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MEDEVAC: Nigerian Military Provides Support For U.S. Fleet

The United States mission in Nigeria has expressed appreciation to Nigeria’s military for providing swift response in support of military medical evacuation of U.S. Navy personnel onboard USS Hershel Woody Williams.

The Expeditionary Sea Base Ship was on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa (U.S. 6th fleet) area of operations and conducting an exercise with partners in the Gulf of Guinea when the incident happened.

The U.S. mission in a tweet on Saturday, October 3, said: “We appreciated our Nigerian Navy partners this week as a health issue required the immediate evacuation of one of our servicemen from the USS Hershel Woody Williams”.

The mission also shared pictures of a U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopter and crew with Nigerian Air Force (NAF) G-222 aircraft in the background at Logistics Command, Air Force Base, Ikeja.

US Mission pictures of U.S Naval Force Africa personnel at Air Force Base Ikeja.
US Mission pictures of U.S Naval Force Africa personnel at Air Force Base Ikeja.

In response to an inquiry sent to the U.S. 6th fleet by HumAngle on the nature of the military MEDEVAC support, Lauren Spaziano, a Public Affairs Action Officer, said in an email:

“The Nigerian Government and military assisted the United States by providing timely country clearances and airport support for a U.S. military medical evacuation from the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams operating in the Gulf of Guinea.

” We are extremely grateful to Nigeria for helping the U.S. Navy in a time of need.”

Lauren said ” Hershel “Woody” Williams recently conducted an exercise with the Nigerian Navy, and we are excited to work alongside our Nigerian Navy counterparts to reinforce our joint commitment to security and stability in the region.”

HumAngle was informed that the Nigerian Airforce base also provided approval for the use of its base in Ikeja for the MEDEVAC.

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams was conducting unmanned aerial vehicle demonstration, fleet manoeuvre exercise, and oil platform security and boarding with the Nigerian Navy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The exercise, conducted between September. 29 and October 3, was part of the U.S. 6th fleet routine manoeuvres in the Gulf of Guinea to enhance the capacity and capabilities of Nigerian partners to track and intercept vessels of interest within the country’s Economic Exclusion Zone.

According to a statement shared on October 7 by the U.S. 6th fleet, Nigerian Navy ships, NNS Prosperity, NNS Okpabana, NNS Ekulu and NNS Nguru, worked with Hershel “Woody” Williams and the Lagos-based Maritime Operations Center to track vessels of interest and simulate interceptions and boardings off the Nigerian coast.

David Gray, commanding officer of the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel "Woody" Williams salute the Nigerian Navy patrol craft NNS Ekulu| photography by Seaman Conner Foy
David Gray, commanding officer of the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams salute the Nigerian Navy patrol craft NNS Ekulu| photography by Seaman Conner Foy

“The Nigerian Navy is a leader in maritime security in Atlantic Africa,” said Capt. David L. Gray, Commanding Officer of Hershel “Woody” Williams.

The U.S. fleet added that the exercise also focused on enhancing manoeuvrability capabilities and interoperability by establishing communication and safety standards that strengthened regional maritime security.

“No boardings or personnel transfers were conducted during the training evolution as a precaution against COVID-19,” the fleet said.


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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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