• Navy Destroyer named after Winter Park veteran christened

    By: Cierra Putman

    Updated:

    A Navy destroyer now bears the name of a Winter Park veteran who served in World War II.

    The U.S.S. Delbert D. Black, a $1.5 billion war machine, was christened this weekend in Mississippi.

    Black was the first master chief petty officer of the Navy.

    Read: Winter Park Navy widow helps christen destroyer named for late husband

    Channel 9’s Cierra Putman traveled to Mississippi to witness the historical ceremony.

    "My message to the shipbuilders has always been, 'Hurry up, I'm running out of time,'” said 96-year-old Ima Black, the wife of the late Delbert Black.

    She remembers her husband fondly.

    “The ship was cold, he was not,” Black said.

    Photos: USS destroyer named after Winter Park Navy veteran

    Jerry Black and his brother, Randy, were both serving when their uncle took on the job.

    “The sailors were sort of sitting back saying, 'Is he something that's going to help us?' We started finding out that was exactly what the job was,” Jerry Black, nephew of Delbert Black, said.

    Master Chief Petty Officer Black served 30 years in the Navy and four years as the first ever top enlisted man, representing enlisted sailors to the chief of naval operations. He survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and fought in the Pacific before earning the position.

    Delbert Black died in 2000.

    Read: Navy destroyer named after Winter Park veteran

    The ship will be commissioned in the spring of 2019. It will undergo sea trials and tests to make sure it's worthy of its namesake and to take on a crew of more than 300 sailors.

    Now, 17 years after Black's passing, his bride christened the powerful destroyer.

    "May God bless this ship and all of her sailors,” Black said. "I know that his spirit is anchored in the hull of this ship."

    Only 13 others have reached the rank of master chief petty officer.

    Watch the full story below:

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