U.S. Navy to name new ship after activist Harvey Milk

It was announced that gay rights leader will be honoured by the move from the Navy

Harvey Milk, US Navy

Image: San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk is seen in San Francisco's seventh annual gay freedom parade. AP/Press Association Images

The US Navy will name a new ship after gay rights activist and San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

The Military Sealift Command fleet oiler USNS Harvey Milk was announced in a Congressional notification obtained by USNI News, as part of a move to name a number of the new fleet of vessels after civil rights leaders. 

Included in the announcement were ships which are set to be named after Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Robert F. Kennedy, and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth.

Before becoming involved in politics, Milk served in the Navy during the Korean War and was eventually discharged having achieved the rank of lieutenant. 

In the 1970s, he began his career as a civil rights leader politician, and became the first openly gay politician in California to be elected to office after winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was shot and killed, along with Mayor George Moscone, in 1978. The story of his life was portrayed in the 2008 movie Milk starring Sean Penn. 

Writing about the announcement, Scott Weiner of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors said: "This is an incredible day for the LGBT community and for our country. As a gay man and a San Franciscan, I’m incredibly proud that the Navy is honoring Harvey Milk — and the entire LGBT community — by naming a ship after him. This momentous decision sends a powerful message around the world about who we are as a country and the values we hold.

"When Harvey Milk served in the military, he couldn’t tell anyone who he truly was. Now our country is telling the men and women who serve, and the entire world, that we honor and support people for who they are. Harvey Milk’s strength continues to reverberate throughout our city, our country, and the world."

Milk's nephew also welcomed the move, stating that it "will further send a green light to all the brave men and women who serve our nation that honesty, acceptance and authenticity are held up among the highest ideals of our military."

Via USNI News