NASSCO christens second US Navy John Lewis-class oiler

On 6 November, General Dynamics NASSCO has christened and launched the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), the second ship for the U.S. Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet oiler program.

Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO

Former Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, declared the John Lewis-class of oilers be named after leaders who fought for civil and human rights. The second of six ships honours Harvey Milk, a human and civil rights activist who dedicated his life advocating for equality.

To remind, the construction of the future USNS Harvey Milk began at the end of 2019.

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Stewart Milk, the nephew of the ship’s namesake and co-founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation, served as the principal speaker at the ceremony in addition to remarks from NASSCO and U.S. Navy representatives.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Paula Neira, navy veteran and Clinical Program director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health were the ship’s sponsors. Prior to launching the 742-foot-long ship down the ways, Neira christened the ship with the traditional champagne bottle break alongside the hull.

“We are justifiably proud of every ship we build, but this one is special because of her namesake. Today, we are honouring Stuart’s lifetime of selfless service, his hope for equality, and a world without hate”, said David Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “On behalf of the 35-hundred employees of General Dynamics NASSCO, I am proud to present the future USNS Harvey Milk for christening.”

In 2016, General Dynamics NASSCO was awarded the contract by the U.S. Navy for the detailed design and construction of the next generation of fleet oilers, the John Lewis-class (T-AO 205), previously known as the TAO(X). The contract calls for the design and construction of six 742-foot-long oilers with a full load displacement of 49,850 tons.

In addition to the christening of this ship, two ships in the T-AO class fleet oiler program for the U.S. Navy, the future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), and the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208), are currently under construction. The lead ship, the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) was launched earlier this year.

Photo: Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO