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In Bold Move, US Navy to Name Ship After Harvey Milk

In Bold Move, US Navy to Name Ship After Harvey Milk

The perfect antithesis to "don't ask, don't tell."

The United States Navy is set to name a vessel after famous gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk.

The move, made official earlier this month by Navy Secretary Navy Ray Mabus, will recognize Harvey Milk's naval service, which began in 1951. He served as diving officer in southern California during the Korean War on a submarine rescue ship. In 1955, Milk was honorably discharged from the service as a lieutenant junior grade. 

The ship, part of the Military Sealift Command John Lewis-class fleet of oilers, will be among several to be named after civil rights leaders, according to Mabus.

Other names in the class include former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, whose court ruled to desegregate U.S. schools; former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; women’s right activist Lucy Stone; and abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth.

Milk is known for later having become the first openly gay California politician to be elected to office. He was assassinated in office in 1978, and when he died, Milk was wearing his U.S. Navy diver’s belt buckle.

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