The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) participated in the first iteration of the Brazilian-led, Gulf of Guinea exercise called Operation Guinex with the Brazilian Frigate Independencia on Aug. 23, 2021.
Guinex is the first exercise off of Africa’s Atlantic coast to have participation by both U.S. and Brazilian naval vessels. The engagement highlights the U.S. and Brazil’s shared interest in maritime safety and freedom of commerce in the southern Atlantic.
A representative from the U.S. Coast Guard, Lt. Carl M. Eschler, is also embarked aboard Independencia to participate in the exercise.
The exercise will run from August through September 2021.
“This is an important exercise for both of our navies,” said Capt. Chad Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. “It was a pleasure working with the Brazilians and having their personnel embarked with us, and we look forward to future opportunities to cooperate.”
While at sea, Hershel “Woody” Williams conducted small boat and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) drills, as well as maneuvering exercises.
“The drills we performed with the Brazilians during Operation Guinex increase our awareness of the best ways to counteract piracy and illicit fisheries operations in the region,” Graham said.
Hershel “Woody” Williams recently completed a maritime security exercise with the Nigerian Navy and members of Ghana’s Special Boat Squadron.
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.