General Dynamics NASSCO newbuild for the Navy Expeditionary Sea Base has been named USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) at a christening and naming ceremony held at the shipyard Oct 21.
Named after a World War II Veteran Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, the vessel is the Navy’s second ESB ship.
The vessel was officially named and christened with the traditional break of a champagne bottle alongside the ship. by Williams' daughters: Travie Ross and Tracie Ross.
Williams ia a retired U. S. Marine who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. He is the last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor from that battle.
“Every day we as shipbuilders and repairers come together to be a part of something much larger than ourselves. The ships we design, construct and maintain serve a mission that is vital to our nation and the defense of freedom. Like every Marine, this ship is adaptable. Like its namesake, this ship is a force multiplier. We could not be more honored and more proud to design, build and soon deliver the USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams.” said Kevin Graney, NASSCO President.
The company revealed that the 784-foot-long ship will serve as a flexible platform to support a variety of missions, including air mine countermeasures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security and humanitarian missions.
Almost at completion, the vessel will be delivered to the U.S. Navy in February 2018. The ship will provide for accommodations for up to 250 personnel, a 52,000-square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, and will also support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters with an option to support MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.
General Dynamics NASSCO has delivered three ships in the class to the Navy: USNS Montford Point (ESD 1), USNS John Glenn (ESD 2) and USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3). USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) is the fourth ship to be constructed by NASSCO shipbuilders under the program. A fifth ship is currently under construction, with a planned delivery of March 2019, and funding for a sixth ship has passed several Congressional committees.