Congratulations on your assignment to USS STETHEM (DDG 63) and the Forward Deployed Naval Forces.
STETHEM is the thirteenth ship of the ARLEIGH BURKE Class of guided missile destroyers, and the first ship named in honor of Steelworker Second Class Robert Dean Stethem, USN. Commissioned in 1995, STETHEM is homeported in Yokosuka, Japan; the front line of our Naval Forces in the Pacific.
Duty on an AEGIS destroyer is certainly one of the most challenging Fleet assignments. STETHEM’s systems are complex, the tasks challenging, and our responsibilities are vast. From your first day in STETHEM, you will be considered the expert in your area of responsibility – every STEELWORKER is a key member of our fighting team.
Hopefully, by now you have been contacted by your assigned sponsor and they are assisting you and your family with your transition to Japan. If for some reason this is not the case please make contact us so that we can remedy that situation as soon as possible.
Again, welcome to STETHEM. You can take great pride in your assignment. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!
Very good checklists can be found at your local Family Service Center Relocation Office. These are usually the best source of information to make your move as painless as possible. However, this page may serve to remind you of some of the important items that are sometimes overlooked. Have you...
- received your orders?
- completed overseas screening for yourself and your family members?
- obligated service for the duration of your new assignment?
- received a signed transfer evaluation and filed it in your service record?
- notified your sponsor of flight information? Arranged ground transportation?
- obtained a passport? It is not required, but highly recommended that all military members get a tourist passport prior to departing the United States. Active duty military are not eligible for a "no-fee" passport, but their family members are -- ensure they have one! A passport makes it easier and quicker to depart some of the various countries we visit. You never know when you will be required to return to homeport or the U.S. to attend a school or go TAD.
If your family members will accompany you to Japan, the following actions will help create a smooth transition and tour:
- Complete all of the above military assignment issues.
- Visit the Personal Property Office as soon as you get your orders. Arranging your pack out in a timely manner eliminates much of the stress caused by moving.
Plan for the day of your move! Do you need it? If not, can you throw it away or place it in storage or will you take it with you? The local Personal Property Office can assist you with placing items in storage. This should be taken care of at least 2 weeks prior to arrival of the movers.
Keep your important documents (birth certificates, passports, orders, medications, insurance, etc.) separate. If possible, keep them locked in your car trunk during the pack out so they don't get accidentally packed. You should, at a minimum, keep the following items with you prior to AND during transit to your new command:
- PCS orders.
- All military records.
- Address Book.
- Moving documents.
- Household valuables inventory.
Complete a Change of Address card at the local post office. You can also fill this out on-line at www.usps.gov/movers net. Remember, this changes your address at the post office, not with whomever is sending you mail. You must notify individuals, companies, and any magazines you have subscriptions with separately. Most companies, including magazines, have a toll-free number you may call to change your delivery address.
Provide all relatives remaining in the United States (spouse, parents, etc.) with a copy of your PCS orders to Japan. If there is an emergency requiring them to contact the American Red Cross (ARC), your orders will allow the ARC to quickly determine your location and contact you.
Make arrangements to cancel utility services and pay final bills. Most utility companies will forward a final statement and receipt of payment to your new address if you ask. Ensure you take care of ALL of the following, as necessary:
- Water company
- Electric company
- Natural gas company
- Trash/waste services
- Telephone (including cellular phones)
- Any Maintenance related fees you may have incurred
As soon as you know your flight information, make temporary lodging arrangements for the new location. You can call 1-800-NAVY-INN to make reservations for the NAVY LODGE, or you may call the Yokosuka Navy Lodge directly at 011-81-3117-43-6708 or DSN 243-6708. Pets are not allowed at this facility. You may make reservations for your pet at the Yokosuka Kennel, 011-81-3117-43-4530 or DSN 243-4530.
And of course, ensure you sponsor is aware of your arrival date. They can also confirm temporary lodging, ground transportation, pet reservations, etc.
If arriving via COMMERCIAL AIR at Narita/New Tokyo International Airport:
NOTE: The following directions are based on arrival at Airport Terminal One. That is the terminal from which the Yokosuka-bound buses depart. If you arrive at Terminal Two, take the free Terminal Connection Bus to Terminal One from bus stops number 8 or 18 outside the arrival lobby. These buses are yellow with green stripes, and are clearly marked in English. When you get off the terminal connection bus at Terminal One, find the Military Passenger Liaison Counter, described below, in the central section of the building.
