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NEWS | March 10, 2022

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Joins Partners, Allies for Obangame Express 22

The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) joined partners and allies for the 11th iteration of exercise Obangame Express, Mar. 10, 2022.

Obangame Express is one of three regional African exercises facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. The exercise is part of a comprehensive strategy by U.S. Sixth Fleet and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) to provide collaborative opportunities among African forces and international partners to address maritime security concerns.

“Participating in Obangame Express showcases U.S., ally and partner nation commitment to the regional maritime security, stability and economic prosperity of our coastal African partners,” said Capt. Michael Concannon, commanding officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. “As the first U.S. Navy ship permanently assigned to the AFRICOM area of responsibility, we are excited to work with our partners to improve our communication and information sharing capabilities and increase partner nation capability to improve maritime security and stability.  All coastal nations benefit from the free flow of materials and commerce through a safe and secure maritime domain.”

The exercise consists of classroom demonstrations and maritime events that focus on improving regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices and tactical interdiction expertise that enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.

Obangame Express will see participation from 32 nations which include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, and the United States.

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. 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.