Texoma war hero honored by US Navy - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Texoma war hero honored by US Navy

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Master Chief Petty Officer Delbert Black (US Navy photo) Master Chief Petty Officer Delbert Black (US Navy photo)
The USS Delbert D. Black (US Navy photo illustration) The USS Delbert D. Black (US Navy photo illustration)

Seventeen years after his death, a Texoma war hero who witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor is set to receive one of the highest honors of the U.S. Navy.

The USS Delbert D. Black will be christened Saturday morning at a shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

"As a family, we've been waiting for this coming Saturday some two years, and contemplating all of the events," said Edgar Wallace, Black's nephew.

Black -- a Love County native who served as the Navy's first master chief petty officer -- was the recipient of many military honors, including his induction into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame.

"To receive this honor of this shipbuilding, naming it in his honor, just elated the whole family," Wallace said. "We were all ecstatic."

He added that his uncle, a veteran of three wars, made a permanent mark in the area where he was raised.

"Everybody in Love County knows his name," Wallace said. "He passed away in 2000, but even today, you go around and everybody knows Delbert Black."

The Navy said Black's widow, Ima, will serve as the ship's sponsor, and will have the honor of breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across its bow on Saturday morning.

Steven Giordano, the Navy's current master chief petty officer, praised his predecessor in a written statement provided by the Penagon:

It is a fitting tribute to the master chief who set the tone for all of us to follow as authentic, competent and courageous leaders. This ship represents the enlisted force perhaps more than any other ship in the Navy.

The USS Delbert D. Black is nearly 510 feet long and can speed through the seas at more than 30 knots.

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