USS Hershel “Woody” Williams off the Gulf of Guinea with Ghanian, Italian Navies

The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) on Monday conducted a tracking exercise with the Ghanaian and Italian navies in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Williams is on a regularly-scheduled deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of operations. The ship is a key element in the integration between U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations. This is especially relevant for Marine aviation and support to amphibious operations.

The Ghanaian Navy Snake-class patrol vessel GNS Ehwor (P37) and Italian Navy frigate Federico Martinengo (F 596) worked with the Tema Maritime Operations Center. They tracked Hershel “Woody” Williams to simulate an interception and boarding off the Ghanaian coast.

The exercise was conducted to build partner capacity and exercise Ghanaian capabilities to track and intercept vessels of interest within the country’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ).
The Ghanaian Navy does play a critical role in combating illicit activity in the Gulf of Guinea.

Capt. David L. Gray, Commanding Officer, Hershel “Woody” Williams, Blue Team shared his perspective on Monday’s exercise, “We are excited to train alongside our Ghanaian and Italian counterparts in the Gulf of Guinea. Evolutions like today’s reinforce the strong partnerships and our mutual dedication to security and stability in the region.”

No personnel or boardings were conducted during the training evolution due to the Corona Virus.

It is a normal routine for the U.S. Navy to train with allied and partner nations. Doing so enhances maneuverability capabilities and interoperability by establishing communication and safety standards, strengthening regional maritime security.

The exercise is the latest engagement with the Ghanaian Navy to build the U.S.-Ghana partnership in the maritime domain. The Ghanaian Navy is a regular participant in U.S. military exercises such as Obangame Express.

The Williams also can conduct training and operations for Special Operations, command and control and the staging of equipment and other assets, as directed.

The ship will continue to be a long-term presence assigned to the U.S. Africa Command mission set. It will support security cooperation missions and operations in and around the African continent.

The U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Fleet is headquartered in Naples, Italy. It conducts joint and naval operations, supporting regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.

200928-N-AO868-1150 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 28, 2020) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Samantha Taylor lands an NH 90 Helicopter assigned to the Italian Navy frigate Federico Martinego (F 596) on the flight deck the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) in the Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 28, 2020. Hershel “Woody” Williams is on its inaugural deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of responsibility in support of maritime missions and special operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Conner Foy/ Released)
200928-N-AO868-1325 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 28, 2020) An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to the “Ghost Riders” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 takes off from the flight deck the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) in the Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 28, 2020. Hershel “Woody” Williams is on its inaugural deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of responsibility in support of maritime missions and special operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Conner Foy/ Released)

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