Officers assigned to the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) participated in a maritime interoperability planning event with leaders from the Nigerian Navy, Aug 7.
Hershel “Woody” Williams is scheduled to participate in a three-day at sea training exercise with Nigerian offshore patrol vessels and members of Ghana’s Special Boat Squadron (SBS). Over the last decade, Gulf of Guinea nations have steadily increased their capability of working together and sharing information.
Capt. Chad Graham, Hershel “Woody” Williams’ commanding officer, also met with the chief of operations for the Nigerian Navy Western Naval Command (WNC), Commodore Daupreye Franklin Matthew, to discuss their shared commitment to a peaceful, well-policed Gulf of Guinea.
“Maritime engagements that include many navies working together really improve our interoperability and collective capability, which are absolutely necessary for a busy area such as the Gulf of Guinea,” Graham said. “We’re happy to be working with our Nigerian partners to plan our at-sea multinational engagements, and we’re looking forward to a successful event that demonstrates our commitment to maritime security in the region.”
While visiting Lagos, Sailors assigned to Hershel “Woody” Williams will also help paint Lagos State Model Nursery and Primary School Achakpo Ajegunle, as well as play sports with members of the Nigerian Navy.
“We greatly appreciate Nigeria, and the city of Lagos, for welcoming our crew to their country,” Graham said. “Nigeria is the lynchpin for Gulf of Guinea maritime security; our Sailors are excited to be working with their counterparts at sea and to engage with Nigerian communities ashore.”
Nigeria maintains the largest navy in the Gulf of Guinea region and is critical to security and stability in Africa.
USS 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.
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.
The ESB ship class is a highly flexible platform that may be used 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.
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.