USNS John Lewis
The USNS John Lewis underway. Navy photo

The Navy has taken delivery of the first John Lewis-class fleet oiler built at the NASSCO shipyard in Barrio Logan.

The USNS John Lewis, a 746-foot-long vessel capable of carrying thousands of barrels of diesel and jet fuel to supply Navy carrier strike groups at sea, was officially delivered on Wednesday.

“USNS John Lewis will provide much needed capability to the fleet as the primary fuel pipeline at sea,” said John Lighthammer, program manager for the oilers. “This is the first of a 20-ship class providing the sailors and merchant mariners another tool to support at-sea operations.”

NASSCO is currently building the USNS Harvey Milk, USNS Earl Warren and USNS Robert F. Kennedy. The future USNS Lucy Stone and USNS Sojourner Truth are under contract.

All of the ships are named for American civil rights leaders. The late Rep. John Lewis traveled to San Diego in 2019 to initial the keel plate of the ship named in his honor.

The new ships will be operated by Military Sealift Command. While not warships, they can be armed with defensive weapons, including anti-aircraft guns and missiles.

Chris Jennewein

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