GONZALEZ Pride – Next to freshwater wash down, the best crew in the Navy knows that my second favorite event is all hands topside preservation. During this all hands event, we relax to PT gear and play music topside which today got us only a few strange looks from the local Mayport ships. The primary purpose of topside preservation is obviously to maintain the material condition of the ship. Secondarily, taking care of the ship is a source of pride for the entire crew. GONZALEZ is our home at sea and is truly home to my Sailors who live onboard. Pride is just one of the ingredients which make GONZALEZ Sailors the best crew in the Navy. All hands topside preservation is also about leadership – leadership at every level onboard the ship. Fighting Freddy Sailors know that success comes from teamwork and camaraderie. The Officers and Chiefs work right alongside their Divisions on days like today. All hands topside preservation also requires organization and preparation. It’s not just a Deck Division evolution either. In addition to materials and supplies, there are hydration and heat stress concerns (particularly on hot days like today), hazardous material disposal concerns, and sunscreen concerns just to name a few. It is truly an all hands event, and it is our routine every time we pull into port. One of my favorite aspects of topside preservation is that whenever we have ship riders from other commands, they pitch right in and help. Just like our Marine Corps namesake – once a GONZALEZ Sailor, always a GONZALEZ Sailor. Today, our 20 USNA Midshipmen helped take care of Fighting Freddy just like they were going to be with us through our next deployment. By the way, nice parking job by Ensign Jaeger. Not too shabby, only 25 feet or so from USS ROOSEVELT (DDG 80).