What an Ombudsman can do for you!

March 27, 2014

Hello, NIOC Pensacola this is your command Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman is designated by your Commanding Officer to serve as a communication link between the command leaders and the command family, in addition to being a trained Information and referral specialist.

Example of what I can do for you:

Example 1: You just move here and the active duty member goes right to work. The spouse is looking for a job and daycare. They could call or email me and I could get them in contact with the Fleet and Family Support Center and just chat with them about the area has to offer, where to live, schools, and daycare.

Example 2: A single sailor just arrives and is not sure where check in. He can call me and I can give him the information he needs.

Example 3: A parent has questions regarding the command or where his son or daughter is located or wants information about the area when they come visit. They could contact me and I would provide them with answers.

Please pass my information to your family members. Just have them email me their information and this can include extended family members (Moms, Dads, grandparents) as well. They will receive command updates and messages from me.  I can be reached by phone or email during working hours. I’m available for emergencies 24 hours a day via phone.  I will be looking forward to meeting you at command functions in the near future.

Jana Beck
NIOC Pensacola Ombudsman
niocpensacolaombudsman1@gmail.com
850-529-5244

MWR UPCOMING EVENTS
http://naspensacola-mwr.com/current/current.htm click on link for more information


Tax Season!!!

February 20, 2014

untitledTax season is now in session! I am sure most of you have already filed your taxes and are expecting a refund shortly. The Fleet and Family Support Center on NAS has put out a few tips on what to do with your return:

-Retire your debts. Use your refund to pay down a high-interest credit card.

-Start an emergency savings account. Financial experts recommend keeping a savings account with enough money to cover your expenses for three to six months.

-Contribute to your Thrift Savings Plan. Saving for retirement is more important than ever. An extra contribution will help build savings for a secure future.

-Roth TSP Investments. Traditionally, participants invest pre-tax dollars into their TSP accounts. With the Roth TSP, participants have the option to make Roth contributions, which allow participants to invest after-tax dollars into their TSP accounts too. Check out our article on Roth TSP Investments for more information.

-Save for a down payment on a home or vehicle. If home or vehicle ownership is in your long-term plans, a larger down payment will lower your monthly payments and interest costs.

-Do some preventive maintenance or improvements. Minor home or car repairs you make now could spare you a bigger future expense.

-Save for college. If you have children, you can contribute to a college 529 savings plan for future college expenses.

-Make an extra car or house payment. Just be sure there are no prepayment penalties and tell your lender to apply the extra funds to the principal balance, not the interest.

-Reconsider your W-4 withholdings if you receive a large refund. Instead of giving the government an interest-free loan, make sure those funds go into your paycheck every month.

-Consult with a financial planner. Make an appointment with an expert and do some long-range planning. Contact Military OneSource for information on free financial planning services.

-Wait for your refund to arrive before spending it. If you can’t fight the urge to splurge, don’t spend your the money in advance – pay cash after you receive your refund.

We do have access to tax preparers on base and they are open till April 15th! Please call PO1 ERIC SIENZANT (312) 404-0061, to make an appointment.

- PO1 Ryan Allison, Command Financial Specialist


Martin Luther King Day

January 19, 2014

King_Jr_Martin_Luther_093.jpg

   Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929.  His name at birth was actually ‘Martin King’, and was changed by his father in honor of the German reformist Martin Luther.  King never graduated high school, but did attend Morehouse, earning a B.A. degree in sociology in 1948.  He continued his studies as Crozer Theological Seminary, attaining a bachelor’s degree in Divinity in 1951.  Shortly after marrying his wife Coretta, King was hired as the Pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.  In 1959, King would make a life-changing trip to India with Quaker group.  While there, King observed the non-violent resistance used by Mohandas Ghandi to effect social change.

   Using all the knowledge he had acquired, King, then the , President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, began organizing non-violent activities to protest racial segregation.  His most famous event was the ‘March on Washington’ in 1963, where King delivered the immortal ‘I Have A Dream’ speech to hundred of thousands on the National Wall.  King’s protests, and his methods, quickly spread through the South to Birmingham Alabama, St. Augustine Florida, Selma Alabama, and even New York City, all in just one year.  King would go on to organize hundreds of Civil Rights protests, and was arrested 29 times in the segregated South.  On April 4, 1968, with tensions still high in the South, King was shot by James Earl Ray and died at 7:05 pm.  President Johnson declared a national day of mourning for Dr. King, and his funeral was attended by Vice-President Hubert Humphrey.  In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill making the third Monday of January Martin Luther King Day, to honor the work and legacy of the Civil Rights leader.

