USS Essex (LHD-2) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship built at what is now Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and commissioned on 17 October 1992 while moored at North Island NAS beside the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). It is the fifth ship named for Essex County, Massachusetts. Dick Cheney, then the Secretary of Defense in the first Bush Administration, spoke at the commissioning ceremony. Essex served as the command ship for Expeditionary Strike Group Seven until replaced by the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on 23 April 2012.
The Essex collided with USNS Yukon (T-AO-202) in May 2012.