HOPE. TRIPOLI was the flagship of the Amphibious Task Force that spearheaded Operation RESTORE HOPE. The task force conducted the initial amphibious landing that secured the international airport and seaport of Mogadishu, Somalia, on December 9. After the initial landing, the ATF continued operations in support of Operation RESTORE HOPE until February 31, 1993, when it was sent into the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.
TRIPOLI set out on her 17th and final Western Pacific deployment on June 9, 1994. TRIPOLI'S fairwell voyage took her off the coast of Somalia once again. This time to assist in the removal of the last of the US forces and US citizens. TRIPOLI also aided in Rwanda relief efforts and when Saddnm Hussein mounted forces along the Kuwaiti borders, TRIPOLI became the first ship on station for Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR.
USS TRIPOLI was decommissioned on September 15, 1995.
Accidents aboard USS TRIPOLI:
|February 18, 1991||off Faylaka Island,|
While assigned to a MCM force sweeping toward the shore of Faylaka Island during the Gulf War on January 17, USS TRIPOLI and the other ships of the MCM force were targeted by Iraqi Silkworm anti-ship missile fire control radars. The MCM force moved out of the missiles' range and after coalition forces destroyed the missile site, the ships returned to the area on January 18, at 0240 local time.
At 0345, after operating for 11 hours in an undetected Iraqi minefield, the USS TRIPOLI hit a moored Iraqi contact mine creating an explosion and ripping a 16 by 20 foot hole below the water line. As USS AVENGER (MCM 1) and USS LEADER attempted to assist the damaged warship, USS PRINCETON (CG 59), while unknowingly heading along a line of Manta mines, continued to provide air defense for the MCM Group but at 0715, also hit a Manta mine in 16 meters of water. As damage control teams overcame fires and flooding aboard USS TRIPOLI and USS PRINCETON, the minesweepers USS IMPERVIOUS, USS LEADER, and USS AVENGER searched for additional mines in the area.
USS TRIPOLI was able to continue her mission for several days before being relieved by USS LA SALLE (AGF 3) and USS NEW ORLEANS (LPH 11).
USS TRIPOLI then proceeded to Bahrain for repair where the photos below were taken.
USS TRIPOLI Patch Gallery:
contributed by Ian Johnson
USS TRIPOLI Image Gallery:
The photos below were taken by me and show the decommissioned TRIPOLI at San Francisco, Calif., on March 19, 2012. The ship is serving as a mobile launch platform as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense Program. Note the "MLP 1" markings on the stern.