US Navy to name ship after first openly gay elected official

The Secretary of the U.S.‬ Navy has announced his intention to name the next John Lewis-class oiler, T-AO 206, USNS Harvey Milk, after the civil and human rights leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States.

Milk, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, was assassinated nearly a year after taking a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

All Lewis-class oilers, six ships in total – including the future USNS Harvey Milk – will be named for civil and human rights leaders.

The navy said it is now working with the Harvey Milk Foundation to coordinate a naming ceremony during which T-AO 206 will officially be named.

General Dynamics will build the first six of overall 17 planned John Lewis-class tankers for the navy.

Designed to transfer fuel to U.S. Navy surface ships operating at sea, the oilers will have the capacity to carry 156,000 barrels of oil, including the Navy’s new bio fuels. The oilers also offer a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and will be capable of reaching speeds of 20 knots.