Military Sealift Command fleet oiler will take the name of the iconic LGBT activist.
The U.S. Navy has confirmed that a ship will be named after the gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in a notification on July 14, that he planned to name a Military Sealift Command fleet oiler, USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206). It was confirmed today that indeed Milk will have his name on a Navy Vessel.
This is only the second ship of its kind. It is a John Lewis class of oiler being built in San Diego by General Dynamics.
This new fleet of vessels will be named after respected American civil rights leaders such as Robert F. Kennedy, Lucy Stone and Earl Warren.
Veteran and member of the Truman National Security Project, Shawn VanDiver, says the naming of the warship begins a new chapter in not only American history, but LGBT history as well.
“Harvey Milk was a sailor himself, I think this is a fitting tribute,” VanDiver said. “When your stationed on the ship, you get to learn the history of the namesake of the ship, and I’m so excited for sailors for years to come, they’ll get to serve aboard the USNS Harvey Milk, and they can proudly serve with his name on their shoulder, and understand what he brought to our country.”
San Diego activist Nicole Murray-Ramirez who sponsored a drive through The International Court Council to get Mr. Milk’s name on a Navy vessel, got the news this morning that Secretary Mabus had made it official.
Although there is no official word that Murray-Ramirez's letter writing campaign had any sway over the decision, some important people think it was a definite catalyst in the conclusion, and called to congratulate him.
“My first call was from Stuart Milk who’s in Europe,” Murray-Ramirez said, “He said congratulations and thanks to my leadership on this campaign.”
Havey Milk served in the Navy until 1955 when he was honorably discharged as a lieutenant junior grade.
He entered the poltical realm as a member of the San Franciso Board of Supervisors, becoming California's first openly gay elected official.
In 1978, both Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall.
Milk is widely known to have not only changed the City of San Francisco, but possibly the entire country with his forward-thinking LGBT ideas.
No word yet on when the ship will be completed and dedicated.