A retiree's thanks for transition assistance

Base Info

A retiree's thanks for transition assistance

by: Fred E. Sieber Jr. | .
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: March 05, 2013

This is the journey of one retiree that chronicles the awesome support we have here in Okinawa. In November 2011 I retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and stayed on Okinawa. My wife of 20 years is Okinawan and this is our home.

My first thank you goes to HQBN, 3d Marine Division and its commander and staff during the summer of 2011. I was the MMO for this unit as I was transitioning and it was a busy job. However, the commander and staff allowed me to take the time to go to the necessary training and workshops that helped me retire successfully.

With no replacement on deck, the commander allowed me to take over 90 days terminal leave because he knew I had a plan and needed that time to complete the student teaching portion of my teaching degree. My journey would have never started without this support. Thank You.

I could not have retired successfully if it were not for the folks at the Marine Corps Community Services Transition and Employment Assistance office on Camp Foster. Their retirement seminar was essential in my success. Yet they did even more! The staff reviewed my resumes and even held mock interviews for me. They always encouraged me. Thank You Transition Team!

The folks at IPAC are awesome! There were two Lance Corporals who took care of all my retirement requirements and needs. At first I was a little hesitant to let two junior Marines do all this; after all, you only get one shot at retirement! Yet these two Marines quickly showed their professionalism and knowledge.

They prepared all the paperwork and explained each step to me. And IPAC continues to support me. I may work on an Air Force base but I go for all my support to Camp Foster (sorry Air Force!). Thank You IPAC.

Once I retired I found that my dream of teaching was going to be a little more challenging that I thought. I took a job as a contractor for the USNH and worked at the front counter at Camp Kinser’s Family Practice. I quickly learned all that goes on behind the scenes to provide quality medical care here on Okinawa. I became part of a family of folks who do their very best for their patients.

After seeing what these folks do to take care of their patients I count myself lucky to live in a place where such care exists. And dealing with sick and—sometimes not happiest—people on a daily basis taught me some valuable customer service skills that I now use in my current profession. Thank you USNH and Camp Kinser Family Practice!\

After about six months I was selected for a GS position at the Camp Foster Education Center. One of my collateral duties, while on active duty, was as an education officer. I obtained my Master’s Degree on active duty and am a big proponent of military members and their families using their educational benefits.

Everything revolves around that young service or family member that comes in for assistance. I was part a dedicated team that bends over backwards to make sure their customers receive the most up to date educational advice. The team always encouraged each other and ensured that we were all well taken care of. Thank You Education Office!

One day my dream came true. DODDS called and asked if I would like to be considered for a teaching position. I had just finished my Master’s of Elementary Teaching and – to be honest – did not expect to be called so soon. I had heard it takes a while and, although I had my package in, I was content to be patient. I jumped at this opportunity!

I knew I brought a lot of skills from my active-duty career yet I was nervous. A classroom of your own, 20 students counting on you, and 20 sets of parents trusting you is a bit intimidating the first time you walk into it! But this was my dream!

The staff at DODDS Human Resources Office and at my school made the transition smooth. I quickly became part of a team that does whatever it takes to help your child earn success. If you child attends a DODDS school you should count yourself lucky! The level of dedication to and love for the students is inspiring!

Thank you DODDS!