By MCCS Okinawa
Event: In-person Newcomers’ Orientation Welcome Aboard (NOWA) Brief
Times: 0645 - Arrival time for any Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) privately owned
vehicle (POV) license testers, Japanese license holders, and within Japan transfers (Any personnel who arrive after the 0700 SOFA POV licensing examination start time will not be permitted to enter the testing area).
0700 – 0830 - SOFA POV license examination (Optional if completing before/after the NOWA Brief at the Installation Safety Office).
0815 - Arrival time for non-POV SOFA license examination testers
0830 – 1415 - Mandatory NOWA Brief
Location: Camp Foster Community Center, building 5908
Attire: Proper civilian attire or uniform of the day
Per the United States Forces, Japan Instruction 36-2811, all SOFA status personnel and their family members stationed in Japan are required to complete an indoctrination training program within 72 hours of arrival to their permanent duty station. The NOWA Brief satisfies this requirement.
Children ages 10 years and older are required to attend a NOWA Brief.
*** Effective November 8, 2023, a Youth and Teen Tour will be available for newcomers ages 10 - 18 years and will consist of visits to the following Camp Foster facilities: Kishaba Youth Center, Base Exchange, Library, and Bowling Center. The tour will depart from Camp Foster Community Center parking lot at 0840 and return at 1130 in time for the youth and teens to join their parents for lunch. Please note that seating is limited to 28 participants. Parents are highly encouraged to pre-register their youth and teens when signing up for the NOWA brief.
Children aged 9 years and younger are not required to attend a NOWA Brief.
Virtual NOWA Brief:
Due to a lack of childcare for the NOWA Brief, the MCIPAC Chief of Staff has provided the option to request a virtual NOWA Brief for accompanied Service Members, DoD civilians, and contractors with family members under the age of 10. The virtual NOWA Brief is available for the spouse only of the Service Member, DoD civilian, or contractor unless the newcomer is a single parent with a family member under the age of 10.
All others are required to complete an in-person NOWA Brief. All children are still welcome to attend an in-person NOWA Brief; however, some content discussed may not be considered suitable for all ages.
The virtual NOWA Brief is a 4-hour, video-based webinar. Virtual NOWA Brief codes and training links are specific to the individual and will be emailed to the approved newcomer personal email address on the Thursday following the in-person NOWA Brief by 1000.
All newcomers that complete a virtual NOWA Brief prior to 1400 on Friday will have their name(s) forwarded to the MCIPAC-MCBB Installation Safety Office POV Licensing Section showing proof of virtual NOWA Brief completion.
MCCS Child Care Services for NOWA Brief Attendees:
Free childcare service with MCCS Child & Youth Programs (CYP) is available on a one time, limited, space available basis. The following details apply:
• Services will be provided at the Camp Foster, Chimugukuru Child Development Center (CDC), building 499.
• Limited spaces available for children 6 weeks – 5 years of age.
• Drop off will be no earlier than 06:15 and children must be picked up no later than 15:00.
• Parents must pre-register their child/children at the MCCS Resource & Referral (R&R) office in building 495, room 100, on Camp Foster.
• Reservations for care are made at the MCCS R&R office after completion of registration, but no later than noon Tuesday the day prior to the NOWA Brief.
• Registration packets can be emailed to the parent or picked up at the MCCS R&R office by parents or their sponsor.
• For more information, parents or sponsors should call 645-4117 or 645-4062 as early as possible prior to the newcomer’s arrival.
• Reservations can only be made once registration is completed.
A shuttle bus to and from the NOWA Brief is available for members staying at the Camp Foster Westpac Inn temporary lodging facility. A shuttle will arrive at the Westpac Inn at 0600 and depart at 0610 to accommodate those SOFA POV license testers, Japanese license holders, and within Japan transfers. For those who are not completing the SOFA licensing exam, a shuttle will arrive at the Westpac Inn at 0730 and depart at 0740 to accommodate those attending the mandatory portion of the NOWA Brief. The shuttle bus schedule will be as follows:
For those SOFA POV license testers:
0600 – Arrive at Westpac Inn
0610 – Depart Westpac Inn
0620 – Drop off at Foster Community Center (Parents using free CDC services should remain on the shuttle bus).
