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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — By the beginning of next year, Marines and their families planning a transfer to the Pacific might be able to connect with their new base community with the click of a mouse.

Marine Corps Forces Pacific is testing a program that extends its family readiness groups — a longtime center of base life — into the virtual world of the Internet.

The program could provide websites for Marine commands from California to Okinawa where users could ask questions, find help and hold forums, said Col. Brian Mace, head of public affairs for Marine Corps Forces Pacific in Hawaii.

The family readiness sites all would be based on a single template and be designed as a uniform tool to help those families moving to new duty stations, Mace said.

“When they get to the next command, and they log into that website, it looks almost exactly” like the sites for other bases, he said, adding that they’ve been working on the program for the past six months. “We are trying to make it seamless.”

The Army already has a system of virtual family readiness groups, and that system is being used as a guide by the Marine Corps, Mace said.

Testing of the sites will begin around the beginning of November at 20 units in California, Mace said.

The public will not be involved in testing. Instead, family readiness officers from the Pacific will pose as public users to test out the system and discover any bugs.

If all goes as expected, the system of sites is expected to roll out to the public across all the Pacific at the beginning of the year, Mace said.

Marines and families will be able to access individual command family readiness groups through the Marine Corps Forces Pacific home page, he said.

trittent@pstripes.osd.mil

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