The future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), the first ship in the U.S. Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet oiler program, was christened July 17 during a ceremony in San Diego.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), served as the principal speaker at the ceremony.
“As House Speaker, I am deeply honored to lead this Congressional delegation of many friends of our beloved late Congressman John Lewis to honor his beautiful and saintly life,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “John Lewis was a warrior for freedom and, as a titan of the civil rights movement, his courage and goodness helped transformed our nation. In the halls of the Capitol, he was fearless in his pursuit of a more perfect union, whether fighting to defend voting rights, end anti-LGBTQ discrimination or respect the dignity and worth of every person.”
Following Pelosi, the ship's sponsor, Alfre Woodard Spencer spoke briefly about the ship's namesake.
John Lewis “lives in the unalterable truths he spoke to power," said Spencer. "John Lewis lives in all those spaces where people reach out their hands to pull others up to the lives that they deserve. And now he lives in the name and the embodiment of this mighty sailing vessel and its mission of fortifying and sustaining those who have committed themselves to the service of our nation.” Following her remarks, Spencer christened the ship with the traditional champagne bottle break alongside the hull.
Additional remarks were provided by U.S. Navy representatives, Mr. Marcus Tyner, nephew of the ship’s namesake.“The christening ceremony today takes on a very special meaning, for it marks the one-year anniversary, to the day, of John Lewis’ passing.” said Carver. “Just as its namesake, this majestic vessel will be instrumental in shaping the future of our Nation. The shipbuilders of NASSCO are proud to ensure Congressman John Lewis’ legacy will live on in this ship.”
The USNS John Lewis is a 742-foot-long vessel designed to transfer fuel to US Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea, the Navy said.
It is the first replenishment oil ship in its class, and it will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The rest of the six ships in its class will also be named after civil rights leaders.