USS Tripoli (LPH-10), an Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship, was laid down on 15 June 1964 at Pascagoula, Mississippi, by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation; launched on 31 July 1965; sponsored by Mrs. Jane Cates, the wife of General Clifton B. Cates, former Commandant of the Marine Corps; and commissioned on 6 August 1966 at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Capt. Henry Suerstedt, Jr., in command. She was named for the Battle of Tripoli Harbor.
Following three months fitting out at Philadelphia, the amphibious assault ship put to sea on 6 November 1966, bound for the west coast. She transited the Panama Canal at mid-month and arrived at her home port, San Diego, on 22 November 1966. Final acceptance trials, shakedown training, and post-shakedown availability at Long Beach occupied the warship until she embarked Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 463, elements of Marine Observation Squadron (VMO) 6, and some members of the staff of the Commander, Amphibious Squadron (ComPhibRon) B on 1 May 1967 and departed San Diego, bound for the western Pacific.