SANTA RITA, Guam (Sept. 20, 2019) -- Forty ombudsmen, who serve under Joint Region Marianas and its tenant commands, were recognized during the annual ombudsman appreciation luncheon Sept. 20 at Torpedoes & Tomahawks onboard U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) in Santa Rita.
Known as volunteer liaisons between service members’ commands and their families, the ombudsmen received tokens of gratitude for their efforts toward ensuring that service members and their families are well-informed and have a pleasant experience navigating military life.
Rear Adm. John Menoni, commander, Joint Region Marianas, took to the stage as the event’s guest speaker. He emphasized the vital responsibility that ombudsmen have in supporting their warfighters, especially as the Navy’s mission grows in the region, calling them his “super-secret weapon” and an “intelligence community.”
“Your job’s going to be needed daily to support those Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen and Marines, as they try to execute missions on behalf of our country,” he said. “When I’m deployed, it’s always nice to know that there’s somebody back at home, looking out for my family… I appreciate the help you give us in the good times and in the bad times.”
Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Jamire Harvey, assigned to Commander, Fleet Air Western Pacific Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department, Aviation Support Division Det. Guam, explained how ombudsmen willingly and heartwarmingly tend to military families around the clock, most in addition to their day jobs.
“(Ombudsmen) are really necessary for all branches, not just the Navy,” he said. “They should be very much appreciated and valued among commands because they do work hard on their own time. They’re always emailing, texting, calling… helping other people.”
Knowing first-hand the resources and assistance that military families could need as they settle at a new station, NBG Ombudsman Tiya Clifton became motivated to help others in her role. She understands the need for ombudsmen during significant life events, to include childbirth and death.
“There’s always sentimental moments,” she said. “Where there’s joy, there’s a little sadness, but knowing that you’re a help with all those, it makes you feel good, which is why we (ombudsmen) do the work we do. The volunteer work gives me more joy in the world than any other job I could have.”
From enduring natural disasters to facing times of war, NBG Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Grimes applauded the ombudsman program and its key volunteers, as they better enable the region’s forces.
“They keep the Navy running as smooth as it does every day,” he said. “They do this out of volunteerism, out of love for their country, out of love for their service and love for their spouse. They enable us, the uniform wearers, to do our job every day, knowing that there’s someone in between us and our families to help answer questions – from the most minute thing to the most important thing.”