DVIDS – News – USNS Harvey Milk Commemorates Namesake in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 6), the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after an openly gay person, arrived in San Francisco March 28 for a short port visit.

The ship hosted San Francisco elected officials, community leaders, and friends and family of Navy veteran and LGBTQ activist Harvey Milk March 29 for an event commemorating the ship’s namesake.

The ship honors Milk, one of the first openly gay candidates elected to public office as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978. Milk was assassinated in City Hall 10 months into his term, along with Mayor George Moscone. Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 for his activism.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said that USNS Harvey Milk “symbolizes the love we have as a city for all people, and honors our beloved Harvey Milk, who spent his life and his career fighting for the LGBTQ community here in San Francisco,” a movement that has had an impact “not just in the United States, but all over the world.”

Rear Adm. Richard Meyer, deputy commander, U.S. Third Fleet, said the ship, emblazoned with the name Harvey Milk, would communicate the values of the nation and the Navy wherever she sails. “Her crew will carry her namesake’s legacy and represent his courage of conviction,” Meyer said, “always fighting for right.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) echoed Meyer’s comments with a quote from Milk’s swearing-in ceremony speech 46 years ago: “This victory signals a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward, and that the doors will be open to everyone.”

The USNS Harvey Milk event was followed by a special ceremony to mark National Vietnam War Veterans Day the same day. Meyer and Pelosi thanked 40 local Vietnam War-era veterans at the Port of San Francisco, presenting them with official DoD lapel pins.

Addressing the veterans during the event, Meyer acknowledged many of them came home from that war to a country that failed to fully acknowledge their service and sacrifice.

“For too many of these veterans, the recognition of their bravery comes too late,” he said, “but for others, while it may be delayed, we can express our gratitude for their service today. Vietnam War Veterans Day gives us the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and to remember those who served and sacrificed on our behalf.”

The 746 foot Milk, the second ship in the John Lewis class of fleet replenishment oilers, was christened in 2021. The next John Lewis-class ships will also bear the names of American civil rights heroes, including Supreme Court justices Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg; politician Robert F. Kennedy; suffragist Lucy Stone; and abolitionist Sojourner Truth.

USNS Harvey Milk will deliver fuel, food, supplies, repair parts, and materials to U.S. Navy and allied ships while at sea. This capability allows these warships to remain at sea for extended periods of time to execute their assigned missions.

Date Taken: 03.30.2024
Date Posted: 04.03.2024 09:47
Story ID: 467636

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