US Navy to name ship after Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk

Just five years after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the US Navy is set to name a new ship after gay rights icon Harvey Milk.

USNI News has obtained a Congressional notification signed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus confirming that he will name a planned Military Sealift Command fleet oiler after Milk.

The site reported that the Navy is not releasing further information until the naming announcement.

Honouring Milk with a ship named in his honour is particularly apt as he actually served in the Navy. During the Korean War he was a diving officer aboard the submarine rescue ship USS Kittiwake and later served as a diving instructor at the San Diego Naval Base.

Milk is best known as an LGBT activist and the first openly gay American politician to be elected into office.

While serving as a Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors he was assassinated in 1978 at the age of 48 by a disgruntled city official.

In 2009 he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US. Harvey Milk Day is marked annually in California.

An Oscar winning film about Milk’s life, starring Sean Penn, was released in 2008.

Until September 2011, openly gay service members were barred from serving in the US military under the now repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law. On 1 July this year, the military also ended its ban on transgender personnel.

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