Actively Supporting the DoD Family Impacted by the Tragedy in Japan: Perspectives from the Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness)
The devastating events still unfolding in Japan – the impact of an 9.0 magnitude earthquake, a 10(+) meter tsunami, and ensuing nuclear power plant challenges – are almost unfathomable. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones in the devastation, and yet I can’t help but admire the resilience of the Japanese people, which leads to a strong hope in their ability to recover.
While this tragedy of epic proportion continues to unfold, the commitment to the safety and well-being of those we serve and support within the Department of Defense (active duty, guard and reserve, family members, retirees, and DoD civilians) remains our number one priority. To those stationed in Japan, we along with Ad. Willard and United States Pacific Command (PACOM), United States Forces Japan, and the respective Service Component Commanders are here to support you.
Our Personnel and Readiness team is fully engaged in supporting PACOM and the Services as they provide on-the-ground assistance to the people of Japan and take care of our personnel and families in and around the Japanese islands.
Some of our resources assisting in the effort include:
• Providing extensive beneficiary information to obtain health care and prescription drugs worldwide. (TRICARE Management Activity)
• Monitoring the air, water, and food on our installations, and developing a database of Service members and DoD civilian employees, their family members, and DoD contractors assigned in Japan. This database should allow DoD, if the need arises, to monitor and track returning individuals with possibly harmful levels of exposure.
• Working with the Military Services to ensure travel for family members who wish to leave the impacted area under the voluntary authorized departure order.
• Assisting at the embarkation and debarkation points with coordinating the continuation of educational needs for students (e.g. obtaining school records, transcripts providing information about registering students in stateside schools, and more). (Department of Defense Education Activity)
So where can our Defense family go for the latest, constantly changing, yet accurate information about authorized departures, DoD-covered travel expenses, medical care, radiation, and more? You should always use your local military chain of command, to include your local base/post/installation commander. In addition, several credible websites, social media sites, and phone numbers are out there where you can access accurate information. The sites include, but are not limited to:
Thank you for your continued Service to the Nation as we respond to these dynamic challenges across the world. Rest assured, the P&R team remains committed to providing the best support available to the Total Force.