Navy christens San Diego-built USNS John Lewis

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SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Navy christened the USNS John Lewis in San Diego Saturday — honoring the late congressman and civil rights icon one year after his death.

The ceremony started at 9 a.m. and was attended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a delegation of other members of congress, including a delegation of San Diego legislators. Mayor Todd Gloria and top military brass were also on hand for the christening, which took place at General Dynamics NASSCO on East Harbor Drive, where the ship was constructed.

“May God bless this ship and all who serve on it,” Alfre Woodard said before she broke a bottle of champagne against the ship Saturday. Before the christening, the actress and political activist said of Lewis: “We miss him on this platform but we will never be without him. I am honored. I am fortunate. I am eternally grateful to have lived in the time of John Lewis.”

The John Lewis is the first replenishment oiler ship — logistics vessels that keep others in their fleet replenished with fuel, lubricants, fresh water and other supplies — in its class.

The rest of the six ships in its class will also be named for civil rights leaders. They will each be built by NASSCO, which secured a $3.2 billion contract to construct the vessels.

The John Lewis is 746 feet long and will have a complement of about 100 civilian mariners.

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