Tag Archives: USS Tripoli (LHA 7)

VS22 Looking Flat

It is just a little bit over 80 years after the Plum/Pensacola/Republic Convoy was ordered to make for Australia instead of reinforcing the Philippines– a good call because the 2,000 mobilized National Guardsmen and two warships (the cruiser USS Pensacola and gunboat USS Niagra) of Task Group 15.5 would have had little-to-no effect on the disastrous Dec. 1941-May 42 Fall of the Philippines, only adding to the number of 78,000 surrendered American and Allied troops.

However, in a reboot of naval power on display, Valiant Shield 2022 was just held in the Philippine Sea and the ninth biennial U.S.-only exercise was a decent show of strength, at least in terms of carrier power.

VS22 this year included both two carrier strike groups —USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 embarked, and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) with CVW 9 embarked– along with USS Tripoli (LHA-7), the latter of which recently showed off a 16-strong F-35B loadout as part of the “Lightning Carrier” concept.

Roll that beautiful bean footage:

How about those stills: 

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gray Gibson)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gray Gibson)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gray Gibson)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gray Gibson)

On the downside, I would love to see two or three times that amount of escorts around three flattops, as the carriers are only trailed by two elderly Ticos (which are soon to be retired)– USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and USS Antietam (CG 54)— and three Burkes: USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Spruance (DDG 111), and the recently-rebuilt USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62).

It really is sad that the vast squadrons of CGNs, CG-converted DLGs, DDG-2s, Spru-Cans, Knoxes, and FFG-7s were slaughtered in the 1990s and early 2000s without replacement other than the Navy continuing to order $1.8-Billion-per-hull Burkes.

Appropriately, the pinnacle event of VS22 was the sinking exercise (SINKEX) on the decommissioned FFG-7, ex-USS Vandegrift (FFG 48).

McHenry (or Derna) Flag at the Golden Gate

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 11, 2021) Sailors aboard USS Tripoli (LHA 7) man the rails as the America-class amphibious assault ship prepares to pull into San Francisco for an annual Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) exercise, part of the upcoming San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW). SFFW is an opportunity for the American public to meet their Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard teams and experience America’s sea services. During Fleet Week, set for Oct. 4-11, service members participate in various community service events, showcase capabilities and equipment to the community, and enjoy the hospitality of San Francisco and its surrounding areas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julian Moorefield)

Easy to spot, against the fog-shrouded Bay, is Tripoli’s 15-starred flag, of the kind flown from 4 July 1795 to 4 July 1818, including the 1805 Battle of Derna where U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Presley Neville O’Bannon led seven Marines (and 500 of what we would call today “regional private military contractors” under Navy LT William Eaton) to storm the “Shores of Tripoli.”

Of course, that “star-spangled banner” is flown at a number of War of 1812 locations, including Fort McHenry and Fort Morgan (nee Fort Bowyer).

A shot I took at Ft. Morgan a few years ago, where it flies to remember Fort Bowyer, an earlier earthwork on the same location that fought off the British in 1814 but fell in a more aggressive attack in 1815