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NEWS | Feb. 20, 2024

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams successfully completes maintenance period in Croatia

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

The Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) completed its routine planned maintenance in Rijeka, Croatia Feb. 8, 2024 at Viktor Lenac Shipyard.

Military Sealift Command, Europe and Africa (MSCEURAF) and Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC) successfully executed the ship’s planned Mid-Term Availability (MTA), a depot-level maintenance period. Planned maintenance periods like MTAs are critical to maintain safety and mission-essential equipment and ensure the ship will reach its planned service life.

Maintenance work during the MTA included Safety of Life At Sea equipment such as communication, fire safety, and navigation, as well as upgrading decking and coatings to increase safety, especially in adverse operating conditions. Modernization efforts included renovating crew storage spaces and upgrading systems to comply with updated MARPOL standards, which prevents pollution by ships through rigorous international requirements.

“Thanks to the combined FDRMC/MSC team, the ship’s crew and our industry partner Viktor Lenac, Hershel “Woody” Williams successfully completed its forward-deployed maintenance period,” said Capt. Brian Karosich, FDRMC commanding officer. “Keeping the ship fully mission-ready requires well-planned and executed maintenance periods like this MTA. Assigned full-time to the AFRICOM area of responsibility, we know the ship’s enormous impact on the Sixth Fleet mission and are proud to get her back on station fully mission ready!”

Hershel “Woody” Williams is forward deployed to Souda Bay, Greece and serves as the first U.S. Navy ship assigned to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) area of responsibility. The ship is capable of conducting expeditionary missions, counter piracy, maritime security, and humanitarian and disaster relief operations. Hershel "Woody" Williams’ unique capabilities are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to support global missions. The ship operates with blue and gold crews, allowing it to remain continually deployed throughout AFRICOM.

FDRMC provides emergent, intermediate and depot-level maintenance and modernization for transient and Forward Deployed Naval Forces in U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleets through fleet technical assistance, voyage repair, contract management oversight, assessments, and diving and salvage.

MSC operates approximately 125 naval auxiliary civilian-crewed ships, replenishes U.S. Navy ships, strategically prepositions combat cargo at sea and moves military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners around the world.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-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 USEUCOM and 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.