General Dynamics NASSCO delivered the second mobile afloat ‘sea base’ to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.
The USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) is named in honor of the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient recognized for heroism at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. Delivery follows the successful completion of sea trials from January 15 to 19.
Construction of the 784-foot Montford Point-class expeditionary sea base (ESB) began at San Diego-based NASSCO in October 2015. The ship is designed as a mobile base to carry out missions including air mine counter measures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid, disaster relief missions, Marine Corps crisis response, among other missions.
The vessel features an aviation hangar and flight deck that include two operating spots capable of landing MH-53E equivalent helicopters, accommodations, workspaces and ordnance storage. A reconfigurable deck area can store equipment including mine sleds and rigid hull inflatable boats.
Originally called the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP ) and later the MLP Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), the Montford Point-class is comprised of five ships across two variants: expeditionary transfer docks and expeditionary sea bases. USNS Montford Point (ESD 1), USNS John Glenn (ESD 2) and USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) have been delivered to the fleet. ESB 4 is planned to join the fleet in 2018, with ESB 5, the future USNS Miguel Keith to follow in March 2019.
“It’s a privilege to build a ship reflecting the strength, courage and dedicated service of the United States Marine Corps and Woody Williams,” said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “From design through production, the NASSCO team worked tirelessly to make this ship worthy of Woody’s name, while upholding the highest standards of quality and innovation.”