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NASSCO lays keel for second John Lewis-class oiler

Sep 4, 2020 09:21 AM

The ceremony for USNS Harvey Milk is held virtually due to COVID-19

Artist rendering of USNS Harvey Milk.

Courtesy General Dynamics NASSCO

Artist rendering of USNS Harvey Milk.

From General Dynamics NASSCO:

(SAN DIEGO) — On Thursday, General Dynamics NASSCO laid the keel for the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), the second of six vessels in the John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler program for the U.S. Navy.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Paula Neira, former naval officer and U.S. Naval Academy class of 1985, the ship’s sponsors, virtually laid the keel by having their initials welded onto a steel plate by NASSCO welders. The steel plate will be permanently affixed to the ship's keel and will remain with the vessel throughout its time in service.

Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus declared the John Lewis-class of oilers be named after leaders who fought for civil and human rights. The second of six ships honors Harvey Milk, human and civil rights activist who dedicated his life advocating for equality.

“I worked with Harvey, I know his dedication to human, civil and gay rights, and he was an exceptional figure,” said Feinstein. “I think it really is fitting and proper that this great ship be named after him.”

“It is a privilege to build a ship named after a true champion of equality and a commitment to those in need,” said Dave Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “General Dynamics NASSCO is honored to build this ship that will bear the name USNS Harvey Milk.”

At 746 feet in length and displacing 49,000 tons, the future USNS Harvey Milk will provide valuable logistics support to our carrier strike groups around the world. Fleet oilers serve as a supply lifeline for Navy vessels carrying out missions in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and beyond. Crafted for underway replenishment, the oilers transfer fuel, food, spare parts and items needed to sustain military operations at sea as part of the Navy’s combat logistics force.

“The fact that we’re able to come together for this virtual ceremony is a reflection of the resilience and the dedication to mission that is characteristic of the United States Navy and our partners, the great shipbuilders at NASSCO,” said Neira.

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