SAN DIEGO — The US Navy held a ceremony on Friday where the first piece of steel was cut for the future USNS Harvey Milk. The ship will be named after the first openly gay politician in the United States. Harvey Milk also served in the Navy as a dive instructor in San Diego.

Stuart Milk, Harvey’s nephew, spoke at the event saying that his uncle would not be surprised this day has come. Milk said the thought of everyone being inclusive was the reason his uncle kept fighting 41 years ago.

The ship will be a fleet oiler which serve as a supply lifeline for Navy vessels carrying out missions in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and beyond. Fleet oilers transfer fuel, lubricants, fresh water and small amounts of dry cargo as part of the Navy's combat logistics force. The vessel will measure 742-feet long with full load displacement of 49,850 tons.

The USNS Harvey Milk will be the second of six vessels for the Navy under contract at General Dynamics NASSCO. The first ship is named in honor of the late Representative John Lewis.

The Navy anticipates the construction of the ship will take approximately two years.

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