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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — For the first time in the eight years Michelle Smith has been married to a sailor, her new home base doesn’t have a club for enlisted spouses.

“No one’s ever taken the time to do it,” Smith said. “It’s a lot of work to get it started.”

She and several other sailors’ wives plan to change that Tuesday when they inaugurate Yokosuka Enlisted Spouses.

The group will meet at 10:30 a.m. at Sbarros at Main Street Food Court and is open to all enlisted and some civilian spouses.

There are similar clubs for specific commands here, but there isn’t a group for all shore-based, ship-based, sub-based or other command spouses, Smith said.

Having a club similar to the Officers’ Spouse Club would give enlisted spouses a chance to meet more people, reach out to the community and possibly interact with spouses of enlisted Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel.

“What a way to see and meet other [nationalities],” Smith said.

In addition to offering a new social support group and helping the community, the group could introduce spouses to elements of the Navy they might not usually get to see.

For example, a spouse married to a Kitty Hawk sailor may wonder what a submarine is like. The club can be a way to share those experiences.

The group also is planning a list of community-outreach activities like hosting holiday parties for families living in the lodge awaiting a permanent home, welcoming new families or creating something new on base like a garden.

“The thoughts are endless for what we can do,” Smith said.

At the first meeting, attendees will decide what form the group will take and elect leadership, Smith said.

Smith, whose husband is the top enlisted 7th Fleet sailor, said she prefers an advisory role.

Spouse Paula Steadley, married to Fleet Activities Yokosuka Command Master Chief Joe Steadley, hopes the group will host family events such as cookouts, as well as organize activities aimed at improving base appearance.

Smith said she hopes the group mirrors the enlisted spouses group at Atsugi Naval Air Facility. The group rotates its 30-minute monthly meeting times. The meetings are followed by an activity, so gatherings aren’t dull.

Steadley is encouraging spouses to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

“It’s for everyone. Male, female, with children, without children, employed or not employed,” she said.

Join the club

Yokosuka Enlisted Spouses is open to all enlisted spouses at Yokosuka and associated housing areas, as well as spouses of GS-6 civilian employees and below.

The group will meet Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sbarros, Main Street Food Court. Call Judith Yager at DSN 241-2489 or Michelle Smith at DSN 241-4560, or e-mail: yokosukaenlistedspouse@lycos.com


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