NEWS | Aug. 12, 2021

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Strengthens Partnership in Ghana, Continues NAVAF Women, Peace, and Security Initiative

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) arrived in Tema, Ghana for a scheduled port visit, Aug. 12, 2021.

Members of Ghana’s Special Boat Squadron embarked Hershel “Woody” Williams earlier this month to participate in a maritime security capabilities exercise with partners in the Gulf of Guinea.

“It was great having our Ghanaian embarkees aboard to interact with the crew, and to participate in the maritime security capabilities exercise we conducted,” Capt. Chad Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, said. “In-person interactions like this go a long way toward solidifying national partnerships, and we look forward to building on our two navies’ relationship in the future.”

The visit will include hosting Ghanaian government and military dignitaries for a ship tour of the pilothouse and Combat Information Center (CIC) as well as a flight deck demonstration of the ship’s casualty and medical response capabilities.

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy, who are studying abroad this semester at the University of Ghana, will also visit the ship as a part of a larger Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) initiative led by Commander, Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF). The students will participate in gender cooperation briefs and community relations activities led by U.S. Embassy Accra.

“Having future naval officers visit our ship affords them an opportunity to have real-world exposure to the international importance of their service, and the focus on the WPS initiative allows us to learn how we can better foster opportunities for women leaders within that service,” Graham said.

NAVEUR-NAVAF believes peace processes in which women participate as mediators, negotiators, and as part of interest groups have significantly better prospects than those in which women are absent.

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. The U.S. shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent, because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.

For over 70 years, U.S. Sixth Fleet forces have forged strategic relationships with our allies and partners and solidified a foundation of shared values, experiences, and vision aimed at preserving security and stability.

The ESB ship class is a highly flexible platform that may be used across a broad range of military operations. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to support missions assigned.

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.