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USNS Hershel 'Woody' Williams became "USS" in Norfolk commissioning Saturday

Posted: 5:59 PM, Mar 07, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-07 17:59:30-05
USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams (ESB4).jpg

NORFOLK, Va. - The Expeditionary Sea Base Hershel "Woody" Williams was commissioned as a warship in Norfolk Saturday, transferring from Military Sealift Command to the Navy.

Up until now, the ship had been known as the USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams.

Now that it has been commissioned as a Navy warship, the ship is now the USS Woody Williams. Control of the ship has also been transferred to Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

The ship is named for Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Four Hershel Woodrow Williams.

Williams is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient recognized for his heroism at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

"This ship honors a man who dedicated his life to service — heroic service as a Marine, and continued service to his fellow veterans,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly in a statement. "This dedication will live on in USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams as the ship is deployed around the world bringing additional capability to our growing fleet."

Operating as a mobile sea base, the Navy says the Williams can "be enhanced to meet special operations force missions through increased communications, aviation and unmanned aircraft system support."

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin delivered the address at the commissioning ceremony at the Half Moone Cruise Terminal next to Nauticus in Norfolk.

Williams himself attended the ceremony, setting the first watch.