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    Photo By Christina Johnson | 230524-N-EX134-0003 U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) USS Hershel...... read more read more

    (VALLETTA, Malta) U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) hosted a visit from Capt. Kenneth Pickard, Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa (MSCEURAF) commodore/Task Force 63 commander, while the ship was in drydock at the Palumbo Malta Shipyard, May 24.

    Hershel “Woody” Williams, a Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base that provides support for airborne mine countermeasures, expeditionary missions, counter-piracy, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and is forward deployed to Souda Bay, Greece, and serves as the first U.S. Navy ship assigned to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) area of operations.

    “The time in the shipyard is essential to the operational safety of the ship,” said Bryan Eubanks, the Naples-based MSCEURAF Supervisory Port Engineer. He also explained how the ship was going through its planned Regular Overhaul (ROH) maintenance period that is scheduled every five years that includes drydocking the ship.

    “Additionally, having maintenance done on the ship in the central Mediterranean, is an ideal location for when the ship leaves the shipyard to be able reach many destinations quicker than if they were in a shipyard further away,” said Eubanks.

    According to a press release from the U.S. Embassy Valletta, the maintenance visit to the Palumbo Malta Shipyard promotes the maritime partnership between the United States and Malta, provides required technical expertise for the maintenance work, and contributes significantly to the Maltese economy.

    The ship is unique because it has a hybrid crew consisting of both military personnel and MSC civil service mariners (CIVMARs), has both a commanding officer and MSC-assigned CIVMAR Master and Chief Engineer, and operates with blue and gold military crews - a personnel rotation that allows for the ship to be continually deployed.

    Pickard was greeted aboard the ship by Capt. Amy Lindahl, Hershel “Woody” Williams Blue Crew commanding officer, who recently assumed command in April 2023, and he let her know during an office call that if she encountered any issues where MSCEURAF can assist, to please let him and the staff know.

    “We’ve seen improvement in the support to the ship during your time as commodore,” said Capt. Joe Darlak, the ship’s MSC Master during his meeting with Pickard. “Especially you making sure the maintenance periods are consistent because not many shipyards can fit the size of the ship.”

    Following the meetings with the ship’s leadership, Pickard held an ‘All Hands’ meeting with the CIVMARs in the crew’s galley to provide information on new MSC initiatives such as consistent practices by detailers between the East and West coasts, hiring more people to assist with travel issues, and a future MSC app that is fashioned after the MyNavy app currently used by active duty personnel.

    “I am here to give you information and address issues to make your lives better,” Pickard told the group. “Everything you do, you do it as a representation of the United States in Africa, and what you are doing out here is appreciated.”

    “Without Mariners, we don’t have a global Navy,” added Pickard.

    Military Sealift Command operates approximately 125 naval auxiliary civilian-crewed ships, replenishes U.S. Navy ships, strategically prepositions combat cargo at sea and moves military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners around the world.

    Hershel "Woody" Williams is forward deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, while employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet.



    Date Taken: 06.08.2023
    Date Posted: 06.09.2023 07:21
    Story ID: 446582
    Location: MT

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