Iwakuni telling newcomers to leave big items back in the States
August 11, 2006
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Leave the sectional couches, king-size beds and dining-room suites behind: People moving to storage-scarce Iwakuni from the States no longer can bring their full entitlement of weight for household goods shipments.
In the past, people moving to Iwakuni could bring their full weight entitlement during permanent changes of station, enough for large, American-sized items.
But starting in spring, the limit was lowered to 75 percent of the allowance, the same as most Navy bases in Japan, according to Iwakuni housing officer Sue Kear.
It’s still far more than what’s allowed at some other locations: Okinawa allows just 25 percent of the entitlement and Yokota Air Base just 50 percent, said Gunnery Sgt. Louis Rodriguez, traffic chief for Iwakuni’s Traffic Management Office.
Entitlements are set based on rank and family size — regardless of service branch — in the Joint Federal Travel Regulations register.
But local authorities can limit those amounts in places where, for example, storage space is limited but furniture is available to borrow.
Iwakuni limits less than other bases since it doesn’t have furniture to loan, except briefly while people await their housing shipments. But station leaders found people were bringing far more than base housing realistically could accommodate.
“People were bringing too much stuff,” Rodriguez said. “There’s no storage entitlement here.”
According to Kear, families with large or too many pieces were forced to sell their items or cram them into rooms.
To redress the problem, base leaders limited the allowance to encourage people to leave more in stateside storage.
People can store up to their full weight entitlements, even when they can ship only a lower percentage.
So, for an E-6 with dependents, the entitlement might be 11,000 pounds.
They now can bring only 75 percent of that, or 8,250 pounds, to Iwakuni. But they can store the remaining 25 percent for free.
The change doesn’t affect people leaving Iwakuni: “Whatever they brought here they can ship home,” he said.
And it doesn’t affect unaccompanied baggage, the faster shipments for essential living items, which doesn’t count toward the total, Rodriguez said.
He said many people bring far less than their allowance anyway, especially after viewing the size of housing online.
The change doesn’t apply to division commanders, the command sergeant major or the base commander since they rate large houses with plenty of storage, Rodriguez said.