The U.S. Navy on Saturday christened
and launched a replenishment oiler named after slain civil rights
leader Harvey Milk.
The ceremony took place in San Diego,
according to the
The USNS Harvey Milk is the second ship
in a new class of fleet replenishment oilers named after the late
civil rights activist and U.S. Representative John Lewis.
Elected to the San Francisco Board of
Supervisors in 1977 on a pledge to back gay and lesbian rights, Milk
became the first openly gay elected official of a major U.S. city.
The following year, Milk was killed by Dan White, a disgruntled
Milk served in the Navy during the
Korean War aboard the USS Kittiwake, a submarine rescue ship. He was
drummed out of the Navy because of his sexual orientation.
Attending Saturday's ceremony were
Secretary of the Navy Carlos del Toro, former Secretary of the Navy
Ray Mabus, and Stuart Milk, Milk's nephew, among others.
The ship was christened by Paula Neira,
a Navy veteran and the Clinical Program Director of the Johns Hopkins
Center for Transgender Health.
Stuart Milk told the crowd that his
uncle was forced out of the Navy because he was gay. “Today, we are
celebrating something much bigger than tolerance,” he said. “[The]
Navy not only recognizes, but honors those [other LGBT
servicemembers] … so this Navy ship sends an important message to
Mabus said in a tweet: “What a great
day – christening the USNS Harvey Milk. Celebrating someone who was
previously excluded just for who he was.”
Mabus in 2016 announced the naming of
the USNS Harvey Milk.