FEBRUARY 23, 2018 — The Navy yesterday accepted delivery of its second Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), from shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO.
Construction of the USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams began October 2015 and involved more than 21,000 tons of steel.
The 784-foot-long ship’s design suits it for a range of missions including air mine counter measures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid, disaster relief missions, and Marine Corps crisis response . MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, and MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft are all supported.
“It’s a privilege to build a ship reflecting the strength, courage and dedicated service of the United States Marine Corps and Woody Williams,” said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “From design through production, the NASSCO team worked tirelessly to make this ship worthy of Woody’s name, while upholding the highest standards of quality and innovation.”
Delivery follows the successful completion of integrated sea trials. From January 15 to 19, the NASSCO team worked alongside government personnel to test the ship’s systems and ensure its readiness for delivery to the Navy. Testing included calibration of the ship’s navigational and propulsion systems, and demonstrations of the ship’s anchor handling, fire fighting and damage control, aviation, navigation and communication equipment.
NASSCO applied lessons learned from ESB 3, USS Lewis B. Puller, during the construction of ESB 4. Construction of ESB 5, the future USNS Miguel Keith, is currently 60 percent complete and will be delivered to the Navy in March 2019.
“The delivery of this ship marks an enhancement in the Navy’s forward presence and ability to execute a variety of expeditionary warfare missions,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “Like the ship’s namesake, USNS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams will exemplify the Navy’s commitment to service.”
USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams is named for Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel Williams. During the battle of Iwo Jima, then Cpl. Williams bravely went forward alone against enemy machine gun fire to open a lane for the infantry.