0625 – Drop off at Foster Chimugukuru CDC (Shuttle bus will wait at CDC to return parents to Community Center after checking in their pre-registered children).
0645 – Drop off at Foster Community Center
For those only attending the mandatory portion of the NOWA Brief:
0730 – Arrive at Westpac Inn
0740 – Depart Westpac Inn
0750 – Drop off at Foster Community Center (Parents using free CDC services should remain on the shuttle bus).
0755 – Drop off at Foster Chimugukuru CDC (Shuttle bus will wait at CDC to return parents to Community Center after checking in their pre-registered children).
0815 – Drop off at Foster Community Center
Those newcomers not billeting at the Westpac Inn, are responsible for coordinating their own transportation with their sponsor to the Camp Foster Community Center building 5908.
Items to bring for the NOWA Brief:
• Check-in sheet if available
• Light jacket or sweater
Items to bring if completing the SOFA POV license examination:
• 2 copies of web orders (USMC)/original orders (USN) or Letter of Employment (civilian)
• 2 copies of Area Clearance/Dependent Entry Approval if accompanied
• Valid stateside driver’s license
• Military identification (ID)/valid photo ID
• Driver’s Awareness training certificate (USMC) for those Service Members ages 26 and under
• Driving for Life training certificate (USN) for those Service Members ages 26 and under
Dependents attending the NOWA Brief without their sponsor are required to have their sponsor’s signature on the Application for USFJ Form 4EJ Driver’s Permit (Yellow Card) to take the SOFA POV license examination. Sponsors are not required to stay with dependents throughout the NOWA Brief.
Any personnel who arrive after the 0700 SOFA POV licensing examination start time will not be permitted to enter the testing area.
Welcome Aboard Information:
Please visit https://www.okinawa.usmc-mccs.org/about for an electronic Welcome Aboard packet, which contains information about driving, transportation, housing, childcare, pets, schools, and more.
Military Installation Information:
For additional information on MCB Camp S.D. Butler, please visit https://installations.militaryonesource.mil.
If you have any questions or require special accommodations, please contact your nearest MCCS Personal and Professional Development Resources office:
Camp Foster, Bldg. 445, DSN: 645-2104
Camp Courtney, Bldg. 4425, DSN: 622-7739
Camp Kinser, Bldg. 1220, DSN: 637-2815
Camp Hansen, Bldg. 2339, DSN: 623-4522
Camp Schwab, Bldg. 3000, DSN: 625-2622
*************** ADDITIONAL INFORMATION*****************
SOFA POV License Examination:
All portions of the NOWA Brief must be completed prior to receiving your SOFA POV driver’s license.
Personnel are highly encouraged to complete the SOFA POV license examination prior to attending a NOWA Brief. Test sessions are held on non-holidays, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 0800 and 1000, at Camp Foster building 5831 and Camp Courtney building 4319. Check-in starts 30 minutes prior to the test sessions.
E-5 and below personnel without their commanding officer’s signature will not be authorized to test at the NOWA Brief.
E-3 and below personnel will not be authorized to test at the NOWA Brief.
Attendees who hold a Government of Japan driver’s license, or licensing transfers from mainland Japan, are highly encouraged to visit the licensing office prior to attending a NOWA Brief, as they are required to watch the driving video prior to be issued a SOFA POV license. If they do not, they will need to remain at the NOWA Brief during the license testing portion to receive their SOFA POV license at the NOWA Brief.
A copy of the Japanese Traffic Regulations for SOFA Licensed Drivers is available online at https://www.okinawa.usmc-mccs.org/about under the “Driving and Transportation” tab.
For questions, please contact the Installation Safety Office at:
Camp Foster, Bldg. 5831, DSN: 645-7219
Camp Courtney, Bldg. 4319, DSN: 622-6202
Camp Foster Community Center bldg. 5908
Camp Foster, 904-0116, Chatan, Japan