U.S. Navy christens Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named for first MCPON

PASCAGOULA, Miss. Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) on November 4, the first ship to bear the name of a master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON).

Delbert D. Black began his 30-year Navy career in the spring of 1941. He reported to his first assignment, the USS Maryland (BB 46) in Pearl Harbor, where he witnessed the Japanese attack that drew the United States into World War II. Over the next 26 years, he rose through the ranks to Gunner's Mate Master Chief before he was selected in 1967 to serve as the first MCPON; the MCPON is the senior enlisted leader in the Navy and serves as an advisor to the CNO and to the chief of naval personnel in matters dealing with enlisted sailors and their families.

Ima J. Black, Delbert's widow and a World War II veteran of the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), serves as the ship's sponsor. During the ceremony, she officially christened the ship by successfully breaking a bottle of champagne across its bow. Mrs. Black and former MCPON Black were married for 50 years until his death in 2000.

"This ship is a fitting tribute to the master chief who set the tone for all of us to follow as authentic, competent, and courageous leaders," said current Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano, who served as keynote speaker. "This ship represents the enlisted force perhaps more than any other ship in the Navy."

Ship’s sponsor Ima J. Black christens , the destroyer named for her late husband, Delbert D. Black, the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. Also pictured (left to right) are Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss.; Lt. Cmdr. Mark Gallagher, prospective executive officer, DDG 119; Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven S. Giordano; Marilyn Kendall, matron of honor; and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. Photo by Andrew Young/HII

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