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Ship Name and Designation History

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Montford Point Class Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESB variant)
    Naming Ceremony 14 January 2016
    Keel Laid 2 August 2016 - Launched 19 August 2017
    Christened 21 October 2017

    Placed In Service 22 February 2018

Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each name of the ship (for example, Bushnell AG-32 / Sumner AGS-5 are different names for the same ship so there should be one set of pages for Bushnell and one set for Sumner). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.

  1. USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams T-ESB-4 Covers Page 1     (2017-2018)



This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each name and/or commissioning period. Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.


Postmark Type
Killer Bar Text

Thumbnail Link To
Postmark Image
Thumbnail Link To
Cover Image


USPS Type 12

Charleston WV



Naming Ceremony, cachet by Richard Hoffner


Other Information

NAMESAKE - CWO-4 Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams, USMC (born October 2, 1923)
Herschel joined the US Marine Corps Reserves on 26 May 1943 and reported to MCRD San Diego CA for recruit training. Following recruit training, he was sent to Camp Elliott training center in San Diego, where he joined the tank training battalion on 21 August 1943. The following month he was transferred to the training center's infantry battalion for instruction as a demolition man and in the use of flamethrowers. Williams joined the 32nd Replacement Battalion on 30 October 1943, and left for New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific on 3 December 1943. In January 1944, he joined the 3rd Marine Division at Guadalcanal, attached to the 1st Battalion, 21st Marines, first to Company C and then to Headquarters Company.
During July and August 1944, he participated in action against the Japanese at Guam, and in October he rejoined Company C. His next campaign was at Iwo Jima where he distinguished himself with actions "above and beyond the call of duty" — for which he would be awarded the Medal of Honor. Landing on 21 February 1945, Williams, by then a corporal, distinguished himself two days later when American tanks, trying to open a lane for infantry, encountered a network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands. Williams went forward alone with his 70-pound (32 kg) flamethrower to attempt the reduction of devastating machine gun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered by only four riflemen, he fought for four hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flame throwers. He returned to the front, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another. At one point, a wisp of smoke alerted him to the air vent of a Japanese bunker, and he approached close enough to put the nozzle of his flamethrower through the hole, killing the occupants. On another occasion, he was charged by enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and he killed them with a burst of flame from his weapon. These actions occurred on the same day as the raising of the U.S. flag on the island's Mount Suribachi, although Williams was not able to witness the event. He fought through the remainder of the five-week-long battle and was wounded on 6 March for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.
In September 1945, he returned to the United States, and on October 1 he joined Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on 5 October 1945, at the White House. Williams was discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve on November 6, 1945
In March 1948, he reenlisted in the inactive Marine Corps Reserve, but was again discharged on 4 August 1949.
On October 20, 1954, he joined the Organized Marine Reserve. He was advanced through the warrant officer ranks during his time in the Marine Corps Reserve until reaching his final rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4). Although CWO4 Williams technically did not meet retirement requirements, he was honorary retired from the Marine Corps Reserve in 1969 after approximately 17 years of service.

The ships sponsors are Tracie Jean Ross and Travie Jane Ross, CWO-4 Hershel Williams' daughters.



If you have images or information to add to this page, then either contact the Curator or edit this page yourself and add it. See Editing Ship Pages for detailed information on editing this page.


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