Harvey Milk in his Navy uniform.
Harvey Milk in his Navy uniform. Navy photo courtesy U.S. Naval Institute

The Navy will name a fleet oiler built at General Dynamics NASSCO after San Francisco gay rights advocate Harvey Milk.

The news was first reported Thursday by the U.S. Naval Institute, which cited a Congressional notification.

The USNS Harvey Milk would be the second in the John Lewis-class of six fleet oilers to be built at the shipyard in Barrio Logan. The class of ships is to be named for American civil rights leaders.

Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. His involvement in San Francisco’s gay rights movement earned him the name “Mayor of Castro Street.” In 1978, Milk was shot and killed in San Francisco’s city hall.

He was a Navy veteran who served on a submarine rescue ship and was wearing his Navy diver’s belt buckle at the time of his death, according to the Naval Institute.

Oilers are designed to transfer fuel to Navy surface ships operating at sea. The new class of ships will have the capacity to carry 156,000 barrels of oil, including the Navy’s new bio fuels.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.