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NEWS | March 27, 2024

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) joins forces with Ghana Navy in the Gulf of Guinea for exercise Sea Lion 2024

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ethan Morrow, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Public Affairs

The Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) completed its participation in Exercise Sea Lion 2024 alongside the Ghana Navy in the Gulf of Guinea, March 21, 2024.

Sea Lion 24 brought together Hershel “Woody” Williams, the U.S. Navy’s only ship assigned to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), and Ghana Navy ships GNS Volta (P.40) and GNS Ankobra (P.43). The exercise began with a flagging-off ceremony hosted by the Ghana military, with Ghana Chief of Defence Staff Lt. Gen. Thomas Oppong-Peprah leading the ceremony.

In support of the exercise, Hershel “Woody” Williams hosted five Sailors from the Ghana Navy, while two U.S. Sailors embarked on the Ghana Navy vessels. During the personnel exchange, Sailors made their way to longitude and latitude 0° at the center of the Earth. The Sailors then swapped back to their own ship via two separate personnel transfers from Hershel “Woody” Williams’ rigid-hull inflatable boat crew.

“It was a pleasure hosting the Ghana Sailors aboard the “Woody” Williams and being able to learn more about their Navy and culture,” said Capt. Amy Lindahl, commanding officer of Hershel “Woody” Williams. “It was also amazing to see our two Sailors come back with big smiles and great stories to tell about their time on their respective ships.”

Once the ships reached longitude and latitude 0° the Sailors aboard the Ghana ships held a crossing the line ceremony.

“It was an awesome experience to go out there and really learn their culture and crossing the line ceremony,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Andrew Hill, one of the Sailors that embarked aboard the Ghana Navy ships. “It was really great to work together with them because they were absolutely amazing hosts to us while we were onboard.”

Hershel “Woody” Williams is forward deployed to Souda Bay, Greece and serves as the first U.S. Navy ship assigned to the 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.

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 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.