Keel laid for US Navy’s 5th John Lewis-class oiler

The keel for the future USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209), the Navy’s 5th John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler, was laid at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company’s (GD NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego, on 8 August.


A keel laying is the recognition of the start of a ship’s construction. It is the union of a ship’s modular components and the authentication or etching of an honoree’s initials into a ceremonial keel plate.

The ship is named for American suffragist Lucy Stone, who joined other notable advocates such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Ernestine Rose, and Antoinette Brown Blackwell to petition for suffrage and abolition in the 19th century. Her efforts as a founder of the Women’s National Loyal League were essential to the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery.

“The future Lucy Stone’s keel laying is a significant milestone, and we are excited to mark the beginning of great achievements to come for this ship,” said John Lighthammer, program manager, Auxiliary and Special Mission Shipbuilding Program Office.

“The fifth John Lewis-class oiler will enhance the fleet’s ability to refuel ships at sea.”

The oilers feature substantial volume for oil, a significant dry cargo capacity and aviation capability. The vessels have double hulls to protect against oil spills and strengthened cargo and ballast tanks. 

T-AOs will add capacity to the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force and become the cornerstone of the fuel delivery system.

GD NASSCO is also in production on future T-AOs, USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210).

They are also under contract on future USNS Thurgood Marshall (T-AO 211), USNS Ruth Bader Ginsburg (T-AO 212) and T-AO 213.

Last month, US Navy took delivery of USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206) from shipbuilder General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO). 

Related Article