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U.S. Navy to Name Ship After Rep. John Lewis

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the naming of USNS John Lewis, after the iconic civil rights leader and Georgia congressman.

“As the first of its class, the future USNS John Lewis will play a vital role in the mission of our Navy and Marine Corps while also forging a new path in fleet replenishment,” said Mabus in a statement released by the Navy on Wednesday. “Naming this ship after John Lewis is a fitting tribute to a man who has, from his youth, been at the forefront of progressive social and human rights movements in the U.S., directly shaping both the past and future of our nation.”

The announcement was made Wednesday at a ship-naming ceremony held at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The new ship is the first of a new generation of fleet replenishment oilers.

The new vessel will be operated by Military Sealift Command and provide underway replenishment of fuel and stores to Navy ships at sea and jet fuel for aircraft, the Navy said. A contract will be awarded for the ship later this year. Construction is expected to begin in 2018.