USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) Reception Remarks – Ambassador Dennis W. Hearne

Ambassador Hearne deliviring remarks on USS Woody Williams Navy Ship Visit

USS HERSHEL “WOODY” WILLIAMS (ESB-4) Reception Remarks for Ambassador Dennis W. Hearne  

October 16, 2021.

Minister of Defense Jaime Neto,  

Minister of interior Amade Miquidade,

Chief of Defense, Admiral Mangrasse,  

Commander of the Mozambique Navy, Rear Admiral Muatuca,  

USS HERSHEL “WOODY” Williams Commanding Officer, Captain Graham,  

Distinguished guests   

Good evening and thank you all for joining us onboard the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, 

First, I’d like to thank the Marinha da Guerra and the Ministry of Defense.  For the past two months, you have “answered every bell” –  to use a Navy phrase – working in partnership with the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Navy in organizing this port visit.  Together we successfully ensured that the ship arrived safely and remains secure while docked. Thank you so much for giving us that warm Mozambican welcome and for supporting this visit.  We are tremendously grateful.  

I would also like to recognize the crew of the HERSHEL “WOODY” WILLIAMS for putting this wonderful reception together.  They have done a phenomenal job hosting us, in addition to excelling at their normal duties as a USS Warship.  

Today we come together to celebrate the partnership between the Republic of Mozambique and the United States of America.  The Hershel “Woody” Williams  is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility  symbolizing the importance we place on this region and the importance of ensuring the security, safety, and freedom of navigation in southern Africa.  Moreover, the presence of this vessel in Maputo is another example of the strong and growing relationship between Mozambique and the United States. 

Last month, we completed our second iteration of Joint Combined Exchange Training – otherwise known as a JCET – which helped prepare 100 FADM Commandos to conduct combat and stabilization operations in Cabo Delgado.  The fuzileiros who we trained in April and the Commandos we trained in September are already making a difference on the battlefield in Cabo Delgado.   

This cooperation is significant on its own, but our engagements and commitment to capacity building for Mozambique’s armed forces is multifaceted.  We recently concluded a second round of combat medicine training for 100 FADM soldiers, permitting them to ensure that a treatable injury does not become life-threatening. In August 2021, we also participated together in the maritime exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS, demonstrating the importance of regional cooperation.  Not only did FADM soldiers and sailors perform exceptionally well in all these events, but they also displayed their commitment to doing their part to establish and preserve a secure, peaceful southern Africa.  

Earlier this month, the FADM and U.S. Department of Defense civilians worked side-by-side to build three language learning laboratories  on bases in Maputo Province and in Beira, accomplishing these projects in record time.  These laboratories will build the Mozambican military’s English languages better enabling training and cooperation with the United States and other partners, and  SADC contributing forces operating in Cabo Delgado.  

As we speak, in Pemba, the UNODC, through U.S. funding, is training Mozambican, Tanzanian, and South African sailors on boarding operations, which will help Mozambique combat the illicit maritime traffic off its coast.  We are proud to have a  U.S. Maritime Maintenance Logistics Advisor embedded with the Mozambican Navy in Pemba, who is working with his counterparts and training them on small boat operations and boarding procedures, in support of this event.  

Looking ahead, the United States will continue offering regular military training exercises, deliver essential vehicles to the Mozambican Navy, and offer civil-military training in areas like strategic planning and weapons storage and control.  We are going to do all of this together, with the shared understanding and determination to secure these beautiful shores, so that Mozambique and the region can enjoy a more peaceful, prosperous future.  

To put it simply, our partnership is moving full steam ahead.  Our ability to conduct this level of military cooperation is a testament to the strength of the strategic partnership between our countries.  This applies not just in the military, but also in areas like health, infrastructure, commerce, agriculture, business development, and democratization.  I am exceptionally proud of the work our militaries are doing together and I thank you for your support in making it happen. 

Thank you very much and enjoy the reception.