Reserve and Full-Time Support Sailors from Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Orlando honored the legacy and service of Ima Black to the Navy Reserve community before the commissioning ceremony of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), Sept. 26.
Ima Black, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Delbert D. Black’s widow, and a former Sailor, served as the new ship’s sponsor and has been an integral part of the NOSC Orlando heritage training during chief initiation. The NOSC decided to honor Mrs. Black by renaming their Chiefs Mess the “Honorary Ima Black Chiefs Mess.”
“It’s been a tradition for chief selectees from the central Florida region to visit with Mrs. Black as part of our initiation season,” said Chief Information Systems Technician Joshua Edwards, who is assigned to the NOSC. “She’s been such a huge part of our NOSC, and last year we decided unanimously to rename our mess to honor her history, legacy and contributions to the Navy.”
Mrs. Black lives in Winter Park, a suburb of Orlando, and for several years has welcomed chief selectees to visit her at her home to talk about her and her husband’s careers.
Delbert Black, a Pearl Harbor survivor from Orr, Oklahoma, was the very first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and served as MCPON from 1967 to 1971.
Mrs. Black served as a Navy WAVE, or Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service, during World War II and rose to the rank of petty officer 1st class. She and Black met after the war and were married for 50 years prior to his death in March 2000.
The NOSC Orlando Chiefs Mess designed t-shirts and coins with her image and were able to present her one before the USS Black commissioning ceremony.
“This is beautiful,” Mrs. Black said. “This is one of a kind, and I have hundreds of coins, but none of them say Ima Black on them. Thank you so very, very much.”
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