Okinawa as a duty station
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  1. #1
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    Okinawa as a duty station

    Greetings all. Don't really know the rules of posting so forgive me if I break one.
    Currently at 0231 school, and we choose orders this week or next. Probably going to be air orders. I'm top 3 in my class, so I'l be able to go pretty much wherever, I'll just have to choose by the unit of what location I want.
    I've been thinking Okinawa for awhile. I just don't know much of anything about Oki, besides there are a bunch of restrictions for junior Marines. The only real thing I'm worried about is if I get there, hate it, and not able to go home for 2 Yrs. Can anyone fill me in on how life in Okinawa is for junior Marines? I heard from one of the OODs that Oki is now alowing junior Marines to own cars, is this true? And what are the other restrictions or things that are different than Miramar/Camp Pendleton? Along with the suck, what made you love/enjoy it? If it helps, I'm 20, so if the rules are the same I've heard, I'd be able to drink.

    Any input is appreciated!
    PFC Nelson

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  2. #2
    I was a grunt there stationed at Camp Swab a very long time ago, 74-75, for the most part back then it was a pain in the butt, at least I know for us grunts, we would train come back clean gear, have inspection then maybe 24 or 48 hour liberty, then the same thing, float time was great for the most part.
    but for air, Iwakuni Japan is a much better place, the liberty is far better than Oki. we used to call Okinawa the Rock, small and not much happening, but it may be different now.
    I know my Daughter like Iwakuni a lot when she was there.

    The Proud, The Few, The Constitutional Marine

  3. #3
    I had two tours on Okinawa, and would recommend it as a good first duty station choice while still single.


  4. #4
    First, for what it's worth. My niece was the class leader, honor graduate, and meritorious LCpl out of her ground electrician's MOS course (meritorious PFC out of bootcamp). Her first duty station choice was the West Coast cause she wanted to go to CamPen. Instead, they kept her at CLNC on the East Coast. So, you can count on being in the top 3 of your class and getting your choice if you want to. You'll go where the USMC needs you.

    I went to OKI twice, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing each time. First time as a Sgt and second time as a GySgt. OKI has a lot of opportunities such as diving/snorkeling, off duty education, etc. Being overseas, the USO is very active. There are many restrictions on junior Marines because of the jackassary that has always gone on there, mostly alcohol related. Too many Japanese school girls have been raped and there was even a female Marine raped off base while I was there. Okinawans don't want us there and are always protesting wanting us off their island (one reason we rotate Marines into Darwin, Australia now and have plans to move the majority of our forces there to Guam eventually).

    As far as driving. All of the married Marines I knew had POV's but that was a necessity since they had families with them and lived in housing (they were there for 3 year assignments). There are free shuttle buses at each of the area camps to get around in and bicycles are an option but OKI is hilly so a bike may not be practical where you are. Remember, they drive on the opposite side of the road over there so there is a learning curve when it comes to driving a vehicle. Vehicles are expensive as is auto insurance and gasoline which is all imported. You'll have to wait till you get settled in and then decide if you can afford a vehicle but I don't see it on a PFC's pay.

    Good luck Devil.


  5. #5
    Went to OKI twice, married both times ( YES same girl ) it was a good place to save money for Me. It will be what ever You make of it or any other duty station... S/F


  6. #6
    Stick around a little while and maybe you will get a tour in Korea. Doubt that you will get to have POV there though.


  7. #7
    I spent 6 months in Pohang, Korea. Had nice time there, either to COLD or to HOT ...


  8. #8
    Squad Leader Platinum Member Zulu 36's Avatar
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    My information on Okinawa is really quite dated. I was there twice. Both times on TAD from Iwakuni. My first trip was to NAS Naha as a PFC, in 1972, before the island was returned to Japanese jurisdiction. Oki was a really fun place then. I left several days after the island was returned (to go to Vietnam - great switch).

    My second trip was in 1974, as a Sgt, to MCAS Futemna and the changes were dramatic. Yen instead of dollars, left side driving vs right side driving, and Japanese law vs US occupation law. Having been in Iwakuni, I was used to the Japanese way of doing things, so it wasn't a horrible shock. But Oki wasn't quite as much fun anymore.

    Anyway, Oki did have great scuba diving and I understand that hasn't changed. I used to tour some of the battlefields on my first visit. NAS Naha had been a major battle site for the 6th Marine Division and many caves and destroyed bunkers were still available for exploration. Made me really wonder how the Marines managed to take that place. Some of the fields of fire were spectacular. NAS Naha is now a Japanese base.

    The northern part of the island is flatter and less populated than the southern part. However, Northern Training Area (NTA) takes up a bunch of that space. The island is rather pretty, and as I said, the scuba diving is first rate.

    All the protests at the US presence are nothing new. They were going on in 1972 and before. I went to MCAS Futemna to visit some friends from boot camp and ended up getting put on riot control duty when a bunch of protesters managed to bum rush the main gate and get aboard the base. We spent much of the night chasing the little SOBs down and giving them the heave-ho. I had to borrow utilities and boots from a Marine I didn't know as I had been in civvies. I also had to get a note from the OOD as I was going to be UA from my unit in Naha otherwise. Fun times when you're 18.

    Like any place, Okinawa is mostly what you make of it. You can try to turn it into a drunken debauch (and probably end up in a Japanese jail or a Marine brig), or you can maintain and explore the island, meeting many of the nice people that live there. Not all are American hating jerks. Of course, scuba diving, if you like that, and lessons are available. Learn the culture and at least the basics of the language, the please and thank you stuff. That goes a very long way with Japanese and Okinawans. Even if your accent is terrible, they really appreciate the effort. Good luck if you go.


  9. #9
    When I was there in 88-89, they had a new Marine brig at camp Hansen ...


  10. #10
    I am a Lance Corporal on Okinawa, and it is not quite as bad as everyone says it is. The restriction part is true you can't be off base between midnight and 0500, you have to go out to drink in groups of at least 4 with 1 sober, but you can drink at 20 even on base so... Almost no junior Marines have cars, (however some do, and my unit maintains 10% of junior Marines owning cars so show out and be a good Marine and put up a car package) so you have to take an uber or taxi everywhere. Its always hot and raining, but its Japans Hawaii, beautiful beaches up and down both side of the island, Camp Schwab even has its own beach. Scuba diving out here is cheap and worth every penny. Operationally, you have a lot of opportunities to travel around Asia, opportunities not as readily available in the States. Get a passport flights around Asia are cheap, and the Single Marine Program does a lot, even taking a group to Bali for Thanksgiving. Overall, its a great place to be, restrictions or not. Hope this helps, message me if you have anymore questions.


  11. #11
    Hey jacomat what camp are You at ? I but kinville outside Camp Hansen has changed a lot. How much are the buy me drinkie girls charge now a days ? Did they d away with squad bays ? S/F


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