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USS George Washington families had Yokosuka addresses before they left the States. Some saw pictures and knew their kitchen window view before they even packed their suitcases.

Yokosuka’s housing office and the aircraft carrier teamed up to place families in homes before they moved — both to lessen families’ time in limbo and to reduce stress on the base, as a massive influx of people poured in.

As of Sept. 9, 241 families had arrived in Japan, with children and pets in tow. "We picked up 15 families on the same day," said Lt. Manuel Aranda, who headed up the ship’s advance detachment. That day was July 16, the day after Yokosuka officially became the George Washington’s new home, he said.

But through the housing program, everyone was ready.

Here’s how it worked: The process started last year when the housing office conducted a briefing with George Washington families in Virginia and passed out housing applications, said Chief Petty Officer Ferdinand Quinto.

Through the carrier’s administration office, a guideline was conceived — housing placement first, plane ticket to Japan second, Quinto said. This way, families reserved their tickets once housing became available, reducing the time they would spend living in the base’s Navy Lodge, waiting for available housing. The ship’s advance detachment at Patriot’s Landing then helped with the logistics, including airport pick-up and getting welcome packets and linens for the new arrivals.

Base commander Capt. Daniel Weed called the program "wildly successful."

"The average stay time in the Navy Lodge has been 8.4 days," Weed said. "This is much better than in the past."

And the key to the program, according to Weed, was demographics.

"We were able to find out exactly who was coming over and get them in the right spot," Weed said.


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