The US Navy has commissioned USS Delbert D Black (DDG 119), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.

Commissioning for the vessel was carried out in a private event due to public health and safety restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

DDG 119 is the first ship to bear the name and is the 68th guided missile destroyer of the Arleigh Burke-class vessel.

The ship honours the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), Delbert D Black, who initiated the master chief programme, which ensured that enlisted leadership was represented properly throughout the US Navy.

The ship’s sponsor is Ima Black, the widow of the MCPON who served in the Navy WAVES – Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service during World War II.

MCPON Russell Smith said: “This is the first ship to honour a senior enlisted leader in such a way for their contributions in this realm, and represents a significant milestone achievement that recognises both the responsibility of the position to the navy, as well the tremendous accountability to those enlisted sailors we primarily provide advocacy for.

“The vision and effort it took to move the idea of a Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy into an effective reality cannot be overstated, and all of us have been the benefactors of his legend of service by advancing the work that he began.”

The multi-mission Arleigh Burke-class destroyers provide warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments.

Earlier this month, DDG 119 embarked on a journey to its homeport in Mayport, Florida from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division.

In March this year, it concluded acceptance trials.