After you get off the plane, follow the signs to the Arriving Passenger area. Walk past the Medical/Quarantine desk (if you have pets, stop here and ask for assistance.) Continue around to the immigration area. Stand behind one of the lines marked Foreign Passports (you may have to wait in a long single line; if so, an agent will tell you which window to approach.) Be sure to complete the immigration paperwork that was given to you on the plane BEFORE you get into the passport/immigration line. It will save you some time.
Present your passport and/or ID card, and your completed paperwork, to the immigration officer behind the desk. You may also be asked to show your orders. The officer will staple one part of your immigration card inside your passport. This part of the card will be filled out and surrendered when you leave Japan.
Make sure the officer stamps your passport (and your family members' passports) with the CORRECT entry stamp. The small square stamp clearly states:
Status of Forces Agreement
This mark is then over-stamped with the immigration officer's date stamp.
With your stamped paperwork, proceed through the gate and down the stairs to the baggage claim area. Pick up your luggage and proceed to one of the long counters marked "Non-Resident" for Customs inspection.
After completing Japanese Immigration and Customs formalities, exit into the arrival lobby (remember, this is based on arrival at Terminal One). Turn right (regardless of the exit from Customs) and walk along the main lobby corridor. You will see a small coffee/snack stand on the left at the end of the main lobby. Just past this "cafe" you will enter the next section of the terminal. An overhead sign marked “Central Building” indicates you’re headed in the right direction.
At the far end of the Central Building, at the far end of the long counter on your left, you will find the OFFICIAL DOD TRANSPORTATION Liaison Desk. A small sign will identify this desk. The liaison on duty occasionally escorts groups to the military buses in the parking area, so don't worry if no one is at the desk. Signs at the desk will explain departure times to the various bases in the area and the location of the parking area. A phone is available to contact your duty station or SPONSOR. A phone number list for each base/operator is also available.
If you have made arrangements to be met at the airport (VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED), either by your SPONSOR or a command representative, this DOD Liaison counter is a convenient place to meet. The exit door to the street and buses is nearby. Make arrangements with the liaison (usually a US civilian) for bus transportation to Yokosuka Naval Base. The liaison will escort all passengers to the correct vehicle prior to departure. The liaison on duty represents all branches of the military services
NOTE: If you are not being met at Narita Airport by your sponsor, use of the government-provided bus is mandated for transportation to Yokosuka Navy Base for military and DoD civilian personnel, and their family members, who are traveling on any type of official orders. Unauthorized use of commercial transportation, except under extreme circumstances, may result in no reimbursement when filing a subsequent travel claim.
NOTE: The Military Passenger Liaison Counter is very small, not very well marked, and has a tendency to move around from time to time. Keep your eyes open and concentrate on finding it. You can look around the airport later. It has been set up this way for good reasons: OPSEC and personnel safety. Think about it; you're not in Kansas any more.
NOTE: Regardless of what might be written in your orders, the military transportation liaison IS NOT located at the Northwest Airlines information counter in the main lobby. Re-read the 5th and 4th paragraphs above to be sure you can find the military transportation desk.
PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY: NORMALLY, the Navy buses to Yokosuka are scheduled to depart the parking area near Narita Terminal One at the following times daily: 1500, 1730 and 1900. These are coach buses with a maximum seating capacity of 41 passengers. The Narita shuttle buses run 365 days a year.
In the event that Yokosuka Base is placed in a HEIGHTENED FORCE PROTECTION status, government transportation to Yokosuka MAY BE CHANGED, LIMITED, or SECURED altogether.
Military personnel under orders, family members included, may be the only persons eligible for seating in whatever forms of official transportation may be provided under such conditions. Reservations would be strongly encouraged. However, if no reservations are listed on the driver's manifest, seats might be given on a first-come-first-served basis. Luggage space might also be severely limited under such conditions. Oversized luggage might not be permitted. There is also the possibility that passengers might need to provide two types of photo ID, one of which MUST be a Military Identification Card.
Just as an example of how things could change in an extreme circumstance, you can imagine how fast those seats would go in the event of vans only instead of buses. That is why it is IMPERATIVE that you acquire and maintain contact with an effective SPONSOR from your gaining command.
There is a charge to utilize government bus transportation from Narita to Yokosuka, for personnel under orders only (including TAD orders.) This charge DOES NOT come out of your pocket; it is charged against your orders. MAKE SURE you have an extra copy of your orders to give to the transportation liaison person on duty, or the van driver, if necessary. The actual amount charged against your orders is currently $29 per person.
