Lewis B. Puller-class USS Hershel joins Brazilian Navy for Operation Guinex

According to information published by the U.S. Navy on August 24, 2021, 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, Aug. 23, 2021.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Lewis B. Puller-class USS Hershel (Picture source: U.S Navy)

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.

The exercise will run from August through September 2021.

While at sea, Hershel “Woody” Williams conducted small boat and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) drills, as well as maneuvering exercises.

Hershel “Woody” Williams recently completed a maritime security exercise with the Nigerian Navy and members of Ghana’s Special Boat Squadron.

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.

The USS Hershel "Woody" Williams (ESB-4) is a Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base, currently in service with the United States Navy. The ship was commissioned by the Navy in Norfolk, Virginia on 7 March 2020. An expeditionary sea base is designed to be a semi-submersible, flexible, modular platform providing the US Navy with the capability to perform large-scale logistics movements such as the transfer of vehicles and equipment from sea to shore.

The expeditionary mobile base is configured with a 52,000 square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel. The ship is capable of supporting multiple missions including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and U.S. Marine Corps crisis response. It can also support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters and will be upgraded to support MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft.