Washington, DC - The Navy will christen the newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), Saturday, during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The future USS Delbert D. Black is the first ship to bear the name of a master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON) and is named for the first person to hold that office. Black began his 30-year Navy career in the spring of 1941. After completing recruit training, he reported to his first assignment, 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 his selection 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.
MCPON Steven S. Giordano, 14th and current master chief petty officer of the Navy, will serve as the principal speaker during the ceremony. During the event, Mrs. Ima Black, MCPON Black's widow and a World War II Navy veteran herself, will serve as the ship's sponsor and will break a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.
"It is a fitting tribute to the master chief who set the tone for all of us to follow as authentic, competent and courageous leaders," Giordano said. "This ship represents the enlisted force perhaps more than any other ship in the Navy."
Delbert D. Black will be the 69th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and is currently the fifth of 13 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program. The ship will be configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, which enables power projection, forward presence and escort operations at sea in support of low intensity conflict/coastal and littoral offshore warfare, as well as open ocean conflict.
Delbert D. Black will be equipped with the Navy's Aegis Combat System, the world's foremost integrated naval weapon. The ship will also incorporate Cooperative Engagement Capability that when combined with the Aegis Combat System, will permit groups of ships and aircraft to link radars to provide a composite picture of the battle space-effectively increasing the theater space. The capability is designed to provide the Navy with a 21st Century fighting edge.
The nearly 9,500-ton Delbert D. Black is 509.5 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.