Once again, personnel (and family members) under PCS, TAD or other official orders have priority for seating on the scheduled government transportation, and are expected to use either the scheduled buses/vans or transportation provided by their gaining command in lieu of public transportation (trains, etc.) Personnel traveling under official orders might not be reimbursed for use of public transportation from the airport, unless authorized by their gaining command. We cannot stress this enough.
Space available passengers do not have to pay the transportation charge out of pocket to ride the airport bus, but neither are they guaranteed a seat.
You or your SPONSOR can (and SHOULD!) make advance reservations for the shuttle bus/van to the base. See the individual listings in the INSTALLATION: Transportation section or the RELOCATION SERVICES: PCS Reporting Procedures section for details on the variety of ways you can make reservations for the bus or van.
PETS MAY NOT be brought aboard the Navy shuttle buses/vans. If you will be arriving with your pet(s), you will need to coordinate with your SPONSOR at your gaining command for alternate transportation.
In the event that you are not able to use the mandated scheduled transportation for some legitimate reason, and if your SPONSOR or a command representative does not meet you at the airport, you may have to take commercial (public) transportation to the base. BEFORE you do that, contact a person in authority at your gaining command, or at TPU if your afloat unit is at sea, for proper authorization. Be sure to get the person's name, rate/rank, phone number, and note the date and time of the call. Directions for "Narita To Yokosuka By Train" are provided in the TRANSPORTATION topic of this section of the Yokosuka SITES guide. Pets are not permitted on public transportation.
There are changing rooms and American-style restrooms available in the airport terminal. There is also an observation deck, a convenience store and a variety of Japanese and "Western" fast food shops and sit-down restaurants in the mall area of the Central Building of Terminal One. All shops and services in Narita Airport terminal buildings require payment in Japanese currency (Yen). There is a currency exchange on the first floor of Terminal One in the arrival lobby. There is another currency exchange in the departure area on the third floor. DO NOT use any ATM machines that are not connected with the Plus System.
The bus ride from Narita to Yokosuka takes about two hours if there is no traffic. Upon arrival at Yokosuka Base, the bus driver is authorized to drop off passengers only at PSD (Bldg. 1555) and the Navy Lodge. Arriving passengers who do not have Navy Lodge reservations in advance (see next item below) should get off the bus at PSD. If your SPONSOR cannot meet you at the airport, PSD is a very convenient place to be met.
Money & Allowances:
There are many overseas allowances made especially for both overseas and deploying personnel. Below is a listing, and explanation, of the various allowances.
Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA)
COLA is an allowance given to members who reside in high-cost areas. The purpose of COLA is to offset the cost of purchasing some goods off-base on the local economy. Based on pay grade and number of family members, it ranges in amounts from $150.00 to several hundred dollars a month. Here is a COLA calculator that will calculate the amount of your COLA based on the current yen rate. You will need to know the COLA location for this to work, and for Yokosuka, Japan it is JA061.
Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA)
OHA is similar to the stateside Variable Housing Allowance (VHA) or Bachelor's Allowance for Housing (BAH). Based upon the amount of rent stated in your local rent agreement, this allowance covers 100% of your rent up to, but not exceeding, your OHA ceiling. Here is an OHA calculator that will display the ceiling for your pay grade. Again, our location is code JA061.
Move In Housing Allowance (MIHA)
MIHA is an one time only allowance that is used to offset the cost of initial housing expenses. MIHA is usually equal to two months rent, plus a small consumption tax, for your new residence and is combined with advance OHA for use as your rental deposit.
NOTE: Japanese rental agencies
usually require 4 months rent prior to allowing you to occupy rental quarters. 2 months of this is MIHA (which is not paid back to the Navy), and the other 2 months is advance OHA which you must pay back over a period of 12 months.
NOTE: Geographical Bachelor's
(i.e. members with family who elect to complete their tour onboard "unaccompanied") are not authorized to draw MIHA or OHA. If they elect to live off the ship, there is no monetary entitlement and all expenses, including rent, are "out of pocket." Single personnel (i.e. no family members) are authorized MIHA/OHA, but election to reside off-ship must be made within 60 days of arrival. After 60 days, single personnel are no longer entitled to MIHA without the Commanding Officer's approval.
