U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson, 35th Fighter Wing public affairs journalist, briefs newcomers on the services PA provides during Right Start at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 8, 2012. Day two of Right Start consists of several briefings from base agencies and a driver's training course. Right Start is a mandatory part of a required in-processing checklist for incoming Airmen. The program is four days long and starts on Tuesdays, excluding holidays and wing exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins)
Akilo Brooks, husband of Staff Sgt. Laura DeSouza, 35th Communications Squadron communications focal point supervisor, takes a driver's training test during Right Start at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 8, 2012. Base newcomers must take the driver's test before they are issued a United States Forces, Japan Form 4EJ, which allows people to drive a personally-owned vehicle in Japan. Right Start is required for Airmen to complete their in-processing checklist. It is a four day long program starting on Tuesdays, excluding holidays and wing exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Leonardo Apilado, 35th Security Forces Squadron pass and registration clerk, issues a servicemember a United States Forces, Japan Form 4EJ during Right Start at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 8, 2012. The 4EJ allows people to drive a personally-owned vehicle in Japan. Before beginning work at their respective offices, Airmen are required to attend Right Start. Right Start is a four day long program that starts on Tuesdays, excluding holidays and wing exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins)
by Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
8/9/2012 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- As a newcomer to Misawa, you may be unsure of what you are supposed to be doing or where to even start looking to find out. Incoming servicemembers are initially greeted by their sponsors or their unit and after settling in, receive their in-processing checklists. One of the requirements on that checklist is to attend a Right Start briefing.
"Right Start helps new people coming to Misawa start off on the right foot," said Lara Varcasia, Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant. "It helps newcomers become aware of what the base has, what Japan has to offer and helps them get acclimated here at Misawa."
Right Start is a mandatory appointment for Airmen. The program is four days long and starts on Tuesday every week, excluding holidays and exercises.
Day one of the Right Start program is for military members only and includes listening to several different briefings from agencies across the wing. During the first day members complete travel vouchers, receive medical pre-screenings and fill out Tri-Care enrollment forms.
On the second day of Right Start, civilian employees and servicemembers are encouraged to bring family members. They receive several briefings from 35th Fighter Wing leadership and from agencies most families will be interested to learn about. In addition to the briefings, newcomers with a valid stateside driver's license will take a driver's training test to obtain a United States Forces, Japan Form 4EJ, which allows them to drive a personally-owned vehicle in Japan. Newcomers must pass the test and complete the correct paperwork to receive it.
"Going through Right Start gave me a good understanding of what was available on base to help get me through the first couple of weeks of being the new guy," said Airman 1st Class Dakota Powers, 610th Air Control Flight weapons director technician. "It made me feel confident that I could find where I needed to go if I ever needed something."
To help acclimate incoming base members to Japanese culture, days three and four of Right Start consist of off-base trips to the cities of Misawa and Hachinohe. The tours include visits to a Shinto shrine, Buddhist temple, fish market, local supermarket and mall. The tour also goes to the Misawa International Center so participants can receive a cultural brief on Japan.
"With the tours given by Right Start, it gave me confidence to go off-base and explore the area and find new stores and restaurants that I would be able to enjoy for my next few years here" said Powers. "I am thankful for the opportunity to go on a tour with great tour guides around Misawa and Hachinohe."
For more information on Right Start or to verify when and where to meet, feel free to contact the AFRC at 226-4735.