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Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West discusses issues and concerns with ombudsmen at U.S. Naval Base Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released)

Navy Ombudsmen – Critical Asset to the Fleet

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Scott A. McCall, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest

“For deployed Sailors, if they’re out to sea worrying about whether or not their families are being taken care of then they aren’t concentrating fully on their job.” – Lindsay Baldwin, command ombudsman Navy Region Northwest

Navy ombudsmen dutifully serve as points of contact between a Sailor’s family and command leadership by providing command information and relief for families coping with day-to-day life while their loved ones are deployed.

“Our job as ombudsmen is to ensure that the families who are left at home have someone to go to if they have an emergency or questions about local resources. The Sailors don’t have to worry about whether or not their families are having problems at home,” said Baldwin.

Now celebrating its 42nd anniversary, the Navy Family Ombudsman Program was created on Sept. 14, 1970, by then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumalt.

A command ombudsman is normally the spouse of an active-duty or selected Reserve command member. The ombudsman supports the Navy’s mission by providing communications, outreach, resource referral and other important information to command families, especially during times of deployment. They directly support the command mission by taking care of its families so that the service members are able to focus on their job.

“It never ceases to amaze me how incredible it is that a group of people – who, without any kind of pay, without any kind of compensation – volunteer their time and their effort to really help our Sailors and their families grow and be better Navy Sailors,” said Navy Region Northwest Command Master Chief Brian Schell.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West discusses issues and concerns with ombudsmen at U.S. Naval Base Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released)

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