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SAN DIEGO – The USNS Harvey Milk was christened and launched in San Diego Bay on Saturday, named for the gay rights leader who served in the military before he was forced out.

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Harvey Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk, was on hand to see the ceremony alongside Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, as reported by the Associated Press.

SECNAV Del Toro attends the USNS Harvey Milk Christening Ceremony

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 6, 2021) Mr. Stuart Milk speaks at the christening and launch ceremony of USNS Harvey Milk. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class T. Logan Keown/Released)

Harvey Milk served four years in the U.S. Navy before he was forced out in 1955. He became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he joined the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was assassinated almost one year after he took office.

“The secretary of the Navy needed to be here today, not just to amend the wrongs of the past, but to give inspiration to all of our LGBTQ community leaders who served in the Navy, in uniform today and in the civilian workforce as well too, and to tell them that we’re committed to them in the future,” Del Toro said.

The USNS Harvey Milk is the second ship in a new generation of fleet replenishment oilers, which means it will bring fuel and other stores to U.S. Navy ships and aircraft carriers at sea.