-PO3 Maspons, Special Observance Committee Member


NIOC brings Holiday Cheer!

January 14, 2014

IMG_0208PO Elias and PO Burnett were this years point of contacts for the Angel Tree with Children’s Home Society.  Below they have given their input of the experience and explain how NIOC has made a difference in several lives.

 “For the past two years NIOC Pensacola has been given an opportunity to sponsor 50 vulnerable children in the Pensacola area.  These kids come from a variety of homes (i.e. abusive homes, parents are in jail or drug addicts, negligent parents, etc).  The toy drive is opportunity to show these kids that are people who care and love to give.  The staff at NIOC were so eager to help that some were actually upset that they couldn’t sponsor a child.  Of the 50 kids we were able to sponsor (50 each year for the past 2 years), they came out with mounds of toys and clothes for the Holiday season.  While we were not able to give the children their gifts in person (due to legal issues and upholding the confidentiality/safety of those kids), the social workers at the home society ensured us that the children would be thrilled. Some even cry because of the happiness they feel.  It was an honor and a privilege to serve and help out those in need, and I hope NIOC Pensacola continues to do this for years to come.”  -   PO2 Elias

 “I really enjoyed helping out with the children’s toy drive the last two years.  Although command members had plenty of other things going on during the holiday season, we were still able to get a gift for every kid that NIOC sponsored.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to actually see them open their presents and see the reactions, but it was still nice to know that we helped shed some light on what might be some really dark times for the children.”  -  PO2 Burnett


Episode 5: Biloxi

December 10, 2013

The day is bright and muggy.  My eyeglasses fog up just from going outside.  Yet, despite the heat and the humidity, the sky is clear, the clouds are beautiful and the day has just begun.  The road, with its bends and turns, with its open call to adventure, screams to anyone to get off the couch and set out on the weekend.  Shouts of exuberating exclamations reach the area around the potential traveler!  The workweek has disappeared, and the chance for a ‘mini-vacation’ has just arrived!  It is sunny Florida and travel has just appeared on the menu!

The trip to Biloxi, MS, was a bit interesting this time.  A previous journey had led to the expected Biloxi experience: a gambling strip, hotels and casinos overlooking the water, and a brightly lit area of town.  This interesting trip, in contrast, was almost an entirely different experience.  The feel of the trip was as a never-ending boardwalk: biking, skateboarding, rollerblading available sidewalk, multiple jet-ski rentals across the water (waves were not high enough or even existent enough for bogeyboard/surfing), kids were making sand castles and capturing sand crabs, and sunbathing or swimming not to be ignored as well.  The 90, or beach blvd, was taken from Biloxi to Gulfport to Pass Christian and all the way to Bay St. Louis before returning to the Intestate-10.  After reviewing the map, it seems the author may have travelled the east side the first trip, and the west side of town the second trip.  All of the casinos on the waterfront are on the east side of town.

Places of interest while travelling to the west side of town include: Keesler Air Force Base (the author accidentally arrived at this Air Force Base, and the person at the gate was kind enough to point in the correct direction of where to travel), Bay Breeze Golf Course, Southern Memorial Park, Mississippi Coast Coliseum (a huge general meeting area for concerts, etc), and a mall.  I am unsure, but I remember seeing a VA hospital somewhere around there too, but I’m not sure that would add quite the tourist value of the other locations.  The housing along the drive was quite unique.  Some houses were quite impressive; others I would be embarrassed to even being seen standing next to.  I’m certain in both cases the cost for land and housing would be out of reach for many persons.  While driving along this area, a land for sale of 1 acre was ‘on sale’ for 1 million dollars!

The shopping led to some unique discoveries.  In the shop visited, there were a wide variety of t-shirts with funny sayings on them; it was amusing enough simply to browse around and chuckle at each of the sayings.  To be incredibly unique, this shop also had painted hermit crabs for sale.  The intricate designs on such small creatures were definitely an attention grabbing portion of the trip.  Imagine watching a painting stand up, walk across the room, and then sit back down.  This oddity was exactly how it felt to witness these hermit crabs in action.  The other gadgets, trinkets, summer clothing, and sports to toss around in the sand rounded out a satisfying shopping experience. 

This is your call to ‘cruise the beach’, put the top down, drive 5 miles under the speed limit, and experience the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the sights and views of the horizon of the Gulf of Mexico as you drive off ‘into the sunset’ on your own journey!  This is your call to ‘get out there’ and experience what this area has to offer; this is your chance to make your vacation destination of Florida the best it can be!  After all, we only have a limited time on a short tour of duty, and then Big Navy will send us on friendly sails to what is next, so let’s make the best of what we have now and here before it is all gone!  As always, enjoy your ‘mini-vacations’ responsibly and I look forward to us all occasionally bumping into each other because we are all getting outside away from the video games and experiencing what our area has to offer!


