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vb315

Any Navy Medical Ever stationed in Iwakuni, Japan?

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Hi All,

I'm an Active Duty Collegiate under Navy HSCP, graduating PA school in May. I haven't received official orders yet, but I'm currently "penciled in" for Branch Clinic, Iwakuni Japan (after ODS, of course). Another option I was given was 1st Medical Battalion, Camp Pendleton, CA.

I would love to serve with a Marine Corps unit, but I'm also young and single and think a few years in a different country would be a great opportunity at this point in life. Anyone ever been stationed in Iwakuni (medical or otherwise)? Any advice, things you wish you would've known about Iwakuni or overseas duty stations in general?

I would also like to deploy during my time in service and I'm wondering if my time in Japan will limit that (i.e. I'm already OCONUS, thus no chance for deployment). Thanks for the help!

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I was stationed in Okinawa, so not exactly mainland Japan but I will tell you this, Japan is a fascinating place. I loved it there. Overall, the food and people were great. 

Advice, have a open mind, try to learn a bit of Japanese and enjoy. I'll see if I can find someone who is stationed there that I know. 

As for deployment, you will be slightly more limited as you are already overseas but if you volunteer and your command can spare you, then you can get deployed. 

I myself would like to get stationed in mainland Japan one more time. But first let me make it through the first year of PA school. It is kicking my ass. 

Good luck. 

Edit: I just realized it's you @vb315. I've asked you few questions in the past. Lol. 

Edited by moleashish

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17 minutes ago, moleashish said:

I was stationed in Okinawa, so not exactly mainland Japan but I will tell you this, Japan is a fascinating place. I loved it there. Overall, the food and people were great. 

Advice, have a open mind, try to learn a bit of Japanese and enjoy. I'll see if I can find someone who is stationed there that I know. 

As for deployment, you will be slightly more limited as you are already overseas but if you volunteer and your command can spare you, then you can get deployed. 

I myself would like to get stationed in mainland Japan one more time. But first let me make it through the first year of PA school. It is kicking my ass. 

Good luck. 

Edit: I just realized it's you @vb315. I've asked you few questions in the past. Lol. 

@moleashish Thank you so much for the reply! It's been hard getting any information or first-hand accounts, so I do appreciate it.

Sounds like PA-S1 is coming along as it should haha, it's non-stop! Keep at it, and good luck, it'll be over before you know it! I just finished my last rotation today, can't believe it's gone by so quickly.

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VB315,

I was in Okinawa as a Corpsman (2007-2010) so things are a little different than what you may experience. I can say it really boils down to your personality is what I have found. If you like meeting new people, doing new things, seeing stuff you have never seen and are active you will love being overseas. 

For example, I started running to work rather than driving and saved on average 3k-4k per year on gas and insurance. Me and the wife, who was also a Corpsman and we met in the barracks, did the WWII tours and tunnel rats tours which were nice and informational. Me and the wife were also a part of the command welcoming crew so we would pick new people up at the airport and take them to our favorite restaurants (Coco's; try it, you will love it. I promise) and then helped them get their residence established. Also, some Okinawa locals love military and we were even invited to a Christmas party off base with a bunch of Japanese people we didn't know but had a great time! Since I like to be active I also got a small boating license so we could go fishing or tubing out in the ocean (but only did this once) and the diving when we were in Okinawa was a big deal, I was once told it was "second only to Australia." The driving there was fun too since you get to drive on the opposite side of the road and the Nissan Skyline GTR's are numerous (at least compared to stateside). There are also numerous taboo activities that you can find that are too good to pass such as cliff diving which is a big no-no to military personnel due to injuries and such, but I never did that and no one I knew did it either... oh and almost forgot to mention if you ever get a chance to party/celebrate with some aviators you are guaranteed to have a good night and to cry laughing multiple times.

There are draw backs with being so far as well. I found it cost like $1200-1400 to fly home for emergencies and personnel staffing was always low, so you could only leave if your chain-of-command allowed it. I was denied emergency leave when I requested it due to staffing. Also, small things will be blown out-of-portion due the small nature of oversea tours. For example, getting a speeding ticket was kinda a big deal vs being state side where you just tell your supervisor and they pretty much say "don't do it again" (I was enlisted at the time so experiences may differ for officers). 

When you finally decide where to go just know that there is a point-of-contact for each station that will meet you and help you get established. You won't be going in blind and trying to figure it all out on your own. Yes, they will be hard to get in touch with but just be persistent.

If you have any other questions let me know.

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On 3/21/2019 at 12:19 AM, doubledose said:

VB315,

I was in Okinawa as a Corpsman (2007-2010) so things are a little different than what you may experience. I can say it really boils down to your personality is what I have found. If you like meeting new people, doing new things, seeing stuff you have never seen and are active you will love being overseas. 

For example, I started running to work rather than driving and saved on average 3k-4k per year on gas and insurance. Me and the wife, who was also a Corpsman and we met in the barracks, did the WWII tours and tunnel rats tours which were nice and informational. Me and the wife were also a part of the command welcoming crew so we would pick new people up at the airport and take them to our favorite restaurants (Coco's; try it, you will love it. I promise) and then helped them get their residence established. Also, some Okinawa locals love military and we were even invited to a Christmas party off base with a bunch of Japanese people we didn't know but had a great time! Since I like to be active I also got a small boating license so we could go fishing or tubing out in the ocean (but only did this once) and the diving when we were in Okinawa was a big deal, I was once told it was "second only to Australia." The driving there was fun too since you get to drive on the opposite side of the road and the Nissan Skyline GTR's are numerous (at least compared to stateside). There are also numerous taboo activities that you can find that are too good to pass such as cliff diving which is a big no-no to military personnel due to injuries and such, but I never did that and no one I knew did it either... oh and almost forgot to mention if you ever get a chance to party/celebrate with some aviators you are guaranteed to have a good night and to cry laughing multiple times.

There are draw backs with being so far as well. I found it cost like $1200-1400 to fly home for emergencies and personnel staffing was always low, so you could only leave if your chain-of-command allowed it. I was denied emergency leave when I requested it due to staffing. Also, small things will be blown out-of-portion due the small nature of oversea tours. For example, getting a speeding ticket was kinda a big deal vs being state side where you just tell your supervisor and they pretty much say "don't do it again" (I was enlisted at the time so experiences may differ for officers). 

When you finally decide where to go just know that there is a point-of-contact for each station that will meet you and help you get established. You won't be going in blind and trying to figure it all out on your own. Yes, they will be hard to get in touch with but just be persistent.

If you have any other questions let me know.

@doubledose this is awesome, thank you! I'm definitely the type of person you described above - it's also good to hear that there's a point-of-contact to help get established. My main concern was that I'd be going over without any direction! I haven't gotten orders yet, so it's not official that I'll end up overseas, but I'm already excited for the opportunity!

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vb315,

I hope you get the orders you want and as long as you keep an open mind I am sure you will like it.

Who ever is in charge of you now should be able to get the DSN# to contact the command. From there you can contact someone and set up a sponsor. When you get that all set up, they will meet you at the airport and transport you to the command. But you honestly don't need to starting trying until you have hard copy orders. 

Enjoy

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