USNS Oiler Harvey Milk Christened in San Diego

U.S. Navy fleet replenishment oiler Harvey Milk
U.S. Navy fleet replenishment oiler Harvey Milk
U.S. Navy fleet replenishment oiler Harvey Milk (T-AO 206) was christened recently during a ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy.

Earlier this month, General Dynamics NASSCO celebrated the second ship in the U.S. Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet oiler program with the christening and launch of the future USNS Harvey Milk.

Several prominent guests were present for the ceremony at the company’s San Diego shipyard, including Stuart Milk, nephew of the late civil and human rights advocate and co-founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Paula Neira, a Navy veteran and the clinical program director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health.

“We are justifiably proud of every ship we build, but this one is special because of her namesake,” said General Dynamics NASSCO President David Carver. “Today, we are honoring Stuart’s lifetime of selfless service, his hope for equality, and a world without hate.”

The USNS Harvey Milk is part of a multi-vessel contract awarded in 2016 to General Dynamics NASSCO to design and build the U.S. Navy’s next generation of fleet oilers, the John Lewis-class ships, to replace the current T-AO 187-class fleet.

The contract encompasses six 742-foot-long oilers that could transfer fuel to naval carrier strike group vessels at sea. Each oiler features a full load displacement of 49,850 tons, can carry up to 157,000 barrels of oil, a large capacity for dry cargo, aviation capability and up to a speed of 20 knots, according to General Dynamics NASSCO.

Earlier this year, the first vessel, the future USNS John Lewis launched. Two additional ships, the future USNS Earl Warren and the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy, are currently being built, according to NASSCO.

By Karen Robes Meeks