Marine Corps Family Team Building pre-marital seminar informs service members on marriage process

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Attendees listen intently to a Legal Services Support Section brief during a Marine Corps Family Team Building pre-marital seminar Jan. 13 aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Marine Cpl. Janessa K. Pon)
Attendees listen intently to a Legal Services Support Section brief during a Marine Corps Family Team Building pre-marital seminar Jan. 13 aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Marine Cpl. Janessa K. Pon)

Marine Corps Family Team Building pre-marital seminar informs service members on marriage process

by: Cpl. Janessa K. Pon | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: January 21, 2017

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Marine Corps Family Team Building hosted a pre-marital seminar Jan. 13 at the Ocean Breeze aboard Camp Foster.

The seminar is held monthly to inform service members and their future spouses on the steps of different types of marriages, such as dual service marriages, service members and U.S. civilians, and service members marrying citizens of foreign countries.

“The seminar informs service members on the steps they need to take to get married on Okinawa,” said Tamara Geyer, a life skills trainer with MCFTB. “It is a great resource that gives service members and their future spouses a better grasp of things so they can make better, more informed life decisions and know what they are getting into.”

The first portion of the seminar was an introduction to the family support organizations available on-island, such as the Military Family Life Consultants, the Exceptional Family Member Program, and the Family Advocacy Program.

“We do our very best to make sure service members are aware of the programs that are available to them,” said Geyer, a Bridgeport, Connecticut, native. “We have a lot of different programs that can assist with any emotional, financial and logistical issues families may have out here on Okinawa.”

The program included informational presentations from TriCare insurance, Legal Services Support Section, and the U.S. Consulate in Naha, Okinawa.

“One of the most important things I learned today was about health insurance,” said Pfc. Evan S. Lomioan, a military police officer with the Provost Marshal’s Office, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific – Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan. “I didn’t know that my future wife and future dependents are entitled to the same health insurance. The insurance representative did a good job of explaining the process of using the entitlements, which is important because it allows us to take better care of our families. When we can take care of our families, our families can take care of us and we can be better Marines in our workplace.”

After the presentations, service members planning to marry foreign nationals had the opportunity to ask questions and receive necessary paperwork from the U.S. Consulate personnel.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many moving pieces there are in getting married – especially overseas,” said Geyer. “One of the biggest steps is the visa process. Obtaining a visa for a spouse is usually a year-long process. The end goal is usually obtaining a green card for immigration, and this can take a significant amount of time as well. Service members who are more well-informed on the process can save themselves a lot of stress in the long run and have an easier time keeping their family together.”

At the end of the presentations, representatives from respective offices answered specific questions from (the people) regarding the marital process and assisted the couples in filling out necessary paperwork.

“There are a lot of programs available for service members and their families,” said Geyer. “To follow up with this class, we also have our, Before I Say, ‘I Do’ class, which helps build communication skills with your partner and prepare for military marriage.”

For more information on family support programs on Okinawa, visit: www.mccsokinawa.com/family_readiness_program.