The United States Embassy near Monrovia has disclosed that the USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams ship is visiting Liberia and during the period of visit the U.S. military members will assist in training their Armed Forces of Liberia counterparts in Women, Peace, and Security workshop that will highlight the essential role female service members play in national security.
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 Woody Williams, who received the Medal of Honor for actions during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.
The ship is under the command of captain Chad Graham, and a regular schedule will be conducted at port to strengthen the enduring partnership between Liberia and the US for which members of the AFL will be capacitated.
A release from the Embassy said the visit kicks off the Embassy’s year-long observance of the 175th year of the Republic of Liberia. “These activities reflect the U.S. Government’s commitment to ensuring the Armed Forces of Liberia are professional and effective to protect the rights of all Liberians”.
The ship transfers from military sealift command to the Navy. It operates with a mixed crew of Navy seamen, mariners, and civilians that is uniquely designed, being only the second ship of its kind to have an open operations deck below and a flight deck above.
The ship has a long tradition of assisting with disaster relief, undertaking medical assistance missions, and enforcing freedom of the seas in international waters. The visit, according to the Embassy, demonstrates the US commitment to regional stability and maritime security in this vital region of the
Ambassador Michael McCarthy noted that the U.S. Navy vessels have played significant roles throughout Liberia’s history: “In the earliest years of Liberia, their role was formalized by the Webster- Ashburton 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.
According to the release, for the next 20 years the U.S. Navy intercepted two 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.”