The 754-foot-long ship, officially an “expeditionary sea base,” has a flight deck and aviation hanger capable of supporting V-22 tiltrotors and MH-53E helicopters. Below the deck are accommodations, work spaces, and ordnance storage for a brigade-size Marine force.
The vessel honors Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hershel Woodrow Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient recognized for 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.
Williams is a resident of West Virginia, and that state’s senior senator, Joe Manchin, delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address.
The ship is one of five in two variants built at the NASSCO shipyard in Barrio Logan to support the flexible deployment of U.S. forces.