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Fleet and Family Support Center Celebrates Forty Years of Service

Fleet and Family Support Center Celebrates Forty Years of Service

From Fleet and Family Support Center

Forty years ago on July 16, 1979, the first Navy Family Service Center opened in Norfolk, Virginia. Since then, the Fleet and Family Support Program has provided support to Sailors and their families that promotes their integration into the Navy and adaptation to Navy life.

The idea for the NFSC grew out of the Family Awareness Conference held in Norfolk in November 1978. It became evident that the Navy needed to make a greater effort to meet the needs of the Navy family. Rear Adm. Richard Nicholson established a task force to explore how to best support Navy families, which concluded that a centralized location would best serve families.

The first Navy Family Service Center was established in Norfolk. It was headed by a Navy captain and staffed by active duty service members, civilians, a volunteer program, an ombudsman, and a chaplain. Together, they provided 24-hour information and referral services, clinical and administrative services, relocation assistance, and pastoral care.

NFSC was co-located with Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. American Red Cross and Navy Legal assigned staff to the center part time to further the concept of a one-stop assistance center. As word of the center spread, the demand for services grew. In the coming years, programs increased to include financial education, child development, and retired activities.

Services improved over the next decade to enhance the support of Navy families.

In 2001, the Navy updated the program name to Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) to emphasize that centers provide support both to Sailors and their families. FFSC soon developed a lighthouse logo and the mission statement: “Meeting Your Needs, at Home, at Sea” to be used at the FFSCs on naval bases around the globe. Today, the lighthouse logo adorns the doors of centers worldwide symbolizing safety and security for those at sea and on shore.