SURFOR Holds First Ombudsman Assembly for 2009
By MC3 Joanna Rippee
SAN DIEGO – Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) held its first Ombudsman Assembly for 2009 Jan. 14 at Murphy Canyon Chapel, where approximately 50 ombudsmen and command leaders joined to discuss best practices to provide support to Sailors and their families.   SURFOR chief of staff Capt. Pete Gumataotao spoke at the assembly and discussed a variety of topics including priorities for SURFOR in 2009 and the role of Ombudsmen in supporting the well being of Sailors in the fleet.

“The ombudsman program is a wonderful thing,” said Gumataotao to the ombudsmen. ”It provides families a helping hand in dealing with challenges unique to Navy families and a wealth of information on available services."   Assemblies are held throughout the year in different areas to allow the ombudsmen to stay in touch with each other and to share personal lessons that they have learned from past experiences.

SURFOR ombudsman, Stephanie Du Bose, spoke about upcoming events in the ombudsman community and other topics of mutual interest.   Du Bose concluded the event saying, "While a ship is on deployment, the command can rest easy knowing that the ombudsman, who is on the 'other front line,' is connected and can get the support and resources he or she needs to support the Navy families."