First Woman Wins Top Navy Senior Enlisted Leadership Award


Chief Petty Officer Samira McBride (SW/AW), Command Master Chief of the USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) has been selected as the recipient of the 2019-2020 Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Delbert D. Black Leadership Award.

This is a significant honor as she is the first woman to be selected for this award. The award dates back to 2008.

McBride assumed the duties of Command Master Chief on the USS Gonzalez in July 2018. The guided missile destroyer is homeported in Norfolk, VA. Since arriving at the command, she has used her can-do attitude and unique leadership style to help the crew achieve operational excellence. They have been recognized for excellence in maritime warfare, engineering, afloat safety, communications, crew retention and earning the Battle “E.”

This award is named for the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, honoring Master Chief Gunner’s Mate Delbert Black. Black served in the position from January 13, 1967 until his retirement on the Chief Petty Officer (CPO) birthday, April 1, 1971.

Black is known for his humility, can-do spirit, and his actions on behalf of enlisted Sailors are viewed by the CPO community as a foundation for deckplate leadership.

McBride was selected for this award due to her inspirational leadership, commitment to her sailors and the achievement of operational excellence. McBride has an established track record of excellence, as she was selected as Pacific Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year in 2010. This is the first year all women were selected for this honor.

“This award recognizes someone who shares many of the same qualities and characteristics embodied by MCPON Black. He was a selfless leader who sought out and created opportunities to better the enlisted experience, rather than waiting for them to fall into place. He had the gumption to change our Navy for the better, for generations to follow. Congratulations to MasterChief McBride on continuing to blaze a trail for Sailors from all genders, backgrounds, and walks of life,” said Russell Smith, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON).

The commanding officer of the USS Gonzalez, Commander Ray Glenn, shares how CMC McBride has been a critical piece of every success at the command.

“She consistently proves herself to be the heartbeat of my command, a trusted advisor and advocate both up and down the chain of command and has a positive daily impact on my crew. From day one, CMC McBride has promoted a ‘warfighter’ mentality to build resilience in the command. Her ability to generate creative paths for communication, foster an environment of ‘leadership matters,’ and challenge Gonzalez Sailors to exceed even their own expectations is apparent on a daily basis,” said Glenn.

MCPON Smith hosted a virtual ceremony to congratulate McBride on a job well done.

Bravo Zulu Command Master Chief McBride for leading your sailors on the journey of excellence.


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