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On 13 January 1967, the Secretary of the Navy announced the appointment of Master Chief Gunner's Mate (GMCM) Black as the first Senior Enlisted Advisor, the position that would evolve into Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. As such, he was the highest rated enlisted man in the U.S. Navy, serving as the enlisted representative to the Chief of Naval Operations.
‘When I became Chief of Naval Operations in 1967, our Navy and our Nation, for that matter, was subject to considerable discontent due primarily to the Vietnam War and the way it was being fought. I was aware that the concept of a MCPON had been under study for some time.. I approved of the idea and was pleased to learn upon assuming office that Master Chief Gunner’s Mate Delbert Black had been selected for the post..! was impressed by our first meeting. It was clear to me that here was a man that radiated leadership and se1f-confdence, but I was still not sure that he was completely aware of the job he faced.. He quickly proved that he understood his job and knew how to handle it. Step by step, MCPON Black established and broadened his scope of activity.. I made several trips with Delbert Bjack and we had many discussions about the many problems we faced particularly in the personnel area. Boiled down we agreed that it is not those that you work for that make you look good, rather it is those that work for you. They deserve the most of your attention.” Admiral Thomas M. Moorer, USN(Ret.) Former CNO
Upon retirement from active duty, Master Chief Black continued his involvement with the Navy through retired and active duty organizations. He was an active member of the USO Council of Central Florida; the Fleet Reserve Association; and Co-Chairman on the Secretary of Navy Committee on Retired Personnel. Master Chief Black was the first Navy enlisted man to receive the Distinguished Service Medal. He also holds the Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Good Conduct (7 stars), American Defense (1 star), American Campaign, Asiatic Pacific (8 stars), World War II Victory, China Service, Navy Occupation, National Defense (1 star), Korean Service, Vietnam Service (3 stars), Antarctica Service, United Nations, Philippine Liberation (2 stars), Philippine PUC, Vietnam Campaign with device, and Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross).