The US Navy has commissioned its newest Expeditionary Sea Base, the USS Hershel Williams.

The USS Hershel Williams is the first ship to bear the name of Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Four Hershel Woodrow Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient recognised for heroism at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

The US Navy say that the Hershel Williams is optimised to support a variety of maritime-based missions and designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets.

“ESBs can be enhanced to meet special operations force missions through increased communications, aviation and unmanned aircraft system support. Built by General Dynamics NASSCO, the Montford Point-class is comprised of five ships across two variants: Expeditionary Transfer Docks and Expeditionary Sea Bases.

Acting as a mobile sea base, ESBs are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with flexible distribution.”

The platform has an aviation hangar and flight deck that include four operating spots capable of landing V-22 and MH-53E equivalent helicopters, accommodations, work spaces, and ordnance storage for an embarked force.

The platform will also provide unmanned aviation vehicle operations, enhanced command and control, communications, computers, and intelligence capabilities to support embarked force mission planning and execution. The reconfigurable mission deck area can store embarked force equipment including mine sleds and rigid hull inflatable boats.

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Assume this is similar to the UKs proposed Future Littoral Strike Ship.


No. It’s about 80,000 tonnes. With quite a different role. We have no equivalent.
The US equivalent to the LSS would be the MV Ocean Trader used by SOCOM.

Daniele Mandelli

I think the Mod looked into this type of vessel as part of MARS. Cannot recall it’s title though.


It is one ugly class of vessel. Originally the class was Manned by civilians with embarked military forces. Now that it is a USS and not a Usns I am not sure if that’s still the case. I have been on a sister ship. Its basically a Tanker with the middle cut out and an Arapaho type aviation facility put In on stilts. Very weird ships. The water line area can take boats and It was a hope that later vessels could partially dock down to allow LCACs to drive straight on from the side. They will make excellent mine… Read more »