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Rear Adm. Cedric E. Pringle, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three (center right), takes a photo with Sailors from USS Rushmore (LSD 47) during Gator Week. Navy photo by MC2 Jesse Monford
Rear Adm. Cedric E. Pringle, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three (center right), takes a photo with Sailors from USS Rushmore (LSD 47) during Gator Week. Navy photo by MC2 Jesse Monford

Gator Week: ‘Building resiliency through camaraderie’
by MC2 Jesse Monford
SAN DIEGO - Sailors and Marines participated in the 5th annual Gator Week hosted by Expeditionary Strike Group Three at Admiral Baker Park May 21-23.
Gator Week served as an opportunity to come together as a collective amphibious force in an effort to build companionship, honor the Gator Navy’s heritage and endorse a tone of encouragement across the amphibious force. This year was the first to have a theme: “building resiliency through camaraderie.”
Gator Week not only provided opportunities for members to participate in various athletic tournaments such as basketball games, flag football, and even a cardboard boat regatta, but it also served as an occasion to teach Sailors and Marines about building better resilience.
“This year we decided to do things a bit differently by making Gator Week educational as well,” said Rear Adm. Cedric E. Pringle, commander, ESG-3. “This week is intended to provide some fun competition, but we also asked our first and second class petty officers to take the lead and help their shipmates develop methods for strengthening resilience. My focus is making sure we set the conditions for every single Sailor and Marine to be as successful as possible.”
The event involved participation from the ESG-3 First Class Petty Officer Association, Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions, the command Deployed Resiliency team, as well as the local Fleet and Family Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office.
“Gator Week gave us an avenue to connect Sailors and Marines with helpful resources to develop resiliency,” said Andrew Mauldin, ESG-3 deployed resiliency counselor. “We had a chance to talk about the ways our service members can learn to empower themselves when it comes to dealing with life’s stressors - things like the importance of building connections with each other, learning to accept change, and keeping things in perspective.”
The ESG-3 FCPOA conducted a “Jar of Life” demonstration, which included a mason jar being filled with items of various sizes. The larger items were intended to represent elements most important to living a fulfilled life, such as family, friendships, and health. Smaller items placed into the jar characterized elements that we might enjoy or even need, but don’t necessarily provide contentment.
“We wanted to help our shipmates open their eyes and recognize that we sometimes call things important in our lives that aren’t as essential as we might believe,” said Personnel Specialist 1st Class Mary Brooks, vice-president of ESG-3 FCPOA. “If we can get just one Sailor to see exactly what we mean, that’s a major success for us.”
Sailors and Marines from across the strike group looked forward to taking a break from their normal work agendas to show team spirit and enjoy some friendly competition. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now, but I never knew that we had this much competition within our own strike group,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Anthony Stewart, a basketball participant assigned to USS John P. Murtha.
USS Rushmore was the winning command in athletic competitions. Rushmore will display the Gator Week trophy for one year, until next year’s competition.

Military News | Navy News | ESG-3 hosts Gator Week

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