Family Separation Allowance (FSA)
FSA is an allowance paid to married active duty members who are required to be separated from their families. While assigned to STETHEM, family members will draw an additional $100.00 per month FSA for every at sea period that exceeds 30 days. E-3 and below personnel, whom are prohibited from bringing their family members due to assignment policies, are authorized FSA for the entire period of their tour, regardless of whether we are in port or at sea.
Career Sea Pay (CSP)
All members of STETHEM are authorized sea pay for the duration of their underway periods. Based on years of sea duty performed, this allowance varies and starts once underway.
Career Sea Pay Premium (CSPP)
CSPP is paid to all members, E5 and above, who have exceeded 36 months, consecutive sea duty, but less than 5 years TOTAL sea duty. E4 members are authorized this allowance and continue to draw CSPP until they detach (i.e. the 5 year total sea duty rule does not apply to E4 personnel). CSPP is equal to an additional $100.00 per month as well as Career Sea Pay.
Dislocation allowance (DLA)
DLA is paid to any active duty member, with family members, who move their household due to a permanent change of station. This allowance can be drawn in advance prior to detachment from the last command. If it is not paid in advance, it is automatically paid during liquidation of the final travel claim upon reporting. DLA rates are based on pay grade.
Make the Yokosuka Housing Welcome Center one of your first stops after arriving in Japan. Come in to pick up application forms for housing or, if you mailed applications in advance, confirm the housing office received them and your name is on the housing list. We would like to be able to offer on base Military Family Housing when you arrive, but in most categories the wait is about two years to move on base at Yokosuka. For some senior enlisted, the wait is now over two years. The waiting times are subject to change due to demolition and reconstruction of our oldest wood-frame housing. For Yokohama, the wait can be significantly less, but come prepared to live on the economy in Japan.
The housing market in Yokosuka is tight and prices are high due to the growth of demand for housing in the nearby Tokyo/Yokohama housing market. The Navy provides housing allowances and a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to help.
A key factor in your satisfaction with living in Japan is the expectations you bring. Don't expect to find an American-style home with a two-car garage and a large yard. This is a different country, with a different history, culture, customs and economy. Housing is different here.
Another critical factor in your ability to settle in here is the Navy's sponsorship program. A good sponsor makes the difference between a smooth transition into Japan and a painful ordeal. Write your new command and request a sponsor. Make contact with that person early in planning your move. A sponsor's firsthand knowledge will help you plan what to bring or store.
American newcomers are often shocked by their first look at available rental houses. Expect to see small houses averaging 830 square feet or less for a two-bedroom unit. They are built with unfamiliar materials like tatami (straw mat) floors, and with unfamiliar appliances, or no appliance at all (we provide stoves, washers and refrigerators). Older homes may have all tatami floors. Newer homes have only one or two tatami rooms; the rest are carpet or hardwood. Some homes have no tatami. Insulation is minimal. There are also apartment complexes you may choose.
The standard bedroom size is six tatami, about nine feet by eleven feet. A "large master bedroom" is eight tatami, or eleven by eleven. Houses have narrow halls and narrower staircases (one meter wide). Doors are narrower and lower, about six feet from floor td top. King size mattresses will not fit in the upstairs of every building. You can find housing where large beds and other large furniture will fit; however it may take some searching. Dining rooms are often just one end of a living room. The Welcome Center provides Japanese washing machines, American refrigerators and gas ranges for use while you are off base. We can also provide temporary furniture on a loan basis (not to exceed ninety days) until your furniture arrives. Closets in bedrooms seldom have bars to hang clothes. Some are divided into upper and lower selections with no place to hang long dresses or coats. Bring a freestanding wardrobe or clothes rack or buy them here. Storage inside the house or outside may be limited or non-existent. There is usually no attic or basement and no garage. There may be a simple shed under which to park the car. Yards are often small or non-existent. Bring only the minimum necessary furniture and ask your sponsor for advice.
Few houses have central heat or central air conditioning. Be prepared to buy portable heaters (natural gas, propane, kerosene, or electric), and you may want to buy small 110-volt window-type air conditioners (usually available in the Navy Exchange). Few houses are wired for a 220-volt window unit, and most have limited electrical capacity. Running two air conditioners at the same time may be electrically impossible.
In order to register your children) in school, you will need to provide the following documentation:
For Military Sponsors:
Copy of current orders
Copy of Dependent Entry Approval or letter of Command Sponsorship
For DoD Civilian Sponsors:
Copy of DD form 1614
If dependents are not listed on the orders, verification of sponsorship from HRO must be provided.
