Today, I am going to shed some light on a really funny word called "ombudsman". When Parker was assigned to his first training squadron, I remember being so confused when I got a call from someone who introduced herself as the ombudsman. Fast forward 4 years, and I am now the ombudsman for Parker's squadron. Ahh, military life. So here's the skinny:
The ombudsman is a communication link between the Commanding Officer and family members, appointed to provide support and information to military families.
8 Facts About The Ombudsman:
1. The ombudsman is almost always a military spouse and can be either an officer or enlisted spouse.
2. Every squadron or company is assigned an ombudsman.
3. The ombudsman is not a professional counselor but is there to be a listening ear and source of knowledge for any family members that need help, guidance, or just want to talk.
4. Most everything said to the ombudsman is confidential. Exceptions are any type of abuse or suicidal thoughts, which have to be reported. However, the same rule does not apply to the chaplain. Anything said to the chaplain is completely confidential.
5. "Ombudsman" is the most common term for this role, but you will also see the Marine Corps use "Key Volunteer" and the Army use "Family Liaison Officer".
6. Ombudsmen are mainly Information & Referral Specialists, meaning they can get you to the resources you need for any and all situations.
7. The ombudsman is sort of the "fix-all" go-to person for the families. The ombudsman will be called for anything from car trouble to financial issues to grief or depression.
8. The ombudsman is a volunteer. Although this can become a busy job, they are not paid. They fulfill this role because they want to help. The ombudsman is usually appointed by the commanding officer, and in some cases interviewed before being offered the role.
In a nutshell, the ombudsman is a really great resource for families. Especially for spouses who might be having trouble adjusting to military life or struggling with deployment, the ombudsman can help. The cool thing about the ombudsman is they have been around the military block and have gone through the different stages of military life that you might be going through. We all need a little help every once in a while, and the ombudsman is there to do just that!