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Fast Facts

MCIPAC & 1st MAW Hq Bldg. 1

Location:  MCB Camp S. D. Butler located 300 miles due south of mainland Japan on the island of Okinawa. Perhaps the most unique characteristic about Okinawa is that unlike most duty stations, MCB Camp Butler is physically separated throughout the island into a number of different camps. MCB Camp S. D. Butler includes: Camp Kinser; MCAS Futenma; Camp Foster; Camp Courtney; Camp Hansen; Camp Schwab; and Camp Gonsalves. Camp Butler's homepage. Welcome Aboard video website.

BRAC Status: No programmed changes.

Cost of Living:  Off-base costs in Japan tend to be high compared to stateside prices. Military members stationed in Japan receive a cost of living allowance (COLA) that helps make up for the falling dollar.

Base Operator: 011-81-98-911-5111/5112 or DSN 315-911-5111/5112.

Population: Total population Navy/Marine Corps, including military, civilian, family members and retirees, is 32,281:

  • 17,117 active duty
  • 9,741 family members
  • 4,415 civilian employees
  • 1,000 retirees

Area Population:  Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan, with a population of 1,389,400. The capital city, Nana, has a population of 318,000.

Child Care: The MCB Camp Butler Child Development Center program is DoD certified. There are three Child Development Centers, three School Age Programs, one Pre-school and Family Child Care is provided in all Marine Corps housing areas on Okinawa.

Schools: There are twelve DoD Dependent School on Okinawa:

  • Eight Elementary
  • Two Jr. High/Middle
  • Two High schools

Check out the DODDS Okinawa schools individual websites

Youth Services: Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) offers a variety of leisure time activities and programs for Youth and Teens on Okinawa. Call 011-81-98-970-2110.

Marine and Family Services: Marine and Family Services, 011-81-98-970-2104 / 011-81-98-970-2106 / 011-81-98-970-8395.

Housing: All Government Housing on Okinawa is managed by the Housing Office on Kadena AB. Satellite offices are located on Camp Courtney and Camp Kinser. Personnel assigned to Camps Hansen, Schwab, Courtney, or McTureous, White Beach should make appointments for on-base housing at Camp Courtney. Personnel assigned to MCAS Futenma, Camp Kinser, and Naha Port should report to Camp Kinser. Personnel assigned to all other areas on Okinawa should make appointments for on-base housing at the Kadena Housing Office, 011-81-98-970-0114 / (DSN) 315-634-0114.

If authorized to live off base you will find furnished and unfurnished apartments for short or long term basis. A basic set of furniture (and appliances for those residing off-base) is provided at no cost for members serving accompanies or command-sponsored tours. Note that Furniture is not provided for unaccompanied Marine Corps personnel authorized to reside off base.

Employment: Employment opportunities for military spouses and family members are limited on Okinawa. The best advice for the job seeker is to keep your options open, network and be persistent. The employment situation on base is considered fair for military spouses and family members. The situation off base is extremely limited, with most positions requiring bilingual ability. The majority of off base employment openings are as an English conversation instructor. Contact the Transition Assistance Management Program, 011-81-98-970-3151 / (DSN) 315-645-3151, for guidance and assistance in your job hunt.

Base Services:

Medical Services: The Naval Hospital Okinawa, with its main facility at Camp Foster, provides primary and family care, through a number of branch clinics on Camp S.D. Butler. It is very important to ensure that your family members enroll in TRICARE Pacific upon arrival. If your family members do not transfer their enrollment, they will revert to TRICARE Standard for their health care coverage 60 days after the report no later than date. To enroll, stop by the TRICARE Service Center and you will be provided information about the TRICARE Pacific program. The 3d Dental Battalion/U.S. Naval Dental Center, Okinawa provides comprehensive dental treatment to active duty, family members and all eligible beneficiaries. Our focus is to promote health and improve the quality of life through providing quality dental treatment to all eligible beneficiaries, while maintaining a high state of operational dental readiness.

Special Installation Messages:

Defense Service Network (DSN) Dialing Instructions

The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the DSN 312 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. The operator can be reached at commercial (719) 567-1110. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.

"Must know" for Marines coming to Japan

PCS Orders: Review the permanent change of station orders to ensure awareness and understanding of all applicable entitlements to include current household goods weight restrictions and allowances, military pay and allowances, local housing policies, Government of Japan pet importation regulations, and additional information as may be necessary on a case-by-case basis, immediately upon receipt.

