The Navy on Saturday will christen a ship in honor of Harvey Milk, the slain San Francisco city board member who was the first openly gay elected official in California. He was assassinated on Nov. 27, 1978.
The ceremony for the christening of the USNS Harvey Milk, a John Lewis-class replenishment oiler, will take place in San Diego.
“Leaders like Harvey Milk taught us that diversity of backgrounds and experiences help contribute to the strength and resolve of our nation,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro in a statement. “There is no doubt that the future sailors aboard this ship will be inspired by Milk’s life and legacy.”
Milk served in the Navy during the Korean War as a diving officer. He became a businessman in San Francisco and was elected to the city’s Board of Supervisors in 1977. Less than a year after taking office, he was assassinated — along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone — by a disgruntled former city supervisor.
The USNS Harvey Milk will be crewed primarily by civil-service mariners with Military Sealift Command. Like the other vessels in the class, it will help replenish fuel stocks for Navy warships at sea.
The Navy eventually plans to procure 20 ships of the new class.
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