The first of the Navy’s new replenishment oilers was christened on Saturday.
In a ceremony in San Diego, Calif., the Navy christened the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO-205), the first ship in the service’s new class of oilers.
“Leaders like Representative Lewis taught us that diversity of backgrounds and experiences help contribute to the strength of our nation. There is no doubt that the future Sailors aboard this ship will be galvanized by Lewis’ legacy,” Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker said in a Pentagon news release.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) died last July after serving in Congress for more than 30 years. Today’s christening ceremony took place on the anniversary of his passing, the Pentagon noted.
General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) builds the oilers in its San Diego yard. The ships will fall under Military Sealift Command.
“The John Lewis-class ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize the current T-AO 187-class fleet replenishment oilers to provide underway replenishment of fuel to U.S. Navy ships at sea. These ships are part of the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force,” the Pentagon news release reads.
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was the ceremony’s main speaker, while several Navy officials – including U.S. 10th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Ross Myers, Military Sealift Command chief Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, and James Geurts, who is currently performing the duties of the undersecretary of the Navy and previously was the service’s acquisition chief – also spoke at the event, according to the Defense Department release.
NASSCO began building the oiler in September 2018, USNI News reported at the time.