Electronic Welcome Aboard Package: Access electronic Welcome Aboard package to obtain more information at: http://www.mccsokinawa.com/welcomeaboard/

Overseas Suitability Screening for Family Members: Upon receipt of PCS orders to Okinawa, service members with ACCOMPANIED orders must start the OSS process for ALL family members.

http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nhoki/Patients/OSS/Pages/default.aspx

Once the family member completes the OSS process and is found suitable to come to Okinawa, the paperwork must be submitted for area clearance approval.

Area Clearance/Dependent Entry Approval (REVISED SEPT 2013): Family members must have an approved area clearance/dependent entry approval before departing to Okinawa. Service member should not detach from the losing command until his/her family has received an approved area clearance message from MCB Butler.

Upon initial receipt of Permanent Change of Station Orders (PCSO) that directs a Marine and his/her family members to any Monitor Command Code (MCC) on Okinawa; the current Command will submit the request for Area Clearance approval.  Requests must be submitted via the Defense Messaging System (DMS) using the following Plain Language Address (PLA) to: CG MCB CAMP BUTLER JA//G-1A) per MCO P1000.6 (Series).

Naval personnel assigned with the Marine Corps on Okinawa will submit for Dependent Entry Approval via DMS to: PERSUPP DET OKINAWA KADENA JA//N-1// per the current editions of NMPCINST 4650.3 (Series) and MCO P1000.6 (Series). Additional information concerning Dependent Entry for Naval personnel maybe directed by calling DSN: 634-9337.

Area Clearance Points of Contact

  • Marines: IPAC Inbound Section, 645-4120
    Also handles green side Sailors
  • Navy: PCS Inbound, 634-6310/6316

Pets:  The process to bring a pet to Japan can be very extensive (6-9 months). We recommend that service members start this process as early as possible by visiting a Veterinary Facility (preferable on-base vet clinic, if available). All steps of the process must be completed in order to avoid delay. The pet process includes the following: 1) Microchip, 2) Vaccines, 3) Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) rabies blood test, 4) Quarantine, 5) Health Certificate, 6) Advanced Notification. There are a couple of websites that you can visit to obtain information about bringing your pets to Okinawa.

AMC flights will take pets and cages weighing a total of 150 lbs. However, space for pets is limited on AMC. If traveling commercially, pets with their cage weighing over a combined of 100 lbs will probably have to go cargo, which is much more expensive. If this situation applies to an inbound family, we recommend they research the cost flying their pet via cargo. As mentioned above, this option is a much costlier option.  They might be able to get a spot on AMC to come to Okinawa, but there is no guarantee that they will have a spot on AMC when they depart Okinawa, especially during the summer months.  Most airlines (other than AMC)  have severe restrictions regarding flying any pets during the summer months.  Please check with the airlines to find out what restrictions/regulations they have regarding flying pets.

Airlines may also have restrictions regarding flying short-nosed dogs (Shih-Tzus, Llaso Apso, Bulldogs, etc). Check with the airlines for regulations/restrictions/policies regarding short-nosed dogs before starting the process to bring a dog(s) to Okinawa. Most commercial airlines will not fly these dogs to Okinawa due to the high fatality rate.

Banned Dog Breeds:  According to AFI 32-6001_AFGM2 and MCBJO 10570.1, certain dog breeds are prohibited in all Military Family Housing (MFH) on Okinawa. In addition, the Memorandum for all MFH in Okinawa (http://www.housing.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120525-022.pdf) combines the restricted breeds and identifies them as follows: 

  • Pit Bull (full or mixed breed)
  • Canid-wolf hybrid (full or mixed breed)
  • Doberman Pincher (full or mixed breed)
  • Chow (full or mixed breed)

Please note, having one of these breeds is NOT justification to be granted permission to reside in off-base housing.

Military Family Houseing for Accompanied:  Eligible personnel (36 months accompanied tour) can submit an Advance Housing Application (Form DD 1746) to the Housing Management Office.  Newcomers must also report to the housing office within 2 days after arriving on island to receive the housing briefing and more information on their housing assignment. When visiting the Joint Housing Office, ensure copies of orders and Area Clearance/Dependent Entry Approval are brought to this appointment.

