Huntington Ingalls Industries and the Navy marked the start of fabrication for a guided missile destroyer named after Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Delbert Black in a Tuesday ceremony.
Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) is the third ship of a 2013 $6.5 billion, nine ship multi-year contract to start fabrication, according to a statement from Naval Sea Systems Command.
HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding has began construction of the future Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) while General Dynamics Bath Iron Works has begun work on Daniel Inouye (DDG-118).
“From this point on, shipbuilders will assemble the ship using modular construction, where pre-fabricated units are constructed separately and later lifted in place and integrated with other units,” read a statement from HII.
The ceremony was attended by Black’s widow and ship sponsor, Ima Black
“Today was very emotional for me. I’m happy they did name the ship for him and that they are building it for him, but it is sad that he was not here to receive these honors. He would be very pleased about it. I know the men and women who serve on this ship will be proud to have the name Delbert D. Black on their uniform.”
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the ship would be named for Black, who became the Navy’s senior enlisted advisor in 1967, in March.
The following is the July 21, 2015 statement from Naval Sea Systems Command on the start of fabrication of Delbert Black (DDG-119).
PASCAGOULA, Miss. — The construction of the future USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) is currently underway at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard. A ceremony here today celebrated the start of fabrication.
The future USS Delbert D. Black honors the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON). Black, a 30-year veteran, rose from the ranks of Master Chief Gunner to Senior Advisor of the Navy; the title later changed to MCPON. The MCPON is an advocate and voice of all sailors and their families, serving as the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations.
“I am excited to see DDG 119 production starting off strong,” said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “This ship will not only honor a great Navy leader, it will serve as a testament to all our current and future senior enlisted leaders of the value the Navy places on their service. My team was greatly honored to have Mrs. Black present at the Start of Fabrication and looks forward to her enthusiasm guiding us during the ship’s construction.”
This ship will be equipped with the Navy’s Aegis Combat System, the world’s foremost integrated naval weapon system. This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare. The ship is part of the Navy’s latest flight of destroyers, Flight IIA, 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.
DDG 119 is the third ship in the FY2013-FY2017 multi-year procurement contract to start fabrication. The future USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) has already begun fabrication at HII. Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) is currently in production at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Delivering high-quality war fighting assets – while balancing affordability and capability – is key to supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy.