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Delbert D. Black
|Born||11 July 1922|
Orr, Oklahoma, US
|Died||5 March 2000 (aged 77)|
Winter Park, Florida, US
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1941–1971|
|Rank||Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy|
|Commands held||Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Navy Distinguished Service Medal|
Early life and family
Black was born in Orr, Oklahoma, graduating from high school in 1940. He enlisted in the United States Navy on 14 March 1941. Delbert "Del" Black was married to Ima Black for 50 years and had a son Donny D. Black. Grandfather to Dylan and Nathan Black.
Upon completion of recruit training in San Diego, Black was assigned to the USS Maryland (BB-46) and was aboard during the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. He later served at Receiving Station, Pearl Harbor; USS Doyle C. Barnes (DE-353); Naval Air Base Samar, Philippines; USS Gardiners Bay (AVP-39), USS Boxer (CVA-21); USS Antietam (CVA-36); U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, Washington, D.C.; Yokosuka, Japan ship repair facilities; USS Brush (DD-745); USS Carpenter (DDE-825); USS Norfolk (DL-1); Recruiting Duty, Columbia, Tennessee; USS Springfield (CL-66); USS Independence (CV-62); and Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center (FAAWTC), Dam Neck, Virginia. During his career, he advanced from striking for the rate of Gunner's Mate to the rank of Master Chief.
On 13 January 1967, the Secretary of the Navy announced the appointment of Master Chief Gunner's Mate (GMCM) Black as the first Senior Enlisted Advisor, the position that would evolve into Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. As such, he was the highest rated enlisted man in the United States Navy, serving as the enlisted representative to the Chief of Naval Operations. His function was to counsel the highest ranks of the Navy on issues associated with enlisted guidance, leadership, and policy. Black was the first enlisted man to write a foreword for The Bluejacket's Manual.
Retirement and later work
Upon retirement from active duty, Black continued his involvement with the Navy through retired and active duty organizations. He was an active member of the USO Council of Central Florida; the Fleet Reserve Association; and Co-Chairman on the Secretary of Navy Committee on Retired Personnel. He died at his home in Winter Park, Florida from a heart attack at the age of 77. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 11, Site 496 LH.
At a 13 March 2015 ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Michael D. Stevens announced that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Delbert D. Black, would honor Delbert Black.
Awards and decorations
|Navy Distinguished Service Medal (Master Chief Black was the first Navy enlisted man to receive this award.)|
|Navy Unit Commendation|
|Navy Good Conduct Medal (with 6 service stars)|
|China Service Medal|
|American Defense Service Medal (with 1 campaign star)|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with 8 campaign stars)|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Navy Occupation Service Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal (with 1 service star)|
|Korean Service Medal|
|Antarctica Service Medal|
|Vietnam Service Medal with service star|
|Philippine Presidential Unit Citation|
|Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation|
|Philippine Liberation Medal (with 2 service stars)|
|United Nations Korea Medal|
|Vietnam Campaign Medal|
|Korean War Service Medal|
- 7 gold Service stripes.