Mrs. Nikky Palanca has been married to Chief Navy Counselor Raymond
Palanca since 2001. Originally from San Diego, as a military family
they’ve been stationed in Virginia Beach, Jacksonville, San Diego,
Whidbey Island, and Great Lakes. As a military spouse for over 17 years,
Nikky understands the obstacles and challenges military families can
face. She enjoys helping others and hopes to be a friendly link to the
many services and programs available for military families.
Most command leaders agree: an effective
ombudsman can be a priceless asset. Ombudsmen play a key role in linking
commands and families to ensure accurate, timely communication.
The Great Lakes Naval Station Fleet Family Support Center (FFSC)
provides training, consultation, and support to command-appointed
The Role of the Command Ombudsman
The Navy Family Ombudsman is vital to the welfare of the command's
families, and in this unique role, as an officially appointed volunteer,
the duties are wide-ranging. The Ombudsman has been trained to know when
to provide information, when to be a referral source and how to be
receptive to family members when they call.
Ombudsmen serve as the primary communications link between the
families and the command, and the channel of official information from
the command to the families.
They disseminate timely and critical information, regularly, through
newsletters, care-line/info-lines, telephone trees, and e-mail.
The command ombudsman supplies information about and referrals to
military and civilian support organizations like, Fleet and Family
Support Centers, American Red Cross, Navy and Marine Corps Relief
Society, Chaplains, medical facilities, and legal assistance offices.
These organizations are valuable resources in obtaining assistance for
command family members.
They provide support to family members seeking professional assistance
and refer them for counseling. Ombudsmen, in their official role, are
not counselors or social workers.
Ombudsmen act as an advocate for the command families, using knowledge
of the system, can help access the appropriate level of the chain of
command for intervention and forward suitable requests or grievances
while exercising confidentiality.
And they support command-sponsored groups and activities and advertise
support group activities, as permitted by the command.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the Ombudsman Program?
It is a command-operated program intended to improve communication
between the command and a Sailor's family members. Most importantly,
it keeps members informed about command policy and the command aware
of family concerns. A major function of the Ombudsman is providing
information and referral services to the families.
2. How do I become an Ombudsman?
You can apply for this position when the command advertises for volunteers
or request to be placed on a standby list of volunteers for future
consideration when a position(s) becomes available. Volunteers are screened,
selected and appointed by the Commanding Officer. A board, which can include
the Command Master Chief, Executive Officer, current Ombudsman, and/ or other
command members, as directed, may assist the CO.
3. What training is provided to the Ombudsman?
Ombudsman, with command support, receive Ombudsman Basic Training (OBT). OBT
is a detailed course that provides required knowledge and skill development
necessary to perform effectively as the Command Ombudsman. An Ombudsman
continues their education via additional local training.
4. Is financial support available to Ombudsman?
The command, budget permitting, may provide supplies, equipment, and
reimbursement for such expenses as childcare and mileage.
5. Will being an Ombudsman help further my spouse's Navy career?
One of the best tools is the Navy Family Ombudsman Program Manual. The command
is required to provide one to the Ombudsman. If they do not have one in stock,
they can contact their supporting Fleet and Family Support Center to obtain one.
For more information on the Ombudsman program visit:
For more information about NSTC, visit
http://public.navy.mil/netc/NSTC/ or visit the NSTC Facebook