The US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) arrived in Luanda, Angola, for a regularly scheduled port visit on 7 September.
During the visit, Hershel “Woody” Williams will participate in a Women, Peace, and Security conference with Angolan government and military leaders to discuss opportunities for women leaders through peacekeeping capability building activities and exercises, the US Navy said.
“We are proud to attend this Women, Peace, and Security conference in Luanda and represent the Navy’s support of women playing an active role in the global security sector,” said Commander Ernique Sesler, executive officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. “It takes continued discussion and dedication by military personnel to foster these opportunities.”
Sesler will also be leading the Hershel “Woody” Williams’ participation in the conference.
The conference supports a larger mission led by US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and US Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) to facilitate meaningful participation of women within the security sector.
Sailors assigned to Hershel “Woody” Williams will also continue building partnerships through a community relations activity at a local beach.
“Having tangible experiences that make a real impact on the places we visit allows Sailors to build personal connections with local communities, connections that extend further than they know,” said Captain Chad Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams.
USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the US Africa Command area of responsibility. The vessel has made stops at numerous West African countries’ ports, including Nigeria at the beginning of August. Hershel “Woody” Williams then participated in a three-day at sea training exercise with Nigerian offshore patrol vessels and members of Ghana’s Special Boat Squadron (SBS).
Prior to arriving in Nigeria, members of the Ghanaian Special Boat Squadron embarked aboard the Hershel “Woody” Williams to participate in maritime security training alongside the Nigerian Navy, on 5 August.
Hershel “Woody” Williams arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, for a scheduled port visit on 28 July. The visit also kicked off the US Embassy in Liberia’s year-long observance of the 175th year of the Republic of Liberia.
Later in the month, the vessel took part in the first iteration of the Brazilian-led, Gulf of Guinea exercise called Operation Guinex with the Brazilian Frigate Independencia on 23 August.
For just over a year, after leaving Norfolk, Virginia, in late July 2020, Williams has been deployed to the US 6th Fleet region to support missions in Europe and Africa. While officially homeported in Souda Bay, Greece, the mobile sea base has spent little time there over the past year because its permanent assignment is to US Africa Command. In July, the ship swapped out its crew at the Naval Station Rota in Spain after sailing around Africa from Djibouti.