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A small group of Jaguars and NFL media staff joined Meyer in visiting the ship at Naval Station Mayport, about 30 minutes from TIAA Bank Field, the Jaguars’ home. The visit was part of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ show of appreciation for service members, and took place aboard the ship the day before the Jaguars are slated to have the first pick in the NFL Draft.
Meyer began the visit by addressing the ship’s leaders and crew, briefly discussing the draft and then focusing his respect and appreciation for the roughly 300 Sailors aboard the technologically-advanced destroyer. He also led a “Q and A session” with the socially-distanced, fully-vaccinated contingent of the crew.
“Heroes today come at very little expense: you score a touchdown, you throw a touchdown pass or you coach a good team and you become a hero,” said Meyer. “I don’t agree with that, but you do. I am staring at the true heroes in front of me – all of you.
“On behalf of our Jaguars football team, the players and coaches, thank you.”
The coach and Cmdr. Matthew McKenna, the ship’s captain, swapped ballcaps and then Meyer was asked to announce and recognize the Delbert D. Black Sailors of the Quarter. Selected were Blue Jacket of the Quarter Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Efia Tuffour; Junior Sailor of the Quarter Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Metala Teddy and Senior Sailor of the Quarter Gunner’s Mate 1st Class (Surface Warfare) Tyler Markle. Meyer joined the crew in applauding the selectees and presented each of them Jaguars souvenirs.
"It was great to have Coach Meyer and his staff aboard the Navy’s most advanced guided-missile destroyer and visit with the outstanding crew that takes her to sea,” said McKenna. He spoke to the Sailors about having to work extremely hard to achieve greatness and about the value of shared success - both messages that resonated with our crew. His message was on point."
An excited crowd took turns meeting the coach for an autograph session. Many Jaguars’ fans were also treated to a ballcap like the one that would be presented to the first draft pick, along with a football or a jersey, a game ticket or a field pass.
Yeoman 2nd Class William Freeman, a native of Staten Island, NY said, “I think it’s really cool that members from the NFL actually came to our ship; this would never have happened to me in the civilian world.”
Coach Meyer took the time to meet with each and every assembled Sailor,” said McKenna. “He shared a few words with them, posed for photos, autographed items for them, and swapped college football stories. It was a very positive experience for the whole command. We are grateful to Coach Meyer and the Jaguars’ organization for visiting and helping us take care of our Sailors.
USS Delbert D. Black was commissioned Sept. 26, 2020, in Port Canaveral, Fla. She is named for the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, the highest possible enlisted rank and the enlisted representative to the Chief of Naval Operations. Established by the Navy in 1967, Black oversaw the establishment of the senior enlisted advisor position, which eventually became known as Command Master Chief. Black was the first Navy enlisted man to receive the Distinguished Service Medal.
Upon retirement from active duty, Black, an Oklahoma native, continued his involvement with the Navy through retired and active duty organizations. He remains an enduring example for the Chief’s Mess, with his service, character and performance demonstrating the highest ideals of a Navy chief petty officer in the world’s finest Navy.
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