Sailors with issues — good or bad — or ideas on how to improve quality of life on ship or shore: The Naval inspector general wants to hear from you.

Vice Adm. Ronald Route and a team of inspectors are visiting most Navy bases in Japan from Aug. 26 to Sept. 28, on what’s called an area visit, to evaluate quality of life for sailors and their spouses and Navy civilian employees.

The team wants to know, for example: “What’s going well on the ships — what’s not? Are sailors getting adequate food? Are they getting the right tools they need at the right time?” said Jana Dove, Commander, Naval Forces Japan inspector general. “They’re also interested in personal life: ‘What’s going on? How’s the hospital care? Are you getting what you need from dental? How are the schools?’ It’s very broad scope. They want to know, ‘What’s on your mind?’”

The area visit to Japan is one of several regional visits by the Navy IG team to gauge quality of life throughout the fleet. Route, who assumed Navy IG duties in August 2004, will be making his first visit to Japan. It’s the first IG area visit to Japan since 1999, Dove said.

Route is “quite excited about seeing how life is different for us,” Dove said.

Teams will visit Okinawa, Sasebo Naval Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Yokosuka Naval Base. They’ll seek feedback three ways: an advance, online survey; focus group meetings and interviews with service providers; and private one-on-one consultations.

The anonymous questionnaires — one version for active-duty personnel and Department of Navy civilian employees, and one for Navy spouses — are available at through July 31. Completing one takes about 15 to 20 minutes — or longer depending on how detailed participants make their answers, said Navy Cmdr. Kenneth Mays, CNFJ deputy inspector general. The survey allows comments in addition to multiple-choice answers.

Question examples, with answer choices ranging from “strongly agree” to “not applicable,” include:

My job affords me a reasonable amount of quality time with my family.Communication up and down the chain of command is effective.Military and civilian personnel work well together at my command.Local MWR activities and programs have a positive impact on my quality of life.“If they have issues, whether it’s good or whether it’s bad, the survey is their opportunity to say it,” Dove said.

At each installation, the inspectors also will hold focus-group meetings with servicemembers and Navy civilian employees. The randomly selected groups will include about 25 members of similar ranks and pay grades, divided between fleet and shore units.

“The goal is to talk to them about what their issues are without them having to worry about someone senior listening in,” Dove said.

Inspectors also will interview service providers about survey and focus group feedback. For example, “If they get a lot of feedback, either negative or positive, about housing, they may ask the housing manager, ‘How are things? What would you like help with?’” Dove said.

Sailors, Navy civilians and spouses also may request a private consultation with the Navy IG team, either in person or by phone. They should call the CNFJ IG office at DSN 243-7724 to make an appointment.

The inspectors will report their findings and recommendations, based on the survey and area visit, to the Chief of Naval Operations office.

“They are looking for patterns and trends, as well as things that are working really well,” Mays said.

Navy IG’s area visit dates

The Naval Inspector General team will conduct focus group meetings at Japan bases on the following dates as part of upcoming area visit to gauge quality of life on ship and on shore:

Okinawa: U.S. Naval Hospital Camp Lester and Fleet Activities Okinawa, Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

Sasebo Naval Base: Sept. 6-8.

Naval Air Facility Atsugi: Sept. 12-14.

Yokosuka Naval Base: Sept. 15-20.

At most bases, a second team of inspectors will interview service providers and program managers on separate dates, ending with Yokosuka Naval Base on Sept. 21-27.

— Jennifer H. Svan

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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