Members can submit the application (Form DD 1746) via email prior to their arrival along with a copy of their web orders to establish themselves in the housing waiting list database. A copy of their approved Area Clearance message will be required upon check-in. The Advance Housing Application (Form DD 1746) along with DoD Housing email addresses and phone numbers can be found at: http://www.housing.af.mil/okinawa/index.asp

Bachelor Quarters Mandatory Policy:  The MCIPAC Letter 2-12, signed April 30, 2012, states that bachelor and unaccompanied enlisted military service members in pay grades E-1 through E-7, Warrant Officers in pay grades WO-1 through CWO-3, and Officers in pay grades 0-1 through 0-3 shall be assigned to live in on-base bachelor housing/quarters.

In addition, this policy also states that Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) will NOT be paid to an unaccompanied military service member already drawing Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) for family members back in CONUS. This policy applies to ALL ranks, including senior enlisted and officers on unaccompanied tours to Okinawa, who are not subject to the mandatory Bachelor Quarter assignment policy discussed above.

Weight Restriction: 

  • Accompanied Marines are entitled to 2,500 pounds (net) or 25 % (net) of the Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR) weight allowance, whichever is greater, plus Unaccompanied Baggage (UB) transportation.
  • Unaccompanied Service Members are entitled to 10% of their JFTR allowance.
  • Neither the Distribution Management Office (DMO) nor the carriers are responsible for staying within this allowance. If a service member exceeds his/her allowance, the service member must pay all charges connected with the excess weight.
  • For any exceptions regarding this policy, contact or visit the nearest DMO Office.

Furnishings

Accompanied Marines - furniture and appliances will be provided for accompanied service members for the duration of their tour. Information about the items provided by the furnishings management office can be found at: http://www.housing.af.mil/okinawa/furnishingsmanagement/index.asp

Unaccompanied Marines Service Members - bachelor and unaccompanied enlisted military service members should not ship their household goods to Okinawa. There is no space at the bachelor quarters to accommodate furniture. If member is provided a Certificate of Non-Availability from the billeting office (BEQ/BOQ) and given the permission to reside off-base, the member can look for off-base housing that is already furnished. More information please call the Housing Management Office at DSN (315) 634-0582/0583.

Temporary Lodging Allowance(TLA) (REVISED SEPT 2013): Sponsors are responsible for making lodging reservations at government approved Temporary Lodging Facilities (TLF) for the inbound family to reside at awaiting assignment to military housing.  TLA is authorized to assist the service member in partially offsetting expenses incurred during the occupancy of temporary lodging.  There is no entitlement to TLA while in a travel status or once permanent quarters are occupied.

TLA is contingent upon

  • Marines MUST use a government TLF (i.e., WestPac, Courtney or Hansen Lodge) unless a Certificate of Non-Availability (CNA) is obtained stating that the facility closest to their place of work is not available for occupancy.
  • If the member chooses to stay at an off base TLF and does not provide a CNA from the on base TLF, then the member's lodging reimbursement under TLA will be limited to the government TLF rate, not the rate of the off base TLF. For a family consisting of one active duty member and three dependents, the cost is currently $125.00 per day for an on base facility and can be as much as $300.00 per day in an off- base TLF.
  • Upon arrival, Navy personnel should check with their personnel support detachment for current guidelines.

Pets (Dogs & Cats) are not allowed in any of the Marine Corps camps military lodging facilities, so personnel will be required to obtain lodging on the local economy. A Certificate of Non-Availability (CNA) will not be provided due to pets.

Single or unaccompanied service members are not entitled to TLA, unless the Billeting Office has issued a CNA.

Dual military couples without children on accompanied orders are not entitled to TLA and are required to live in Billeting until they get on/off-base housing.

If a service member arrives ahead of (or without dependents) he/she MUST reside in the BEQ/BOQ (Billeting).  They are NOT ENTITLED to TLA under these circumstances. If billeting is not available, a Certificate of Non-Availability (CNA) must be obtained from billeting office prior to occupying any temporary lodging facilities. Without the CNA, TLA will not be reimbursed.

Personnel accompanied by dependents must be prepared to pay $1250 to $3525 for temporary lodging and subsistence for the initial 10-day period. Personnel are eligible for TLA to offset costs until private or government quarters are obtained. TLA is paid based on the number of days temporary lodging is required and will be reimbursed in 10 day increments. Personnel assigned to Okinawa will not normally be authorized more than 30 days of TLA.

