NEWS | May 3, 2011

NSA welcomes new ombudsman

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston public affairs

Naval Support Activity on Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station, recently appointed Jennifer Tracy as the new command ombudsman. She is the wife of Electronics Technician 1st Class Brad Tracy, assigned to NSA.

The ombudsman program, introduced to the Navy in 1970, is a Navy-wide program established to improve mission readiness through family readiness. A command ombudsman plays a vital role in establishing and maintaining the lines of communication between a command's leadership and a Sailor's family.

"Ombudsmen are Navy spouses who have stepped up and dedicated their time as volunteers, becoming that vital liaison between a Sailor's family and command leadership," said JB CHS - WS Command Master Chief Billy Cady.

"The ombudsman's primary concern is a Sailor's family while the Sailor is deployed. They are trained to help with any problems a family may have and bring those problems to the attention of the chain of command. Ombudsmen are key to a command's success; they are an essential piece of the puzzle and without them, we cannot operate smoothly," Master Chief Cady said.

Ombudsmen are subject matter experts for all things Navy as they deal with a deployed Sailor's loved ones at home. They strive to keep the family briefed on the command's current operations while channeling pertinent information up and down the chain of command. They also provide assistance in finding financial resources for parenting issues, child care, educational venues and volunteer opportunities.

"I volunteered for this position because I have seen first-hand how important and essential an ombudsman can be for a command," said Mrs. Tracy. "Our job is to be the first line of communication between a Sailor's family and the command to ensure that quality of life issues are handled, maintained and addressed through the proper channels."

Ultimately, an ombudsman provides an avenue for a command to hear about a Sailor's family's welfare, allowing a Sailor to stay focused on the mission and effectively do their job.

"I have seen proactive ombudsmen and those experiences have helped me fully realize just how much of a difference a proactive ombudsman can be for a command," she continued. "A family should not have to worry about trying to get information on what is happening with their spouse's command. That is our job."

Master Chief Cady said it is essential for each command to have an ombudsman who is effective, maintains lines of communication and provides assistance to families, whether it is for resource information or for emergencies.

"I am not new to the military lifestyle," said Mrs. Tracy. "Coming from a family with a military history and being a military spouse, I have many years of experience. I hope to use that experience and help the Sailors here at NSA."