USNS Harvey Milk departs the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard after a ceremonial address in San Diego, California on November 6.

A Navy ship named for gay rights activist Harvey Milk, who was made to resign from the force because of his sexual orientation, was launched in San Diego Saturday.

The USNS Harvey Milk is a replenishment oiler, which refuels aircraft carriers at sea.
“He made a difference. That’s the kind of naval leader that we need,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro during the christening ceremony.
The ship was co-sponsored by US Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who was the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors when Milk served on the board. She publicly announced Milk’s assassination in 1978 at the age of 48. He was the first openly gay elected official in the state of California.
The christening was attended by Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk, who is the co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation. Because of Covid-19 protocols, the event was not open to the public.
The USNS Harvey Milk is one of the oilers in a class named after Georgia Congressman and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, which also includes vessels named for Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone and Robert F. Kennedy.