ESB USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams makes stop in Naples

The US Navy’s expeditionary sea base, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), arrived in port Naples, Italy, for a routine logistics stop on August 13, 2020.

US Navy
Photo: US Navy

The ship, which is the second of a new class of sea-basing ships, departed Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on July 27, for its inaugural deployment following its commissioning in March.

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Its crew consists of a mix of US Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners.

At 784 feet long, the ship features a 52,000 square-feet four-spot flight deck. Further features include a hangar, mission deck, and work and living spaces for hundreds of embarked personnel. Additionally, for the US Navy crew, there is a Blue Crew and a Gold Crew, which will turn over periodically to allow for continuity while the ship remains forward deployed.

“In this complex maritime environment, a ship like this enables options to project power with a persistent presence. The ship is ideal for missions in this theater as it can readily integrate with the Marines and our allies and partners in many of our operations throughout the region at varying levels of complexity,” Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, commented.

Black added that ship will be a long-term presence assigned to the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) mission set and will support security cooperation missions and operations in and around the African continent.