By Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs
WASHINGTON – Today, the Navy announced the appointment of Mrs. Stacey Lindsey and Mrs. Amy Smith to serve as the Chief of Naval Operations’ ombudsmen-at-large.
In their new roles, Lindsey and Smith are volunteer advisors to Adm. Mike Gilday and other senior Navy leaders on issues affecting Sailors and their families.
“Our Navy ombudsmen are absolutely critical to facilitating communication between Sailors, commands and family members. Simply put, they’re the glue that holds it all together,” said Gilday. “I’m grateful for Stacey and Amy serving the Navy in this way, and know they will be excellent advocates for our Sailors and their families.”
As a Navy spouse of more than 28 years, Lindsey said she understands the important role families play in the Navy’s continued readiness, and that she has a deep-rooted passion for supporting others on their journey through Navy life.
“The ombudsman program is a vital connection between commands and families,” said Lindsey. “Ombudsmen provide support along many channels and through many partnerships. I believe in this support and connection, and the power it creates. I feel honored and grateful to advocate for our families and Sailors alongside Mrs. Smith and ombudsmen around the world.”
Lindsey, an entrepreneur who started her own non-profit organization and has over 30 years of experience in business and sales, advises Navy families to be a team.
“Your service together will make more lasting impact and you will reap rewards you would never expect,” Lindsey said.
Smith said she agreed that working as a team is beneficial and reminds families that no two experiences are identical.
“You have to pursue your best life and the reality you want to achieve; that is determined by you and your spouse,” she said. “Any external pressures are not important when compared to you and your family.”
Smith, who has been in the role of a Navy spouse for 10 years and is currently a corporate executive for a top 500 company, said she is looking forward to meeting with families and ombudsmen across the Navy.
“I am so honored to serve as ombudsman-at-large, and hope that Mrs. Lindsey and I can continue to grow this incredible program and enact change to strengthen the support provided to our Navy families,” she said. “I would also like to take this opportunity as I accept this new role to thank those serving as ombudsman for their selfless dedication and support.”
For the past 50 years, Navy ombudsmen have been a crucial link between Sailors, families and Navy leaders.
More than 1,835 ombudsmen serve as ombudsmen throughout the fleet and shore enterprise on a volunteer basis. They share information from the command to families and vice versa, provide resource referrals and help resolve concerns brought up by families and Sailors.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of command ombudsman is more critical than ever before, according to Brandy Littler, ombudsman program analyst for Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC). Ombudsmen throughout the Navy have gone above and beyond to support their families – from making and donating masks and sharing homeschooling resources to holding virtual town halls with families and providing updates on COVID-19 health protection measures.
“Solutions on how to support Navy families world-wide have come from every level of the ombudsman program, and it is deeply satisfying to see and feel the continual progress made in family readiness through the efforts of our ombudsmen,” Littler said.
CNIC, which oversees and manages the ombudsman program, provides ombudsmen across the globe with resources and continuous training to increase their knowledge and skills as they fulfill their roles.
Since the pandemic started, CNIC has taken full advantage of the virtual platform to continue delivery of services to ombudsmen and command families. CNIC has trained a record number of 337 ombudsmen in eOBT, the online version of ombudsman basic training, since March 2020. In addition, many installations are now offering virtual ombudsmen assembly meetings to ensure ombudsmen have continued support and networking opportunities while they are unable to meet in person.
On Sept. 14, 1970, then-CNO Adm. Elmo Zumwalt launched the Navy Family Ombudsman Program to assist commands in maintaining the morale, health and welfare of Navy families. For five decades, Navy ombudsmen have promoted self-reliance and resiliency to strengthen the military and its family members as well as support mission readiness.
This year, as the Navy celebrates the 50th anniversary of the ombudsman program, we are all reminded to thank our ombudsman for a job well done.
To locate your local ombudsman, visit the ombudsman registry page at https://ombudsmanregistry.cnic.navy.mil and use the “Contact Your Ombudsman” feature. For more information about the ombudsman program, visit https://www.ffsp.navy.mil.