Navy names ship for the late John Lewis on his 1-year anniversary


The US Navy on Saturday named a ship after the late Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis at a San Diego ceremony that marked the one-year anniversary of his death.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., led a congressional delegation to honor the late congressman’s achievements and mark the celebration of a naval ship sailing in his honor.

“This ship will be a beacon to the world, reminding everyone who saw it the perseverance and courage of John Lewis,” Pelosi said.

Actress Alfre Woodard, the ship’s sponsor, had the honor of breaking a bottle of champagne across the bow as part of the traditional christening ceremony. Woodard said before breaking the bottle, “God bless this ship and everyone aboard.”

USNS John Lewis is the first ship in its class and will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command.

John Lewis, civil rights icon, congressman for 33 years, dead at 80

The replenishment oil would transfer fuel to the ships of the Navy’s Carrier Strike Group operating at sea. The remaining Oilers in the John Lewis class would be named after other prominent civil rights activists and leaders, including Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official, suffragist Lucy Stone, and abolitionist Sojourner Truth.

Lewis, D-Ga., died after a battle with pancreatic cancer on July 17, 2020. He was 80 years old. Former chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and one of the keynote speakers at the historic March in Washington before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis spent his life advocating for the rights of minorities. Lewis served in Congress for 33 years.

After Lewis’s nephew Marcus Tyner reminded the crowd at the ceremony that his uncle’s legacy needed to be carried forward by ship, Congress passed the voting rights reforms championed by Lewis.

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“We can all agree what is most important at this critical time and what my uncle will be most happy about is the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill,” Tyner told the crowd.

In June 2016, the Navy awarded a $3.2 billion contract to General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego to design and build the next generation of Fleet Oilers, the John Lewis-class (T-AO 205), formerly known as TAO(X). was known in . According to General Dynamics, the contract called for the design and construction of six 742-foot-long oil jets with a full load displacement of 49,850 tons.

The oilers have the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil up to a speed of 20 knots.

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