Shipmate of the Week – Amanda Satter

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Amanda Satter, ombudsman for Maritime Safety and Security Team San Diego, is presented the Wanda Allen-Yearout Ombudsman of the Year Award for 2012 by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
Amanda Satter, ombudsman for Maritime Safety and Security Team San Diego, is presented the Wanda Allen-Yearout Ombudsman of the Year Award for 2012 by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team San Diego protects seaports and waterways, safeguarding harbors, ports, facilities, vessels and their cargo. Their special capabilities, designed to close the readiness gaps in ports, often find them deployed for months at a time. And as they perform their mission, far from home, one woman is on a mission to safeguard the unit’s families – Amanda Satter, MSST San Diego’s ombudsman.

Satter was not directed or told or ordered to fill in as ombudsman. She volunteered. The choice to spend time and effort as an ombudsman was an easy one though, and it all came back to keeping the 145 active duty and reserve members at the unit ready.

Boat crews assigned to Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team San Diego apply their tactics training in Guantanamo Bay. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kilho Park.
Boat crews assigned to Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team San Diego apply their tactics training in Guantanamo Bay. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kilho Park.

“Having a unit ombudsman is so important because it provides a connection between the command and the families which allows the servicemember to have a better peace of mind while performing their job, which often requires them to be away from their family for an extended period of time,” explained Satter.

As the link to the command and families, Satter confronts issues at the unit head on. Which is important because these issues, like many that military families encounter, are tough. Missing the birth of a first child, stresses of deployment and strains on marriages are all challenges Satter has taken on and supported.

Like all maritime safety and security teams, MSST San Diego is deployable worldwide. There is a tremendous amount of support needed for all families before a deployment, and as a spouse herself, Satter knew a lot about these uncertainties. She created informational material to send to all of the families and reached out to the command with questions still needing to be addressed before the deployment. The command listened to the families and held an event to answer questions and reduce the stress the families were experiencing.

With the desire to better serve the men and women at the unit, Satter traveled across the country to attend Yellow Ribbon events. Experiencing the program at various units, and building her network of support professionals all over the nation, she was further armed with knowledge and resources to support the unit’s families.

Satter also found opportunities to strengthen families by sponsoring a job club. Aiming to make spouses more aware of jobs in the area, she increased their opportunity of finding job openings in a difficult job market. Additionally, Satter created bi-monthly emails, providing information on highly sought after benefits at child care facilities, financial planning workshops, young sporting activities, parenting workshops and scholarship opportunities.

As an ombudsman, Satter constantly seeks new ways to support servicemembers and their families, and she encourages others to do the same as well. She knows she can’t do it alone, however, and taps into the Coast Guard-wide network of ombudsmen who are bettering their units across the country.

“Don’t be scared to reach out to other ombudsmen to ask for help,” she said. “Sharing ideas and resources with each other has been so helpful to me.”

She also encourages families who see a need for more support at their unit to step up to the plate.

Amanda Satter speaks about her role as an ombudsman during the Ombudsman of the Year awards presentation. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
Amanda Satter speaks about her role as an ombudsman during the Ombudsman of the Year awards presentation. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

“Every unit needs an ombudsman, so don’t be scared to step up and volunteer – you won’t regret it!”

Through all of the deployments and all of her efforts, Satter says her reward is in knowing she made a difference for a family.

“The most enjoyable part of being an ombudsman is hearing from a family that they benefited in some way from a resource I directed them to or that they had a great time at an event they learned about through me,” said Satter.

And with every family ready, every servicemember is ready. Something the Coast Guard depends on as MSST San Diego performs their vital homeland security mission.

Do you know a Shipmate that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

4 comments on “Shipmate of the Week – Amanda Satter”

  1. My mother was a Spar.  She remembered all of her two years fondly, even basic training.  She met friends there that stayed friends for the rest of her life, sharing holiday cards and maintaining contact.  She used to walk like she was still marching in formation.  Our son is now in the USCG.  Our family is proud to follow the USCG tradition.

  2. Mom was a SPAR and was very excited to be at her granddaughter’s graduation from A school in VA last summer! She was assisted to the stage by her other granddaughter who was an Air Force Captain and me, mother,mother in law, daughter, and sister of  service members!

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