By Hospitalman Jeyzon Fernandez Jimenez
Public Affairs Staff/Editor
Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital
Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms proudly welcomes Mr. Bright Opoku as the new Command Ombudsman.
What is an ombudsman?
An ombudsman is a volunteer, chosen by the Commanding Officer (CO), on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
An ombudsman is also a spouse of an active duty or selected reserve member assigned to the command who serves as the official liaison between the command and its families. The ombudsman assists the CO in maintaining the morale and welfare of the command’s service members and its families.
According to OPNAVINST 1750.1G, the Ombudsman Program was introduced to the Navy by z-gram 24 on Sept. 14, 1970, by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr. A z-gram is a list of policy directives issued by Zumwalt while in office as the CNO (from July 1, 1970 to
July 1, 1974).
Zumwalt adapted this program from a 19th century Scandinavian custom originally established by the king to give ordinary private citizens an avenue to express their grievances to high government officials.
To support the command’s mission and improve family readiness, the ombudsman acts as an advocate for families and Sailors. He helps to disseminate accurate information regarding command policies, services available, resource referral and deployments.
He is a confidential point of contact for families and Sailors and refers them to the appropriate agency for questions, concerns, aid, or intervention. The ombudsman is an effective resource for hearing about the welfare of command families.
To clarify, the ombudsman is not a trained counselor or social worker, but can show you the way to solving your problems or getting assistance.
Furthermore, Ombudsman Appreciation Day is on Sept. 14 (or the Friday preceding the 14th, if it falls on a weekend). Since the 14th is of significance to the history of the program, commands are authorized to celebrate the event at any time deemed appropriate during the month of September or as soon as possible thereafter.
As a confidential point of contact for family members of the military staff, Mr. Opoku, the ombudsman, can be used as a reference and referral guide. For situations that need assistance, he is able to provide you with information on various resources around the base that may help.
Resource connections for Sailors and family members such as the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), located at the Village Center (Bldg. 1551), provides financial assistance in difficult times; the DStress hotline, (877) 476-7734 / Dstressline.com, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emotional support; and the TRICARE Service Center, which provides health care services such as appointment scheduling and Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) registration, are just a few of the many resource links that are listed in the Ombudsman Newsletter, which is generated and published every two months via the command emailing platform.
You may contact Mr. Opoku by phone at (760) 910-2050, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.