Advance payment of TLA is authorized and encouraged for personnel who may require temporary lodging. Advances may be requested prior to and immediately after arrival on Okinawa. The TLA payment process normally takes between 5-7 business days and payments will be made directly to the service member's direct deposit account. Personnel are required to pay the full amount of their final TLF bill upon check out. Therefore, requesting advance TLA is highly encouraged if adequate funds to pay the bill are not available.

TLA CLAIM: PAC is seeing an increase in service members being denied compensation for traveling costs due to noncompliance of travel instructions specified on their orders. We recommend all inbound service members to review their travel orders thoroughly and plan their leave and travel arrangements accordingly. In addition, please read the Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) information located at the Welcome Aboard Package at: http://www.mccsokinawa.com/mccs%20wireframes/mccs_subx2-0img.aspx?pageid=2147488347.When booking temporarily lodging through MCCS Tours Plus, due to non-availability of on-base lodging, accompanied service members must request an itemized receipt, pay in full and receive a zero balance receipt in order to receive/qualify for reimbursement.

For more information or assistance, please contact MCCS Tours Plus at DSN: (315) 645-8500.

Newcomers' Orientation Welcome Aboard Brief

NOWA is mandatory in accordance with MCBJO 1754.1D. Attendance at NOWA must be confirmed prior to the MCB Safety Office issuing the SOFA POV Drivers' Licence (USFJ-4). To sign up for Newcomers' Orientation or to get more information, call 645-8395/9626/7494. NOWA is held every Wednesday from 0720-1400.

  • NOWA attendees must bring at least 2 copies of PCS orders and 2 copies of area clearance/dependent entry approval.
  • Civilian attire is appropriate to attend NOWA.
  • FREE bus transportation is available, but must be reserved/requested when registering for NOWA.
  • FREE childcare is available on a very limited space-available basis.  Please contact the CYTP Resource and Referral Office (Bldg 495, Camp Foster) at DSN (315) 645- 4117 for child care reservations. There is a child care package that must be completed prior to NOWA which can be picked up at CYTP Resource and Referral. Childcare is provided at the Child Development Center/School Age Care. For full time care, please visit http://www.mccsokinawa.com and click on the CYTP registration link.
  • Important Note Regarding TRICARE Enrollment: To enroll in TRICARE at NOWA, each service member must have the TRICARE enrollment form (provided during NOWA) filled out and signed, and turn it into the TRICARE representative along with one copy each of their Approved Area Clearance Message and PCS Orders. If the newcomer does not bring copies of these documents to NOWA, the newcomer can complete the enrollment process within 30 days of arrival at the U. S. Naval Hospital (Camp Foster) or 18 Medical Group (Kadena AB) TRICARE offices.

Contracts (Cell Phones):  Cellular Phone companies in Japan have an AUTOMATIC Two year renewal contract, which means the existing or current two year contract, will automatically be renewed on its expiration date, unless otherwise communicated with the cell phone provider. Most of Japanese Cell Phone companies DO NOT have a "Military Clause", which cancels contract/penalties due to military orders/deployment. Because of this, the service member might end up paying a very costly penalty for canceling his/her contract before the 2 year contract is complete. Because of the automatic two year contract renewal, service members leaving after a normal three year tour might be subjected to costly cancellation and penalty fees. Please talk with to your cell phone provider on Okinawa to find out if the company has other options such as monthly and pre-paid agreements. Service members must also ensure they completely cancel their contacts before leaving Okinawa. Again, as with any contract, all service members should thoroughly read and fully understand their contracts before signing them.

DoDDS Schools: Online pre-registration is now available for all Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools (DoDDS OVERSEAS AND DDESS STATESIDE). The online student pre-registration system is available for use at: https://registration.dodea.edu/.  All DoDEA registration forms listed above are available online at http://www.okinawa.pac.dodea.edu.

***Note: Pre-registration does not mean the child is registered for school yet. Registration must be completed in-person at the school after arrival on-island.***

Before accepting housing, visit the DoDDS Okinawa Transportation website to confirm availability of school bus service in the area the service member is considering living in and to find out which school the child will attend. Go to http://www.okinawa.pac.dodea.edu/transportation.html, scroll to bottom of page for the school zone map/information.

Operators Permit for Civilian Vehicles (Drivers License):  Ensure prior to departing from the states, your state issues drivers' license is valid and in good standing. If you think you have a military exemption allowing your drivers license to be valid passed expiration, contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to confirm that is the case.

The study guide for the licensing exam can be found on the MCCS welcome aboard website.

Explore the links to the left for in-depth information.

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