Sunday, April 03, 2011

Family Matters Blog: DOD Supports Families Departing Japan

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2011 – Robert L. Gordon III is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. In this blog, Mr. Gordon urges families who voluntary departed from Japan to stay in touch with their service so they have access to timely information and support.

By Robert L. Gordon III
Military Community and Family Policy
April 1, 2011

Earlier today, Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, wrote a blog post about the comprehensive support effort under way in response to the recent devastating events in Japan. Supporting an effort of this magnitude takes many hands across personnel and readiness.

As I write this post, your team in military community and family policy  is specifically focused on taking care of our military families who have voluntarily returned from Japan to designated alternate locations or their ultimate destinations. We expect that many more will depart in the coming days.

I want to assure all families everywhere that your military community and family policy team is focused on two things during this time of uncertainty: staying connected with you and ensuring your basic needs are met.

The impact on our Defense Department schools in Japan and our military students is a key concern. The Department of Defense Education Activity website is an outstanding ready resource that can help answer many questions, including issues involving voluntary departures, education records and school closures. Please be sure to pass this information on to those who may not know about it.

The staff at DODEA also has set up a crisis information center, available around the clock, to provide help when you need it.

Perhaps the most important thing for our displaced families is to stay in touch with your service. We can provide critical information or help with needed resources only if we can find you.

Remember that online accountability systems are currently “live” for each branch of the service to account for, manage, and monitor members and families impacted by the events in Japan.

Please update your contact and location information at the following websites:

-- For Navy and Marine Corps military, civilians, overseas contractors and families, go to the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System.

--  Air Force civilian employees, nonappropriated fund employees, overseas contractors and families, go to the Air Force Personnel Accountability and Assessment System.

-- For Army military, Department of the Army civilian, NAF employees, overseas contractors and families, go to the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System.

These sites also will allow you to identify your needs, and a case manager will be assigned to provide you with personal assistance. More importantly, your assigned case manager will stay with you as long as you’re away from home station and can continue to assist you, even as your needs change.

I strongly encourage you to continue following your command or installation website and social media pages, even if you've already returned to the States or your preferred final destination outside of Japan. This will allow you to stayed plugged in to your friends, neighbors and your local leadership.

Finally, Military OneSource has a Japan Earthquake and Tsunami page, and we have added a section dedicated to information for returnees.

These are challenging times, and having reliable and useful information is critical to helping us all band together and stay strong. As a result, I will be providing routine updates to this blog with the most up-to-date information that I have to ensure that you are informed. Until then, be sure to take care of one another. Thank you all.

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