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Ingalls lays keel for Navy destroyer

ANDREW YOUNG/HII 
 Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias presents a ceremonial keel plate to Ima Black, the sponsor of her husband's namesake ship, Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) on Wednesday.
ANDREW YOUNG/HII Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias presents a ceremonial keel plate to Ima Black, the sponsor of her husband's namesake ship, Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) on Wednesday.

Ingalls Shipbuilding on Wednesday authenticated the keel of the destroyer Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), named in honor of the first master chief petty officer of the Navy.

It will be the 32nd Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyer Ingalls has built for the U.S. Navy.

"This ship's name carries a special meaning," Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said at the keel-laying ceremony. "Destroyers are traditionally named after great men and women in the history of our Navy, and the namesake of DDG 119 is no exception. DDG 119 will be strong and capable. She can be no other way, because our men and women in the Navy and Delbert Black's legacy deserve nothing less."

Black served as a gunner's mate in the Navy and was aboard the battleship USS Maryland during the attack on Pearl Harbor. His wife, Ima, is the ship's sponsor.

"To the shipbuilders, thank you so much for your love and your care in building my ship," she said. "My message to you is the same as always: 'Hurry up! I'm running out of time.'

Delbert and Ima Black met after World War II, during which she served as a Navy WAVE (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service). They were married 50 years until his death in 2000.

Current Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens also spoke at the ceremony.

Ingalls has delivered 28 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the Navy. There are five more currently under construction at Ingalls, including Delbert D. Black.

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