On March 31, the final day of women’s history month, the Navy announced that the USNS Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be a John Lewis-class replenishment oiler ship, designated T-AO 212.
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away Sept. 2020 at the age of 87, served more than two decades on the U.S. Supreme Court, developed a special status, and drew standing ovations when she spoke in public.
“It is my absolute honor to name the next [replenishment oiler] after the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro in a statement. “She is a historic figure who vigorously advocated for women’s rights and gender equality.”
Ginsburg had served as the senior member of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, delivering progressive votes on some of the most polarizing social issues of the day, including abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care, and affirmative action.
The John Lewis-class replenishment oiler ships are used to refuel carrier strike groups at sea. They are traditionally named after those who fought for civil and human rights. Rep. John Lewis, who died in July 2020 at the age of 80, was a towering figure in the civil rights movement, challenging segregation and leading the march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama.
The second ship in the class is named for Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, who became a leader in the fight against anti-gay initiatives.
“She is instrumental to why we now have women of all backgrounds, experiences and talents serving within our ranks, side by side with their male Sailor and Marine counterparts,” said Del Toro.
Del Toro also named Ginsburg’s daughter, Jane Ginsburg, to be the ship’s sponsor. The daughter of the famous jurist will participate in the milestones for the ship, such as its keel-laying ceremony, christening, and commissioning.