The US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) participated in the first iteration of the Brazilian-led, Gulf of Guinea exercise called Operation Guinex with the Brazilian Frigate Independencia on 23 August.
Guinex is the first exercise off of Africa’s Atlantic coast to have participation by both US and Brazilian naval vessels. The engagement highlights the US and Brazil’s shared interest in maritime safety and freedom of commerce in the southern Atlantic, the US Navy said.
A representative from the US Coast Guard, Lieutenant Carl M Eschler, is also embarked aboard Independencia to participate in the exercise.
The exercise will run from August through September 2021.
“This is an important exercise for both of our navies,” said Captain Chad Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. “It was a pleasure working with the Brazilians and having their personnel embarked with us, and we look forward to future opportunities to cooperate.”
While at sea, Hershel “Woody” Williams conducted small boat and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) drills, as well as manoeuvring exercises.
“The drills we performed with the Brazilians during Operation Guinex increase our awareness of the best ways to counteract piracy and illicit fisheries operations in the region,” Graham said.
Hershel “Woody” Williams recently completed a maritime security exercise with the Nigerian Navy and members of Ghana’s Special Boat Squadron.
USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the US Africa Command area of responsibility.