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Navy Naming Ship for Harvey Milk, Slain Gay Rights Activist

 

The second John Lewis-class fleet oiler to be built for the U.S. Navy will be named for Harvey Milk, the civil and human rights leader who was also one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States, according to a U.S. Navy news release.

USNS Harvey Milk will be the second of the first six ships planned for the class, all of which are to be named for civil and human rights leaders.

USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206) will honor Milk, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He was assassinated in 1978, nearly a year after taking office after being elected as a San Francisco City Supervisor in 1977.

Harvey Milk Navy

Harvey Milk shown during his service in the U.S. Navy. U.S. Navy image

USNS Harvey Milk will be the second of the first six ships planned for the class, all of which are to be named for civil and human rights leaders. They include:

  • USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) named for serving Georgia Congressman and activist John Lewis
  • USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206)
  • USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207) named for the former Supreme Court Justice
  • USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) named for the senator, U.S. attorney general, and presidential candidate assassinated in 1968
  • USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209), named for the women’s rights activist
  • USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210), named for the abolitionist and civil rights activist

The initial contract to General Dynamics NASSCO, for detailed design and construction of the first ship of the class, was funded in the 2016 budget. Construction on the first ship is planned to begin in 2018.

The ships are designed to refuel other U.S. Navy ships while underway, and replace the existing Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet oilers. They are to have a capacity of 156,000 barrels of oil and a speed of up to 20 knots. They will also offer a significant dry cargo capacity and aviation capability.