USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams departs for inaugural deployment

Naval Station Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Blue Crew of the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams and the ship’s Military Sealift Command Civilian Mariners left Naval Station Norfolk on Monday.

The departure to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of operation is the ship’s inaugural deployment following its commissioning in March.

“For the majority of our Sailors, this will be their first deployment, and I can’t think of a more exciting area to operate in. We look forward to our deployment in U.S. Naval Forces Africa.”

Capt. David Gray | Commanding Officer of the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Blue Crew

The Williams is designed around four core capabilities: aviation, berthing, equipment staging area, and command and control. Its main goal is to support a variety of services, freeing up amphibious warships and surface combatant ships to be reassigned for more demanding operational missions.

The ship, christened in 2017 in San Diego and launched into service in 2018, is named after Hershel “Woody” Williams, a U.S. Marine who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism at the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. He’s the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the battle.

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