Join us on June 24 at 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

Pride Month Speakers Series: USNS Harvey Milk

Building the USNS Harvey Milk: NASSCO Speaker Series with Honor & PRIDE

Watch the Keel Laying Ceremony for the USNS Harvey Milk – GD NASSCO President, US Navy Officials and the Ship’s Co-Sponsors talk About the USNS Harvey Milk and her namesake in this traditional shipbuilding ceremony.

| 0

Who Was Harvey Milk


Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was a Navy veteran and American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Milk served almost eleven months in office, during which he sponsored a bill banning discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and employment on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supervisors passed the bill by a vote of 11–1, and it was signed into law by Mayor George Moscone. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, a disgruntled city supervisor.

Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an civil rights icon and martyr in the gay community. In 2002, Milk was called "the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States." Anne Kronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: "What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us." Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

In July 2016, US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus advised Congress that he intended to name the second ship of the Military Sealift Command's John Lewis-class oilers USNS Harvey Milk. All ships of the class are to be named after civil rights leaders. The ship was officially named at a ceremony in San Francisco on 16 August 2016. It is the first U.S. Navy ship named for an openly gay leader. General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego is building the ship which is scheduled to launch in November 2021.

Milk served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War aboard the submarine rescue ship USS Kittiwake (ASR-13) and held the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) at the time of his honorable discharge.

Amy Gilliland

Dennis DuBard

Paula Neira, JD, MSN, RN, CEN