Fairfax County (LST-1193) was named for a county in Virginia. She was laid down on 28 March 1970 at San Diego, Calif., by the National Steel & Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 19 December 1970; sponsored by Mrs. James W. O'Grady; and commissioned on 16 October 1971, Comdr. John F. Neese in command.
Following commissioning, Fairfax County transited the Panama Canal to her new home port, Little Creek, Va., where she was assigned to the Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet. Into 1980, the tank landing ship alternated amphibious training operations along the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean with regular, extended deployments to the Mediterranean.