USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams arrives in Mozambique


The United States Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) arrived in Maputo, Mozambique, for a scheduled port visit on 15 October in the first US naval ship visit to the country since 2011.

The visit will include engagement opportunities with Mozambican military and government leaders, including a ship tour and capabilities demonstrations. Additionally, the visit will include engagement opportunities for the crew to interact with the local community, the US Navy said.

“My crew is very excited for the opportunity to visit Mozambique, experience their culture, and make a positive impact in Maputo during our time here,” said Captain Chad Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams. “Partnership with Mozambique is a point of pride for the Navy, as cooperation enhances our commitment to safety and maritime security in the Western Indian Ocean.”

“Our ability to conduct this level of military cooperation is a testament to the strength of the strategic partnership between our countries,” said Dennis W Hearne, US Ambassador to Mozambique. “We share a common interest in ensuring the security, safety, and freedom of navigation in southern Africa, which is critical for Mozambique’s prosperity.”

The US Navy said that Mozambique is a critical partner in maintaining peace and stability in the Western Indian Ocean. “Additionally, Mozambique participated in exercise Cutlass Express in August 2021, a multinational maritime exercise held in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. These types of exercises strengthen partnerships and allow countries to work more closely on shared transnational maritime challenges.”

The US Embassy in Mozambique noted that there is a long history of security cooperation between the United States and Mozambique. Recent US-Mozambique security cooperation includes regular Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) programmes between US Special Operations Forces and Mozambican commandos and Fuzileiros. In addition to combat training, the United States offers combat casualty care and civil-military training.

The USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams previously spent two weeks in Cape Town, arriving in South Africa on 25 September. The vessel carried out routine maintenance while docked in Cape Town.