The US Navy's new Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, T-ESB 4, will be named the USNS Hershel 'Woody' Williams, after an ex-marine.
Hershel Williams, born in West Virginia, served the marines following the attack on Pearl Harbor. As recognition of his service during the Battle of Iwo Jima, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1945 by President Harry Truman.
To be manufactured by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (Nassco) in San Diego, the ship is expected to be delivered in 2018.
GD Nasscohas has built two Expeditionary Transfer Docks for the US Navy; the third of the series is configured as an expeditionary base mobile.
The first ESB, USNS Lewis B Puller (ESB 1), was delivered to the navy in June 2015, while construction on the second began in October 2014.
The 784ft long T-ESB 4 is equipped with a 52,000ft² flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission-planning spaces.
Having the capacity to accommodate 250 personnel, the ESB will be deployed on missile missions, such as air mine counter measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster-relief missions, and crisis response operations.
The vessel can carry and launch MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, with an option for future upgrades to support MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.
The decision to name the ESB after Williams was taken in October 2015, after Senator Joe Manchin made a request with the navy.
Image: The mobile landing platform Lewis B. Puller is the first ESB variant. Photo: courtesy of GD NASSCO.