NEWS | May 28, 2021

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Conducts Interoperability Exercises During Phoenix Express 2021

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa Public Affairs

USS Hershel “Woody Williams (ESB-4) conducts interoperability exercises with Algerian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Spanish, and Tunisian Naval forces during the at-sea portion of exercise Phoenix Express in the Mediterranean Sea, May 25, 2021.

"These exercises provide a great opportunity to demonstrate interoperability between our forces and further deepen our countries' military-to-military relationship," said Capt. Michael E. Concannon, commanding officer, Hershel "Woody" Williams, Gold Crew. "Working together at sea alongside our allies and partners demonstrates our commitment to maritime security? and stability in North Africa."

Exercise Phoenix Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, is designed to improve regional cooperation, increase maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities in order to enhance efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.

The at-sea portion of the exercise will test North African, European, and U.S. maritime forces’ abilities to respond to irregular migration and combat illicit trafficking and the movement of illegal goods and materials. 

The eleven nations participating in PE21 are Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, and the United States.

Exercise Phoenix Express is one of three regional maritime exercises executed by NAVAF as part of a comprehensive strategy to provide collaborative opportunities amongst African forces and international partners that addresses maritime security concerns.

Hershel “Woody” Williams is home ported in Souda Bay, Greece, and conducts U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) missions in the Mediterranean and the waters around East, South, and West Africa to include the Gulf of Guinea, operating with regional partners. The ship will be a long-term presence assigned to the AFRICOM mission set and will support security cooperation missions and operations in and around the African continent. 

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.