My previous post included all the information I had to date on how I ended up on a permanent assignment without my husband Ben. I know that it is being used as a reference for people who want to help us, including people at the Pentagon who are working on this issue. A week later, I have no news except that the issue is still being worked on. As of this morning, it’s been 16 days since Ben had to leave Okinawa. His 90-day passport stamp was due to expire and he needed to leave to avoid violating Japanese immigration laws.
I’ve been posting on Facebook and Twitter lately about how many days it’s been since my husband, Ben, had to leave Japan despite having moved here with me in August when I was stationed here with the US Marine Corps. He entered Japan on August 2, 2013 on a tourist visa (90-day passport stamp), fully expecting to be allowed to stay indefinitely once he became a dependent under the Status of Forces Agreement (wiki link, full text) between the US and Japan. On October 26, 2013, he left Japan so he would not be here beyond the expiration of his passport stamp. I miss him so much, and although we are confident things will work out, they haven’t yet. Here’s some background info to bring you up to speed.
There are a few reasons why, at this point in my career, I’m looking to transfer overseas to Japan, despite the challenges it will present in terms of my family and relationship.
First, I have spent the better part of my ten years in the Marine Corps thus far in Southern California (minus school on the east coast and a deployment to Iraq in 2007-08), so the option to stay in Southern California is not open to me right now. The Marine Corps encourages moving around, partially to broaden the experience in officers, and partially because it isn’t fair to let only a few of us get all the great duty stations. In the Marine Corps, we have, essentially, three options when it comes to major geographical areas where we can be stationed: West Coast (Southern California), East Coast (North Carolina), and Okinawa, Japan (Note: There are other assignments in other places, but the vast majority of duty stations are in these three places). I have between little and no desire to spend any more time than required in North Carolina, so Japan is the next best option for me.
In May 2013, I will finish my assignment at Marine Corps University and execute orders to my next duty station. I am hoping to be assigned to Japan, but this is going to bring with it many challenges in terms of my relationship with Ben. We are going to document all of the work as we face this challenge, to include people we talk to, the documents we need, the legal issues we will face with DOMA, and post some tips for those who will inevitably follow in our path later. I’ll be tagging those posts specially so you can find them at a glance, and Ben will even be writing some. Stay tuned to follow the tales of our (mis)adventures!