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New US Navy ship named for Harvey Milk

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Navy Veteran Paula Neira smashes a bottle of wine on the bow of the USNS Harvey Milk. Photo courtesy of General Dynamics.

A new U.S. Navy replenishment oiler was christened the USNS Harvey Milk this past weekend.

The ship is a John Lewis-class oiler, named after the late congressman and civil rights activist. It’s only the second ship in the class.

Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation and Milk’s nephew, delivered the principal ceremonial address. Remarks were also provided by Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Tor; Vice Adm. Jeffrey Hughes, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development; and Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, Commander, Military Sealift Command. Paula Neira, Navy veteran and Clinical Program Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health, christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

“The secretary of the Navy needed to be here today, not just to amend the wrongs of the past, but to give inspiration to all of our LGBTQ community leaders who served in the Navy, in uniform today and in the civilian workforce as well too, and to tell them that we’re committed to them in the future,” Del Toro said according to Stars & Stripes.

Milk, who was one of the first high-profile out LGBTQ elected officials, was assassinated in 1978 by former fellow San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Dan White. White also killed then-Mayor George Moscone. White only served two years and committed suicide in 1985. Milk was also a Navy veteran.

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