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Navy Accepts USNS Harvey Milk from NASSCO

USNS Harvey Milk during acceptance trials in May 2023. NASSCO Photo

The Navy accepted delivery of the second John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers Tuesday, the sea service announced in a news release.

USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206), named after the gay rights activist, was built by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, according to the release. Its delivery follows the completion of acceptance trials in May.

“We are excited to deliver the 2nd of class T-AO, USNS Harvey Milk, and expand the Navy’s capacity and capability to provide a fuel pipeline at sea,” John Lighthammer, program manager, of NASSCO’s Auxiliary and Special Mission Shipbuilding Program Office, said in the release. “The fleet and her Sailors will benefit from enhanced at-sea operations.”

The ship will be used by the Military Sealife Command. It will provide diesel and jet fuel to ships, as well as potable water and food supplies.

Harvey Milk is one of 20 ships in the John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers. Former Navy secretary Ray Mabus named the ship after the San Francisco politician who was assassinated. At the time, Mabus indicated that all John Lewis-class ships would be named after civil rights leaders, USNI News reported.

Harvey Milk commissioned in the Navy in 1951 and served as a diving officer during the Korean War. He received an honorable discharge from the service.

General Dynamics NASSCO is under contract to build seven of the John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers. So far, the ships have been named after Supreme Court judge Earl Warren, who helped desegregate schools, politician Robert F. Kennedy, suffragist Lucy Stone, Sojourner Truth, Thurgood Marshal and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

NASSCO laid the first block for future USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO-209) in May, according to a company LinkedIn post.