Moment US Navy Ship Name After Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk Is Launched In San Diego Bay
This footage shows the moment a US Navy ship named after gay rights leader Harvey Milk is launched in the San Diego Bay.
Gay rights activist Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the US state of California. He was also the subject of a 2008 film starring Sean Penn.
The launch of the USNS Harvey Milk took place in the San Diego Bay on 6th November, but the U.S. Navy only shared footage of the launch yesterday (Monday 8th November).
The footage shows the vessel being launched into the water while sounding its horn to great fanfare as music can be heard in the background.
The vessel can be seen being launched backwards into the sea while streamers can be seen at the front of the vessel, along with red, white and blue balloons, the colours of flag of the United States of America.
People in attendance in the audience can be seen watching the launch and filming it with their mobile phones.
The footage was shared online by the US Navy, and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, speaking about how Milk was forced out of the Navy due to his sexual orientation, said: “Today we christened the USNS Harvey Milk”.
He added: “This great ship honors Navy Diver & Civil Rights activist Harvey Milk who was forced out of the service due to unfair policies.
“Because of him, today our LGBTQ Sailors & Marines serve honorably as their genuine selves.”
Shortly before the launch, the secretary of the Navy was also quoted as saying in a separate statement issued by the US Navy: “Leaders like Harvey Milk taught us that diversity of backgrounds and experiences help contribute to the strength and resolve of our nation.
“There is no doubt that the future Sailors aboard this ship will be inspired by Milk’s life and legacy.”
The Navy statement also spoke about Harvey Milk’s career in the Navy during the Korean War (1950-1953) as a diving officer, saying: “The Navy’s Military Sealift Command will operate the future USNS Harvey Milk, the second ship in its class. The ship is named in honor of the late politician and civil and human rights activist, who served in the Navy during the Korean War as a diving officer.
“After his naval career, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, becoming the first openly gay elected official in California. Milk was assassinated on November 27, 1978.”
Milk was assassinated by Dan White, who also killed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. He was convicted of manslaughter and spent five years in prison before later killing himself.
The statement also said: “The John Lewis-class ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize the current T-AO 187-class fleet replenishment oilers to provide underway fuel replenishment to Navy ships at sea. Fleet replenishment oilers are part of the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force.”
“In June 2016, the Navy awarded a $3.2 billion contract to General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego to design and construct the first six ships of the Future Fleet Replenishment Ship, the John Lewis-class (T-AO 205), with construction commencing in September 2018. The Navy plans to procure 20 ships of the new class.”