USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams (T-ESB-4)

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USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams (T-ESB-4)
USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) at Naval Station Norfolk on 20 April 2016.JPG
Sister ship USNS Lewis B. Puller
Namesake: Hershel W. Williams
Builder: GD/ NASSCOSan Diego, CA
Laid down: 2 August 2016[1]
Launched: 19 August 2017[2]
Christened: 21 October 2017[3]
Acquired: 22 February 2018[4]
Status: in active service[5]
Notes: Operated by Military Sealift Command
T-ESB-4 Coat of Arms.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Expeditionary Transfer Dock
Length: 784 feet (239 m)[6]
Sensors and
processing systems:
Aircraft carried: MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters[6]

USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams (T-ESB-4) is an expeditionary mobile base sub-variant of the Montford Point-class expeditionary transfer dock (ESD) currently in service with the United States Navy (USN). The fourth ship of the class overall, the first two are ESDs, while the next three, and a planned sixth are ESBs.[8] They are all operated by the Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) with predominantly civilian crews, with the exception of USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), which owing to the nature of her operations, was commissioned and now operated directly by the Navy with USN crews. The ship was named in honor of Hershel W. "Woody" Williams in an announcement by then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, on 14 January 2016. Williams was a Marine who earned the Medal of Honor in the Battle of Iwo Jima, during World War II.[9]

The $498 million contract for the then-unnamed vessel was awarded to the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a division of General Dynamics, in December 2014.[10] Her keel was laid on 2 August 2016,[1][6] and she was scheduled to be completed in early 2018.[6] The vessel was christened on 21 October 2017, at NASSCO in San Diego.[3] She was delivered to MSC 22 February 2018,[4] and placed into service the same day.[5] She is set to be deployed to the Mediterranean Sea where she can potentially serve both United States African and European Commands[8]

Hershel "Woody" Williams will be the first Navy ship other than the Littoral Combat Ship to deploy the Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout rotary-wing UCAV.[11]


  1. ^ a b "General Dynamics NASSCO Hosts Keel Laying Ceremony for future USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams" (Press release). NASSCO. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  2. ^ "A Successful Float-Out for USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams" (Press release). NASSCO. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b "General Dynamics NASSCO Christens USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams" (Press release). NASSCO. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Navy Accepts Delivery of USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams" (Press release). United States Navy. 23 February 2018. NNS180223-22. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b "ESB-4". Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Keel Laid for USNS Hershel 'Woody' Williams". Marine Link. 3 August 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Saab sjöradar Sea Giraffe Multi Mode Radar vald till fem av US Navy's fartygsklasser (Swedish)". 1 August 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b "2nd Expeditionary Sea Base USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams Delivered to Navy". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Secretary of the Navy Names Expeditionary Sea Base Ship". US Navy. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  10. ^ "NASSCO Awarded $498 Million for Second Afloat Forward Staging Base". USNI News. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  11. ^ Drew, James (24 January 2018). "U.S. Navy Fire Scout Fleet Needs More Ship Deployments". Penton. Retrieved 24 January 2018.