An U.S. 6th Fleet warship, the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4),  on 28 July, arrived in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, for a scheduled port visit, Women Voices newspaper has reliably learned.

According to USS Hershel “Woody” Williams’ Public Affairs, the commanding officer of blue crew, Captain Chad Graham, said “I’d like to thank our Liberian partners for hosting this visit.” said

“This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen an already durable relationship,” Capt. Graham adds.

Liberia is an important partner of the United States in promoting peace and security in Africa, according to a statement released by the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Public Affairs, noting that the U.S. works closely with Liberia on maritime security and maritime domain awareness.

Additionally, Liberia participated in exercise Obangame Express in March 2021, a multinational maritime exercise sponsored by U.S. Africa Command. These exercises strengthen partnerships and allow countries to work more closely on shared transnational maritime challenges. 

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.

“The United States and Liberia have a shared history, and a shared desire to keep this region and its waters safe,” said Graham. “Working with our partners on their home turf allows us to build a better understanding of how best to cooperate in the future.”

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.

Meanwhile, in a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia, a day after the arrival of U.S. warship in Liberia, the Embassy stated that the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams’ visit to country is a one intended to strengthen partnership between the United States and Liberia.

The  U.S. Embassy in Monrovia says under the command of Captain Chad Graham, it welcomes to Liberia the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Hershel “Woody” Williams, which it says is conducting a regularly scheduled port visit to strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Liberia.

The visit, according to the U.S Embassy, also kicks off the Embassy’s year-long observance of the 175th year of the Republic of Liberia.

Hershel “Woody” Williams is a United States Navy expeditionary mobile base currently operating within the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility. It is named in honor of Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, who received the Medal of Honor for actions during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

Ambassador Michael McCarthy noted the significant role U.S. Navy vessels have played throughout Liberia’s history: “In the earliest years of Liberia, their role was formalized by the WebsterAshburton Treaty of 1842 – an agreement between the United States and Great Britain that established a joint naval system for suppressing the slave trade off the African coast. For the next 20 years, the U.S. Navy intercepted 24 slave trading vessels and rescued over 5,000 from captivity… More recently, stationing the U.S. Navy ships USS Carter Hall, USS Nashville, and USS Iwo Jima off the coast of Monrovia in 2003 gave additional weight to President Bush’s suggestion that it was time for life in Liberia to return to normal.”

U.S. military members will assist in training with their Armed Forces of Liberia counterparts during the visit by leading a Women, Peace, and Security workshop that will highlight the essential role female servicemembers play in national security. These activities reflect the U.S. Government’s commitment to ensuring the Armed Forces of Liberia are professional and effective in order to protect the rights of all Liberians.

The U.S. Navy has a long tradition of assisting with disaster relief, undertaking medical assistance missions, and enforcing freedom of the seas in international waters. Ship visits like this one demonstrate our commitment to regional stability and maritime security in this vital region of the world.

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