WASHINGTON —The Command Master Chief of USS Gonzalez (DDG-66), Samira McBride, was selected as the recipient of the 2019-2020 Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Delbert D. Black Leadership Award. This honor is also significant because she is the first woman to be selected for the award, which dates back to 2008.
The Guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez is homeported out of Norfolk, Virginia where McBride assumed duties in July 2018. Upon reporting she has employed her can-do attitude and unique leadership style.According to her commanding officer, this spirit has extended throughout the ship’s crew as they have been recognized for operational excellence, including maritime warfare, engineering, afloat safety, communications, retention, and the Battle “E.”
The award, named for the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, honors Master Chief Gunner's Mate Delbert Black. He served in the position from January 13, 1967 until his retirement on the Chief Petty Officer (CPO) birthday, April 1, 1971. His humility, can-do spirit, and actions on behalf of enlisted Sailors are viewed by the CPO community as a foundation for deckplate leadership.
“This award recognizes someone who shares many of the same qualities and characteristics embodied by MCPON Black,” said MCPON Russell Smith. “He was a selfless leader who sought out and created opportunities to better the enlisted experience, rather than waiting for them to fall into place. He had the gumption to change our Navy for the better, for generations to follow. Congratulations to MasterChief McBride on continuing to blaze a trail for Sailors from all genders, backgrounds, and walks of life.”
In keeping with tradition and the namesake of the award, McBridewas selected as this year’s recipient for her inspirational leadership, commitment to her Sailors, and operational excellence. McBride has a proven record of excellence in service as she was also selected as the Pacific Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year in 2010, the first year in which all women were selected for this honor.
“She consistently proves herself to be the heartbeat of my command, a trusted advisor and advocate both up and down the chain of command and has a positive daily impact on my crew,” said Commander Ray Glenn, commanding officer USS Gonzalez. “From day one, CMC McBride has promoted a ‘warfighter’ mentality to build resilience in the command. She has been critical to every success of USS Gonzalez. Her ability to generate creative paths for communication, foster an environment of ‘leadership matters,’ and challenge Gonzalez Sailors to exceed even their own expectations is apparent on a daily basis.”
In an effort to minimize the risk of COVID-19, MCPON Smith hosted a virtual ceremony with McBride to congratulate her on a job well done.