I think it's totally unfair of the military to station us overseas in Japan and not pay for any flights home for the entire tour.
Yes, we could fly Space-A, but it's not realistic because it's not predictable, and we are almost two hours away from the terminal.
Who should I talk to about this? My congressman?
-- Stuck OCONUS
I know getting stationed overseas far away from family can be really hard.
Generally speaking, the military gives service members two options when it comes to some assignments, such as those in South Korea and Japan.
They can either go for a one-year hardship tour solo and receive a mid-tour R&R visit home on Uncle Sam's dime, or they can request to take their family with them for a two-year accompanied tour and not be flown back to the States at all.
Not every accompanied request is granted. Even getting stationed with your service member is a major perk. If you don't want to be there, you could stay stateside and let him or her serve and visit you via Space-A solo.
Since you are stationed there with your family, it sounds like you have an accompanied tour -- something many military families want but are not granted.
To make things a little easier on your pocketbook for stateside visits, the Defense Department does pay for flights home -- but they are through Space-A. Yes, that's unpredictable, but it is a paid-for flight.
Honestly, saying that two hours is too far to go to deal with flights discredits the folks stateside in rural locations who don't have Space-A access but still must travel just as far or farther to deal with traveling from their duty station. Good luck finding an airport within two hours if you're stationed at Fort Irwin, California, for example.
Should you call your congressman and ask about getting this rule changed? Have at it. But in an era of budget cuts, I very much doubt this will be altered.
Sincerely, Team Q&B