Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Cruise_Day 16

Just Another Day At the Office! As I have said in many previous posts, the Fighting Freddy Blog is designed for family and friends of GONZALEZ Sailors. It’s not for commentary on operations or Navy policies or opinions other than those regarding my outstanding Sailors. So while I actually thought about offering an opinion on the concept of the “Hybrid Sailor,” that’s not what our blog is all about. Instead I thought I would offer a glimpse into what we "Non-Hybrid GONZALEZ Sailors" did today.

After an early morning workout and hearty breakfast, our first significant event of the day was an aircraft fire fighting drill. The drill included an emergency flight quarters situation resulting in a helo crash on deck and mass casualty. Our Flight Deck Fire Fighting Team is made up of Sailors who are Damage Control Specialists, Sonar Technicians, Yeomen, Gas Turbine Specialists, Culinary Specialists, Boatswains Mates, Gunners Mates, and more. And as for the mass casualty aspect, while our Midshipmen played the roles of the injured personnel today, they were patched up by a similar assortment of enlisted ratings. Fire fighting and first aid - skills sets for all Sailors.

Following our flight deck drill we expected to conduct some undersea warfare training, but inclement weather at the Naval Air Station prevented the helos from coming out to operate with us. So with so many new officers onboard, naturally I decided to shift gears right into some shiphandling training. We have 9 new Ensigns onboard so bridge time to practice man overboard recoveries and undersea warfare maneuvers is precious. When we have the time though, anyone who wants is given the opportunity to cross train and conn the ship. Operations Specialists, Cryptologic Technicians, Deck Seaman, Electronic Technicians, Quartermasters (even the Pace Instructor once last deployment) have all taken the opportunity to practice conning the ship. When my enlisted Sailors conn, I often put my junior officers on the helm. It’s not random folly either. Everyone onboard needs to be able to do someone else’s job. We have been known to run General Quarters drills where a simulated missile takes out most of the bridge crew resulting in someone other than the usual suspect conning the ship. In fact, as I write this blog post, an OS1 is standing watch as Officer of the Deck.

The best part of every Wednesday is lunch – Slider Day – Navy burgers. And the GONZALEZ Culinary Specialists make the best burgers in the business. After a hearty lunch, we then held two of my favorite ceremonies: re-enlistment ceremonies! This afternoon two outstanding First Class Petty Officers shipped over for a few more years.

Later in the afternoon we held an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Rodeo for Sailors working on their ESWS pins and then held several training and preparatory meetings for our upcoming engineering assessment. Onboard GONZALEZ, while a single department might be the lead for a specific assessment or certification, like everything else we do, these are all hands events. Everyone is onboard for success, particularly when it comes to damage control training, and more specifically when it comes to main space fire drills requiring the ship to go to General Quarters. More skills we all need to be able to keep our ship in the fight at all times.

We closed out the day with a meeting of all Sailors from Texas. Why Texas? Mrs. Gonzalez is visiting the ship for change of command in August! In addition to the honor of just getting to visit with her, we will also be helping her celebrate her birthday. A special committee of Texas Sailors is taking charge of helping plan her birthday celebration. It’s great to be back underway again! - CO

1 comment:

Cody said...

Commander Fort:

My name is Cody Cazares and I am Special Assistant to Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. I also happen to be a cousin of Freddy Gonzalez. I have not found any other way to communicate with you and I am very pleased to have found this blog. I am so proud of Freddy and the fact that he was honored by having this destroyer named after him. I read in your blog that there will be a change of command ceremony coming up in August. Is that something that I might be able to attend? I have no idea where this would be, but it would be a huge honor to visit the ship and attend this ceremony. I understand that Freddy's mother Dolia will also be there. I would appreciate it if you would contact me at your convenience at: cody.cazares@ltgov.state.tx.us I look forward to hearing from you and many thanks.

Regards,

Cody J. Cazares
Special Assistant to the Lieutenant Governor of Texas