YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — For a kid who went from the top of the heap to the bottom, Nahjee Maybin has few complaints.

The war in Iraq uprooted Nahjee and his family from Turkey, where he attended Incirlik Elementary School, a Department of Defense Dependents School on Incirlik Air Base.

Nahjee, his mother and two sisters left the country March 23, leaving behind father and husband Tech. Sgt. Lionel Maybin.

Nahjee’s Japanese mother has family in Tachikawa, so they moved into temporary base housing at Yokota. They plan to return to Turkey this summer.

At Yokota’s sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, sixth-grader Nahjee is among the youngest pupils.

“In elementary school, we were the oldest,” he said.

But the transition wasn’t so bad: “Making friends was easy,” said the 11-year-old.

More difficult, in the beginning, was a school day extended by 45 minutes with more classes, which meant more homework.

“I used to go home and take naps,” Nahjee said.

His younger sisters are enrolled at Yokota East Elementary School.

The Maybins are among a handful of pupils who transferred to DODDS-Pacific in Japan and South Korea because of the war. Six pupils who voluntarily evacuated from Bahrain and attended Seoul-area schools have returned to school in Bahrain, according to a DODDS-Pacific spokeswoman.

Of the eight children who transferred to Yokota- and Yokosuka-area schools, only the Maybin children remain.

DODDS can enroll pupils on a space-available basis when their parents are not assigned to the local base, said Barb Seale, YMS registrar. Non-U.S. citizens must pay tuition.

Seale helped the new pupils from the Middle East schools with more than just enrollment: She arranged for Nahjee’s mother to sign up for billeting and set up a post office box.

author picture
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.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now