US Navy ship to be named after late gay rights leader Harvey Milk

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 July, 2016, 3:14pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 July, 2016, 10:49pm

The late gay rights leader Harvey Milk already has schools, streets and parks named in his honour. Soon, a US Navy ship will join the list.

A Navy official said on Friday that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus notified Congress earlier this month that a new fleet of replenishment oilers being built in San Diego will be named for Milk and five other civil and human rights icons.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because a public announcement is expected in the near future.

More than two decades before he became one of the first openly gay candidates elected to public office, Milk spent four years in the Navy, first as an enlisted man and then as an officer in San Diego.

He was serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors when a former political colleague assassinated him and Mayor George Moscone at City Hall in 1978.

The GLBT Historic Task Force of San Diego County and former US Representative Bob Filner wrote Mabus in 2012 to suggest Milk as a fitting subject for a ship name tribute.

The news that Mabus had granted the request first was reported Thursday by US Naval Institute News.

The other ship name honorees include abolitionist Sojourner Truth, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Robert F. Kennedy, suffragist Lucy Stone and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

In announcing that the first new oiler would bear Lewis’ name, Mabus said in January “I name ships for people and places that represent our highest values, the things we cherish the most.”