Naval Surface Force Holds First Ombudsmen Assembly of 2011
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elena Pence, Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) hosted its first Surface Force Ombudsmen Assembly of 2011, Jan. 19 at Murphy Canyon Chapel.

The assembly, held in San Diego, was attended by more than 190 Ombudsmen and command leadership.

Commander, SURFOR, Vice Adm. D. C. Curtis, spoke at the assembly, where he outlined the accomplishments for the Surface Force in 2010. He also discussed the different resources available to the Surface Force Ombudsmen and expressed his gratitude to the Surface Force Ombudsmen for their support in the community.

"Ombudsmen, commanding officers, and chaplains need to know what resources and organizations are available, so when it is time to respond, react and help, you know where to go," said Curtis. "Ombudsman is a volunteer position, and I appreciate you taking the time to do the job. I'm proud of what you are doing and what you have accomplished."

SURFOR Force Master Chief (SW) Eric Page also spoke at the assembly. He discussed the Navy's force-shaping tools such as Perform to Serve, chief petty officer boards, and officer boards.

"Perform to Serve is not just about keeping our best Sailors, it's also about cross rating Sailors who are in overmanned ratings and placing them in rates that are undermanned," said Page. "I want you to know this so when you talk to Sailors' spouses, you can help them understand the program and what the Navy is trying to accomplish."

Page also credited surface ombudsmen for not having any SURFPAC motorcycle fatalities in Pacific Fleet areas for fiscal year 2010.

"There were zero deaths this fiscal year and that is because you helped us educate families," said Page. "This is a team effort. You're really making a difference."

Stephanie DuBose, SURFOR force ombudsman, was also in attendance and expressed to the ombudsmen how important it is for them to work together as a team.

"Volunteering in activities together, like the Martin Luther King Jr., 5K that we participated in on Naval Base San Diego is a great way for us to bond as a team, and it gives us the opportunity to get the message out to Sailors about ombudsmen," said DuBose.

Ombudsmen assemblies throughout the year allow the ombudsmen to network with each other and to share personal experiences from lessons learned.
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