IWTC Monterey’s Ombudsman Paramount to Navy Readiness

24 November 2020

From Information Warfare Training Command Monterey

MONTEREY, Calif. -- As the Navy celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Navy Ombudsman Program in 2020, Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey has reaped the good fortune of having Lisa Takashima-Haggerty serve as their command ombudsman for the past three years.
MONTEREY, Calif. -- As the Navy celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Navy Ombudsman Program in 2020, Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey has reaped the good fortune of having Lisa Takashima-Haggerty serve as their command ombudsman for the past three years.

Originally established Sept. 14, 1970 by the then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, the role of the command ombudsman is to be a liaison and a communication link between commands and their Sailors’ families, and Takashima-Haggerty goes above and beyond to ensure the IWTC Monterey families are well cared for.

When asked what the Ombudsman Program is and what it offers to commands and its Sailors, Takashima-Haggerty shared, “An ombudsman provides information to commanders about quality of life issues that affect Sailors’ families and push out information from commanders to Sailors’ families.

It is a unique and important role and is vital to a healthy command climate. An ombudsman is also a volunteer that is usually a command member’s spouse with a direct line to the commanding officer.

Takashima-Haggerty said she volunteered to become an ombudsman because, “I wanted to help young families get off to a good start in their Navy journey. An ombudsman can advocate for family members, especially when it comes to matters like military housing or medical services for families at military medical facilities. But what I can’t do, is advocate for Sailors; Sailors have their chains of command, and their families have me.”

She became a Navy spouse in 2014 and experienced the challenges new families will face at IWTC Monterey: stress from long days; uncertainty of what the next tour of duty might be; and the inevitable permanent change of station away from Monterey.

“Most of the families that come to IWTC Monterey are young and they are new to Navy life,” said Takashima-Haggerty. “They are generally newlyweds and sometimes have young children. They are often unaware of all the services and programs that are available for them.”

Prior to restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, IWTC Monterey’s ombudsman organized military spouse luncheons, widely attended by spouses of students, staff and even the commanding officer. In recent months, those luncheons have been sidelined, but Takashima-Haggerty has been busy organizing socially-distanced events like the widely attended Halloween Trunk-or-Treat held in the Kent Navy Yard.

She also explained that another key role of an ombudsman is to provide resource referrals when asked.

“Fleet and Family Support Center Monterey, Army Community Services and Military One Source have always been available for families in Monterey,” added Takashima-Haggerty. “They all offer classes, workshops, and counseling to strengthen military families. Since the pandemic began more courses and services that were traditionally unavailable in Monterey, Compass for instance, have become available for families in this area in a virtual environment.”

She said there are numerous resources available to IWTC Monterey Sailors and their families that can help build stronger relationships and prepare families for the next step in their Navy journey.

“There are classes on budgeting and financial counseling, planning for life after the Navy, new parent support groups, parenting classes, a visiting nurse program to check in on newborns, marital counseling, personal counseling, counseling for children on ways to cope with deployment, Military Family Life Counselors, yoga, Exceptional Family Member Program workshops, a School Liaison Officer to help families find the school that is right for their children, a lending locker to help newly arrived families waiting for their household goods, classes to prepare for PCS transfers, tutoring for family members, and much more.”

She said her biggest challenge as IWTC Monterey ombudsman has been reaching all families and letting them know she can’t do anything to help change Defense Language Proficiency Test scores. She also shared that her biggest success came recently, where she helped a soon-to-be IWTC Monterey spouse with housing, local area utilities and local school information so that they could successfully move their family to Monterey and set up their household while their Sailor was in Boot Camp. Undoubtedly, she helped take some stress off the family while their Sailor was away from home at RTC Great Lakes–all in a day’s work for the IWTC Monterey ombudsman.

For more information on the Ombudsman program please visit:
https://www.cnic.navy.mil/ffr/family_readiness/fleet_and_family_support_program/work-and-family-life/ombudsman_program/ombudsman_program_overview.html

Additional resources from the IWTCM Ombudsman:
https://www.militaryonesource.mil/
https://www.nsfamilyline.org/
https://monterey.navylifesw.com/programs/bb243243-2239-4fd8-9b55-83000e04acf6

IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), provides a continuum of foreign language training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.

For more on Information Warfare Training Command Monterey, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/IWTCMonterey and http://www.monterey.army.mil/Service_Units/IWTC_Monterey.html, or find them on Facebook.

With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 22,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.

For more news from the Center for Information Warfare Training domain, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/CIWT, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www.twitter.com/NavyCIWT.
 
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