CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – --
Summer on Okinawa is full of hot weather, busy training schedules, and scores of inbound and outbound Marines.
The relocation process can be difficult with the laundry list of things to do. The sponsorship program is used to help Marines and their families, navigate and settle in to the new environment. Here are 10 key steps for sponsors to follow to help the process along.
1. Make contact the Marines
Start the process by contacting the Marine and introducing yourself in a welcoming email within 10 days of being assigned as their sponsor. This email should include your contact information with both your home and work phone numbers and your work and personal emails.
2. Get copies of key documents from the Marine
As a sponsor you will need to have copies of the Marine’s orders and if they are on accompanied order, you will need a copy of their area clearance. If they have children, find out how many and their ages so you can get information about childcare or schools. Advise the Marine to save a copy of their orders electronically and ask them if there are any special circumstances that you would need to be aware of.
3. Set up their post office box
The sponsor can establish a post office box for the incoming Marine if they have accompanied orders. To do this you will need a copy of orders and area clearance. This will allow the Marine to ship items to the post office box prior to arriving on Okinawa.
If the Marine is unaccompanied, the Marine will use their unit address provided when they doing their check in.
4. Set up the housing appointments
Inbound Marines with accompanied orders have to report to Department of Defense Housing Office for an initial process briefing and then visit the Regional Housing Office within five days of arriving on Okinawa. Form DD-1746, which is a housing application, must be filled out and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will allow the sponsor to set the appointments up for when the Marine and their family arrives.
5. Set up temporary lodging
If the Marine is accompanied, the sponsor will have to make reservations at an on-base facility. If there is not room on-base, the sponsor will need to obtain a certificate of nonavailability before looking for a hotel off-base. If an off-base hotel is used, remember to stay within the Marine’s temporary lodging allowance rate.
6. Set up the installation personnel administration center appointment
IPAC processes the Marine’s documents and reimbursements. The sponsor needs to set up an appointment for them so that the process can be filed and handled early on.
7. Sign them up for the newcomer’s brief
The newcomer’s brief is an all-day class that all Marines new to Okinawa, and their families, must attend within their first two weeks on Okinawa.
8. Pick up Marine and their family from airport
As a sponsor it is your responsibility to have transportation ready to pick up the Marine and their family from the airport. Keep in touch with them throughout their travel to help reduce the chance of missing the pick up time.
9. Help them check in on Okinawa
All Marines are given a list of places to check into when they first arrive on Okinawa. Sponsors are their guide, helping them find the all places they need to be and introducing them to their respective command.
10. Help them with vehicle and driving license needs
A vehicle is a must for families, but searching and buying for one in a new location can be tricky. As a sponsor, you need to know the area and can help them find the tools or resources to use to help them buy a vehicle. If they need to obtain a driver’s license you can schedule them for a class.
For more information about sponsorship or how to become a sponsor, contact Marine and Family Programs with Marine Corps Community Services.