Rendering of a John Lewis class oiler. Courtesy NASSCO
Rendering of a John Lewis class oiler. Courtesy NASSCO

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has formally announced that the next ship in the John-Lewis class of fleet replenishment oilers will be named the USNS Earl Warren.

The ship honors California governor and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, who presided over the landmark ruling that ended school segregation in the United States.

The new class of ships is being named for civil rights leaders, the first for activist and now Congressman John Lewis and the second for San Francisco LGBT rights leader Harvey Milk.

The future USNS Earl Warren will be operated by Military Sealift Command and provide underway replenishment of fuel and stores to Navy ships at sea and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers.

Construction is expected to begin at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in Barrio Logan in 2019. The company has a $3 billion contract to build six of the ships.

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