NEWS | Nov. 14, 2021

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Arrives in Djibouti, Conducts Maritime Interoperability Exercises

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

The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) conducted bilateral maritime flight operations with French SA-330 Pumas off the coast of Djibouti prior to arriving in Djibouti City for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 13, 2021.

The visit will include engagement opportunities with Djiboutian military and government leaders as well as a Women, Peace, and Security reception with government and military leaders to discuss opportunities for women leaders through peacekeeping capability building activities and exercises.

"Djibouti is a crucial partner in fostering maritime security and free trade," said Capt. Chad W. Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel "Woody" Williams. "The United States and Djiboutian Navies have a long history of working multilaterally with other nations in the region to combat illicit maritime activity. On this visit, we are excited to be working with Djibouti, and to conduct flight operations with the French."

This marks the Hershel “Woody” Williams’ eleventh port visit during her circumnavigation deployment of Africa. Djibouti is a critical partner in maintaining peace and stability in the Western Indian Ocean region. Additionally, Djibouti 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.

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.

The ESB ship class is a highly flexible platform that operates 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.

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.

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.