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The following correction to this story was posted Jan. 6, 2006: A Jan. 5 story should have said all military and civilian personnel and their family members at both Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and Sasebo Naval Base are required to attend new-arrival orientation sessions.

TOKYO — Only three Pacific U.S. military commands currently require family members to attend new-arrival orientation sessions.

Navy officials at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan and on Naval Base Guam require the training, as does the U.S. Marine Corps on Okinawa.

Officials at other bases said the training is recommended — not mandatory — for incoming families.

On Okinawa, Marines, sailors or civilian employees on accompanied orders must attend a 4½-hour orientation with any family members age 10 or older within two weeks of arrival. Free day care is provided for younger children.

Unaccompanied E-6s and above must attend the same class, coordinated by the Marine Corps Community Services Personal Services Center. Fourteen guest speakers address issues such as substance abuse counseling, community services and advocacy and Okinawa customs and culture.

The orientation is meant to prepare attendees for “an enjoyable and successful tour … and reduce misconduct and violations of the law,” according to Camp Butler spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Block.

Unaccompanied E-5s and below attend a two- to three-day course that includes additional information on the liberty policy, the Single Marine Program and appropriate civilian attire, officials said.

At Yokosuka Naval Base, outside Tokyo, all incoming military, civilian employees and adult family members must attend a four-day class at the Fleet and Family Support Center.

The Area Orientation Brief Intercultural Relations Class includes base indoctrination, driver’s safety, an introduction to the Japanese language and cultural awareness training — including how to navigate the train system and use Japanese money.

Day-care vouchers are offered for families with both parents attending the class, said Jennifer Chanthaphon, a family specialist with the Yokosuka program.

At Naval Base Guam, in-processing is required for stateside hires and their dependents as well as for local hires, according to base spokeswoman Coleen R. San Nicolas-Perez.

Although most bases don’t require families of civilian employees and active-duty servicemembers to attend such indoctrination, it is encouraged.

“Family members play a critical role in how the servicemember or employee adjusts to the new duty station,” said Roger L. Noyes, deputy of 18th Mission Support Squadron at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. “When family members receive the same information that the sponsor receives, they are better equipped to handle the tasks of in-processing.”


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