In addition to the above documents, the following must also be provided by all sponsors:
Student's passport or a copy of birth certificate
Student's social security number
Records from former school or former school name and address
Physical examination by the doctor for ALL entering Sure Start and Kindergarten. You can obtain this by making an appointment with your pediatric doctor.
DoD immunization verification form. You can obtain this from the Immunization Clinic, YELLOW SHOT CARD and COPIES of child's medical records will not be accepted.
A student without verification of adequate immunizations will not be allowed to register or attend school until documentation is provided.
Kinnick High School
PSC 473 Box 95
FPO AP 96349
Yokosuka Middle School
PSC 473 Box 95
FPO AP 96349
Sullivan's Elementary School
PSC 473 Box 95
FPO AP 96349
The United States Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan is standing by and ready to assist you in all of your medical needs. Location - USNH Yokosuka is located on San Diego Street, across from the Officer's Club and next to PSD. Who is eligible for hospital care? - Active duty, family members of active duty, retired military, family members of retired military, and DoD civilians with a current insurance plan. Retirees and DoD civilians are seen on a space-available only basis. Who is eligible for TRICARE? - Active duty are automatically enrolled into TRICARE Prime. Active duty family members can choose to enroll into TRICARE Prime. Family members not enrolled into TRICARE Prime are eligible for benefits provided under TRICARE Standard. TRICARE Standard benefits include space-available care at the Naval Hospital and cost shares for care received off-base. Secondary dependents are eligible for space-available hospital care only and are not TRICARE eligible, and must have medical insurance for care received in Japanese hospitals. For questions about TRICARE, please feel free to call the TRICARE Service Center at DSN 315-243-9528 -or- Commercial 011-81-6160-43-9528.
Check-In Procedures - Check-in procedures for USNH Yokosuka and USNDC Yokosuka have been consolidated into the Put Prevention Into Practice (PPIP) office, located in Building E-22, Room 106. You will need to call 243-7964 or 243-8980 and make an appointment to check in. At this check-in, you will submit both your medical and dental records, enroll in TRICARE Prime, complete the Health Enrollment Assessment Review (HEAR) questionnaire, receive health screening, immunizations and health counseling. Active duty members assigned to ships will check-in through your ship's medical departments. All others (shore active duty and family members) will check-in through PPIP.
Central Appointments - Appointments with your primary care manager can be made through the central appointments office. If you need to make an appointment, please call DSN 315-243-5352. Health Care Information Line (HCIL) - You can call the Health Care Information Line at 0053-111-4621 for 24-hour access to a registered nurse, or access to the Audio Health Library, where you can listen to information on more than 500 health topics.
Specialty Care - USNH is the second largest military hospital in the Western Pacific, offering a range of specialties. We are not a major medical center, however, so we often use Japanese hospitals for specialty care and diagnostic testing. Patients are also transferred to other military treatment facilities via the aero medical evacuation system (MEDEVAC). Common destinations include USNH Okinawa, Tripler Army Medical Center, and Naval Medical Center, San Diego. Family members must have current passports at all time and non-U.S. passport holders must be prepared to acquire visas for entry into the United States or stop-over locations such as Osan Air Base, South Korea.
Health Promotion Department - This department promotes the voluntary adoption of positive lifestyle and behavioral changes through awareness, education, and intervention strategies. Available classes include: tobacco cessation, stress management, cholesterol awareness, weight management and commissary tour. General military training is offered over 12 different wellness topics. Facilitator training programs are also offered to command health promotion coordinators of fleet and shore commands. Call DSN 315-243-2615 -or- Commercial 011-81-6160-43-2615 for details.
Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) - EFMP is a quality of life program (OPNAVINST 1754.2) designed to identify family members with long term health care or special education needs. EFMP ensures that active duty members will be assigned to locations where the special needs of the family will be met. Enrollment is mandatory. For more information contact your command EFMP point of contact. At USNH Yokosuka call DSN 315-243-5279 -or- Commercial 011-81-6160-43-5279.
USNH Yokosuka Web Page - The website contains all of the information listed above and much more. The URL is www.nhyoko.med.navy.mil.
Important Phone Numbers DSN Commercial
|Consolidated Check-In at Put Prevention Into Practice (PPIP)
|TRICARE Service Center
|Hospital Information Desk (24-hour)
|Hospital Central Appointments
|Health Care Information Line