CAPE TOWN, South Africa –
The Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) arrived in Cape Town, South Africa for a scheduled port visit, Aug. 29, 2022.
During the port visit, the crew of Hershel “Woody” Williams is slated to resupply fuel and promote maritime security through a persistent presence in African waters in close cooperation with African partners.
“Our frequent stops in South Africa showcase our dedication to our South African counterparts as we work on issues of mutual interest and maritime security within the region,” said Capt. Chad Graham, commanding officer of Hershel “Woody” Williams. “We look forward to continuing to build upon the already great relationship between the United States and South Africa.”
This visit builds on Hershel “Woody” Williams’ recent circumnavigation of the African continent. In September 2021, Williams visited Cape Town and participated in engagement opportunities with South African government and military leaders, to include Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) discussions, ship tours, medical exchanges, and musical performances. In October 2021, the ship also became the first expeditionary sea base to complete a voyage repair availability in South Africa.
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 United States sees very clearly the range of interests and values we share with South Africa and the South African National Defense Force (SANDF),” said U.S. Consul General in Cape Town Todd Haskell. “This includes commitment to the rule of law, countering trafficking, addressing shared security threats, and ensuring free and open transit and trade, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.”
Following the port visit, Hershel “Woody” Williams will continue its scheduled deployment within the Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations.
USS Hershel "Woody" Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. The ship is capable of executing additional missions including counter-piracy, maritime security, and humanitarian and disaster relief, as well as support a variety of rotary wing aircraft. 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 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.