Remembering Our Team Member – Mr. Greg Sammarco

December 6, 2013

Mr. Greg Sammarco

It has been a little over a year since we lost a valued NIOC Pensacola Team Member, CTTC (Ret.) Gregory Sammarco. Greg set a high standard at NIOC Pensacola for mentoring sailors as well as his civilian peers and we hope we have met up to his expectations and have carried his legacy on.

His bowl still in our break room, his picture on our wall, his memory in our hearts.  Please click on the link below and read about the life and legacy of Greg and feel free to leave your comments on the original post.

Remembering Our Team Member – Mr. Greg Sammarco

~K.S.Vernier, NIOC Pensacola Civilian


Episode 4: Mobile

November 12, 2013

Envision a clear sky, fresh trees, open air.  Look into the bright day and soak in the sun.  Pleasant clouds invoke thoughts of soft, luxurious down pillows.  Bridges across levees spark the adventure.  You are heading out once again on an adventure, and the adventure takes you far, far away from the hustle and bustle of life and to new locations and fresh sceneries!

Today’s article transcribes the path to Mobile, AL where there is a lot to do and plenty of excitement to be had!  The first article of interest is Capital Trailways.  Capital Trailways is a subsidiary of Greyhound, LLC, the nationwide bus company.  They operate buses which do regular casino tours to Biloxi and Montgomery, and the bus itself looks rather plush when you look at what is available onboard.  Go to www.capitaltrailways.com if you have any questions about this opportunity.  The author of this article saw the bus while driving through.

As always, there are interesting parks to be seen everywhere!  Mobile, AL, is no exception.  It is never a bad day when the weather is great and there is a park to walk around and explore for interesting new things.  The park visited had unique sculptures, well manicured landscaping, and some of the most interesting frescoes painted upon the park’s benches that could be seen.  The architecture combined with the flags and the fountain made for additional unique perspective upon the park.  Some of the free spirits at the park were using a I-pod radio to add some ambiance to the air, and the trees added enough shade to create a cool relaxing feeling to the whole experience.

An interesting fact about Mobile is the water traffic that travels to and from its ports.  Harbor Lady Cruises (www.harborlady.com) offers a full buffet as well as a scene of the sunset from fall to spring (summer excluded) as well as tea/coffee to drink.  With the cost of $49, this might just be the romantic ‘getaway’ that you and your significant other were looking for!  Mobile might also be a location you would be able to take a cruise of the Caribbean from; which I have found online weekend cruises as low as $269 for an inside cabin (size of a closet) because they want to fill out their cruise liner to maximize their profits.  They lose money if they do not cap out to capacity, and they can make additional money by asking for tips or providing services at every junction you are on a cruise.  Yet, with such low prices, a cruise in this area could be a great choice for many of us at NIOC-P as a chance to take a breather and experience something we might not get at other commands.

Another interesting prospect of Mobile would be to take advantage of Berney and Fly bed and breakfast.  This unique option includes the USS Alabama Battleship (24$), Bellingrath Home and Gardens (40$), Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab (14$), and Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center (28$).  So for the price of the room, you get basically all of the hot tourist spots of the town included for free.  Nice bargain!  It doesn’t seem to mention the IMAX theatre that is in town.  Additionally, if you wanted an alternative, you could sleep in something that looks vaguely like an air traffic control center if you wanted to stay in the Mobile Holiday Inn.  To say it looks odd would not be a stretch.  There is also a ‘Museum of Mobile’ at 111 South Royal Street as well as a ‘Mobile Museum of Art’ at 4850 Museum Drive.  After a long day of fun, you might want to find a place to prop up your feet, relax, and enjoy the good company of others.  At this juncture, might we suggest you head to the highest floor of the Holiday Inn on 301 Government Street and relax to the view of the whole entire city! (age 21+, 5pm-11pm weekdays, 5pm-1am Fri/Sat).  A lot to do for a town so close to Pensacola!

As always, continue to stretch outside the confines of Pensacola and spread out on your weekends and try new things!  We have a unique opportunity to have such a rich culture around us, unique history, and a ton of things to do that are unique to just this area.  If MWR events, command events, fundraisers for HPC or EA, church/religious services or activities do not catch your eye or keep your attention, or even if they do, step out and create your own little ‘mini-vacation’ and treat yourself to the surroundings all within the liberty radius of Pensacola and try something new!  Who knows, it might be a memory you can treasure the rest of your life!

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