Navy Honors First MCPON: USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119)

GULF OF MEXICO (Feb. 19, 2020) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Delbert Black (DDG 119) conducts the second builder’s trials in the Gulf of Mexico. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of HII by Lance Davis/Released)

On April 24, the Navy accepted delivery of the guided missile destroyer Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) from Huntington Ingalls Industries shipbuilding division. For the fleet, the vessel will carry a very special honor bearing the name of the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy.

MCPON Delbert Black
NHHC Collection Photo # L38-07.01.01

MCPON Delbert Black was “known for guiding the Navy through the Vietnam conflict and ensuring enlisted leadership was properly represented Navy-wide by initiating the Master Chief program.”

“‘The DDG 51 shipbuilding program and Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast are proud to accept delivery of Delbert D. Black on behalf of the Navy, and look forward to her commissioning later this year,’ said Capt. Seth Miller, DDG 51 class program manager.”

Former CNO Admiral Thomas M. Moorer added considerable insight into MCPON Black’s contributions:

“When I became Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in 1967, our Navy and our Nation, for that matter, was subject to considerable discontent due primarily to the Vietnam War and the way it was being fought. I was aware that the concept of a MCPON (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy) had been under study for some time… I approved of the idea and was pleased to learn upon assuming office that Master Chief Gunner’s Mate Delbert Black had been selected for the post… I was impressed by our first meeting. It was clear to me that here was a man that radiated leadership and self-confidence, but I was still not sure that he was completely aware of the job he faced… He quickly proved that he understood his job and knew how to handle it. Step by step, MCPON Black established and broadened his scope of activity… I made several trips with Delbert Black and we had many discussions about the many problems we faced particularly in the personnel area. Boiled down, we agreed that it is not those that you work for that make you look good, rather it is those that work for you. They deserve the most of your attention.”


Vessel photo and quotations from US Navy website:

Photo of MCPON Delbert Black from Naval History and Heritage Collection, Accession #: L38-07.01, Catalog #: L38-07.01.01 at NHHC website:

ADM Moorer’s comments from NHHC website:

Note: The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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