Navy Takes Delivery of Ship Named After Its First Black Admiral

Northrop Grumman has completed work on the Navy’s 27th Aegis guided missile destroyer. The 510-foot ship, which will be commissioned this November in Wilmington, North Carolina, is named for Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely Jr., the first African American to command a U.S. Navy warship.

Gravely was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1922 and graduated from Virginia Union University, the historically black college in that city. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve and saw combat in World War II. He was the first African-American admiral. Towards the end of his career he was put in charge of the Third Fleet in the Pacific.

Vice Admiral Gravely retired from the Navy in 1980 after a 38-year career and died in 2004.