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Widow visits the ship named after her husband, the first Master Chief in the Navy

Ima Black was flown in an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter around her husband’s namesake ship, the USS Delbert D. Black.
Credit: Idaho National Guard
Ima Black celebrated her 100th birthday by gong for a ride in a military helicopter.

BOISE, Idaho — Ima Black celebrated her 100th birthday in style Wednesday.

She is the widow of Delbert D. Black, the first master chief petty officer of the U.S. Navy, and wished to go on a helicopter flight. 

Ima was flown in an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter around her husband’s namesake ship, the USS Delbert D. Black - DDG 119, where the crew saluted her at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Idaho National Guard posted several photos of Ima's birthday ride on their Facebook page. 

Delbert Black started his career with the Navy in 1941 and was assigned to the USS Maryland and was aboard the ship during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. 

During his 30-year career, he advanced from Gunner's Mate to the rank of Master Chief. 

In January 1967, the Secretary of the Navy announced the appointment of Master Chief Gunner's Mate Black as the first Senior Enlisted Advisor, the position that would evolve into Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy.  This made him the highest rated enlisted man in the U.S. Navy.

His function was to counsel the highest ranks of the Navy on issues associated with enlisted guidance, leadership, and policy.

He is also the recipient of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

During a ceremony on March 13, 2015 at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael D. Stevens announced that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Delbert D. Black, would honor Delbert Black. 

Delbert passed away in 2000 at the age of 77. The couple had been married for 50 years at the time of his death. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Credit: DOD
Ima Black poses with the Navy crew of the USS Delbert D. Black, a ship named in her husband's honor.

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