Makin Island Ombudsman Team and Family Readiness Group Recognized 
SAN DIEGO - Navy ombudsmen and Family Readiness Group (FRG) volunteers from USS Makin Island (LHD 8) were recognized for their volunteer service during a special recognition luncheon on the ship, Oct. 25.

The luncheon, sponsored by Makin Island command leadership, recognized the ombudsmen team and FRG for their contributions to command families.

USS Makin Island's ombudsman team and FRG have been working extremely hard to ensure families are ready for the ship's upcoming maiden deployment scheduled for later this year.

"Ombudsmen and key volunteers like the FRG play a critical role in the communication between Sailors and their families," said USS Makin Island Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Steve Alt, who helped host the event. "We are recognizing them today for the hard work they have done during our pre-deployment cycle and talking with them on how to develop strategies and improve communication during our upcoming deployment."

Navy family ombudsmen are dedicated volunteers trained to assist Navy families so they can successfully navigate the many challenges of Navy life. The ombudsmen are spouses of active duty crew members assigned to the command they serve, and act as a direct line of communication between the chain of command and family members.

"We want the families to know they can contact us anytime by phone or by email," said Terry Bagley, one of the two Makin Island ombudsmans. "We are always available to assist family members in obtaining information and answering questions; our resources are tremendous."

The Makin Island FRG is a professional volunteer organization that provides social, informational and morale-building activities to enhance family readiness and enable Makin Island families to meet the challenges of deployments.

"The FRG is open to everyone including spouses, children, girlfriends, boyfriends and significant others," said FRG President Marci Miller. "Don't sit at home and be miserable during the deployment, come have some fun with us at our scheduled events."

The luncheon also included a brief on the United Through Reading (UTR) program by Deborah Loeffler, UTR director of national outreach. The program promotes the read aloud experience for separated military families and offers deployed parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children.

"The beauty of the program is in its simplicity and magic," Loeffler told the group. "Brownie points at home are tremendous."

USS Makin Island Sailors and Marines will have the opportunity to participate in the program during the upcoming deployment. Both the Makin Island ombudsman team and FRG will be helping to promote the program.

Commissioned in 2009, USS Makin Island is named in honor of the World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, 2nd Raider Battalion on Japanese occupied Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name "USS Makin Island."

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