U.S. military personnel often gets transferred to new duty destinations at American bases all over the world. The vast majority of them are located in the United States, but sometimes military personnel receives a permanent overseas change of station — or PCS. Most service members live on base while being stationed abroad, as the military provides housing for them. However, a service member may choose to live off base during their time abroad, despite all possible issues related to finding and renting the housing and living among the locals.
In my case, I would prefer to live off base while being stationed in Okinawa, Japan. First of all, I consider the factor of living accommodations and space. The standard on-base housing is quite confined and does not feel like a proper home. In my opinion, that home-like atmosphere is important for mental comfort, which is especially true if a service member has a family. Therefore, I would spend some time on searches and pay rent to a local Japanese house owner.
An overseas PCS grants a perfect chance to learn and experience new cultures first-hand. An opportunity to meet the Japanese in daily life serves as another personal argument to live off base. I would like to explore their culture and, hopefully, contribute to improving American soldiers’ image. I believe that an open mind and welcoming attitude are helpful in life, even though military service is about hard work and discipline.
Personal considerations more or less dictated the reasons mentioned before. However, one factor comes ahead of my wishes or feelings: my daughter’s health. She suffers from allergies, which might get worse in newly renovated living quarters on Okinawa base. I have a duty before my country, and I am morally obliged to protect my daughter as a father. Considering that, I would spend extra money and time to find suitable off-base housing in Okinawa rather than putting my daughter in possible danger.