Joint Team in Denver Welcomes Military Families Departing Japan

Story Number: NNS110324-17Release Date: 3/24/2011 4:15:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Bill Larned, Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs

DENVER, Colo. (NNS) -- A multi-service team of military professionals, caregivers and volunteers at Denver International Airport welcomed Department of Defense families arriving as part of Operation Pacific Passage, an authorized voluntary departure from Japan, March 24.

The first mission flight arrived at Denver, Colo., from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with 147 family members, more than half of them children, and 18 pets. Most of the passengers will make connecting flights to their final destinations.

The Navy is a large component of the welcome team at the Denver International Joint Reception Coordination Center, and has been working side by side with the other military services, Denver International Airport and other organizations to provide any support these families might need.

"We can help with order writing, accountability, and can correct some pay issues if servicemembers have them. Almost any service you can find on a Navy base is one we can provide here today," said Lt. Kevin Henderson, officer in charge of Personnel Support Detachment Port Hueneme, Calif., and administrative lead for the Navy Region Southwest team at the airport.

The Navy team, directed by the Navy Operational Support Center Denver, is prepared to handle travel, administrative, pay, family services, legal and other assistance for families who may arrive in Denver in the coming days.

Navy Operational Support Center Denver Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Chad Tidwell stated that supporting arriving families is not only about adaptation and hard work, but a spirit of cooperation.

"The world is always changing. The Navy operates in the real world, and we have to adjust," he said. "What we're doing at Denver International Airport to help military families is something we are prepared to do anytime any place."

Tidwell said that operating with the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps has been a smooth process; everyone understands the importance of this unified effort.

"It is an honor to serve in this capacity," he said. "We are one team and one fight, and everyone involved here in Denver has the same take care of our military families."

The level of assistance the military support team, at the Denver airport, exceeds administrative and financial needs, according to Susan Hare of Navy Region Southwest's Fleet and Family Support Center.

"We are also ready to help families through emotional struggles with the Psychological Health Outreach program," Hare said. "We have a team available to help with any psychological issue, and the ability to refer them to the people and services they need."

The military welcome center at Denver International Airport is located at the Signature Flight Support hangar. Signature provided the military with a comprehensive site to achieve operational needs and a wealth of convenient resources, including 196 beds, child care needs, a playroom and video and Internet access.

For more information on the voluntary authorized departure for eligible DoD family members from designated areas in Japan, read NAVADMIN 093/11 at

All Sailors or family members who are in need of assistance should utilize the NFAAS support site at to ensure the Navy can track and assess support requirements for all parties affected.

Navy Fleet and Family Support Center has a 24-hour hotline available to provide family support information at 866-854-0638.

For more news from Navy Region Southwest, visit

For more news from Navy Region Southwest, visit

Kay Simpkins, a representative from Naval Station Everett's Fleet and Family Support Center helps a voluntary returnee enroll in the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS).
Official U.S. Navy file photo.
March 21, 2011
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