Settling into your new location and your new unit takes time. Each of the military Services has a Sponsorship Program which is very helpful in providing new unit information.
The purpose of the Sponsorship program is to:
- Provide a sense of belonging
- Ease the transition for inbound service members or civilians and their family members
- Increase productivity
- Reduce culture shock
- Help newcomers make informed decisions
- Cultivate new friendships
- Improve morale
A sponsor is someone from your new unit who is assigned to assist you in settling into your new location. You must request a sponsor through your unit. You can learn more about the sponsorship program and how to apply through your Relocation Assistance Program or the Family Center at your new installation.
Your Service will appoint your sponsor in writing. He/she will be the same or close to your rank and the same marital status, if at all possible. This person will be knowledgeable about the local community and the installation; available to assist you and your family for at least two weeks post arrival, and be someone who is positive and outgoing.
A sponsor’s duties include:
- Contacting you and your family by letter of introduction or e-mail upon learning of your assignment to the installation.
- Following up with a personal phone call after contact has been made.
- Sending information about the installation/area which you may require, or putting you in touch with the resources on the web and at the installation that provide current, complete and up-to-date information such as those provided by the Relocation Program.
- Answering any questions which you or your family may have, or, again, providing the proper resources to answer those questions.
- Confirm transportation and lodging arrangements.
- Assisting with obtaining a Post Office Box for your mail.
- Meeting you and your family upon arrival.
- Accompanying you to your check in point for the unit.
- Introducing you to the Family Cent er and lending closet
- Providing essential service locations such as commissary, exchange, gas station, and bank.
- Being available when you arrive at your installation to meet you, show you around, and help you through in-processing.
If you have not been assigned a sponsor, or have not been contacted as of yet, request one by contacting your gaining command or unit. If after contacting your new command you find difficulties in obtaining a sponsor, contact your Relocation Assistance Personnel for additional help with your move.
Service specific processes for requesting a Sponsor include:
- Army and Defense Logistics Agency: AR 600-8-8 outlines procedures for DA Form 5434, Sponsorship Program Counseling and Information Sheet. Sponsorship is mandatory for first term Soldiers. All Soldiers, private through colonel (excluding those completing advanced individual training (AIT) and those PCSing to long term schools) and civilian employees through grade 15 may participate in the advance arrival sponsorship program. Reactionary Sponsorship is available for individuals arriving at an installation without a sponsor. Contact the gaining unit to request a sponsor.
- Air Force: Gaining Unit Commander Support Staff/Military Personnel Section will assign a sponsor upon receipt of assignment notice. Assigned sponsor will then make contact with the inbound member.
- Navy:OPNAV INSTRUCTION 1740.3C prescribes procedures regarding Command Sponsor and Indoctrination Programs. This Program is designed to facilitate the adaptation of Sailors and their families into new working and living environments, to minimize the anxiety associated with a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, and afford Sailors and their families the greatest opportunity for a successful and productive tour of duty.
- Command sponsor and indoctrination responsibilities begin upon receipt of PCS orders and continue until the Sailor has become an integral part of the new command and is fully cognizant of all policies, programs, services, and responsibilities available through the command. Commanding Officers shall establish a Command Indoctrination Program to include the delivery of the Navy Pride and Professionalism training per this instruction. COs should ensure all incoming personnel receive command indoctrination training within 30 days of arrival or within 3 drill weekends
- Enclosures (1) and (2) of OPNAVINST 1740.3C outline responsibilities and provide guidance for these programs. Assistance to local commands regarding the Command Sponsor Program is through the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) Relocation Assistance Program staff.
Marine Corps: Gaining Unit Commander will assign a sponsor on request. Overseas commands should assign a sponsor automatically, however if one is not assigned, send a request to the gaining command using the Sample Sponsorship Request form.
Sponsors’ responsibilities and abilities to be available will vary from installation to installation, depending upon the priority which the installation and unit commanders give to the program; however, the Services are making the Sponsorship program a priority as research has shown the many benefits of good sponsorship to service, family members and youth.
The Youth Sponsorship Program depends on the availability of youth who volunteer to become sponsors. The Youth Services topic should explain the Youth Sponsorship program at your new installation, but if it does not answer all of your questions, contact your Relocation Manager to inquire about the program and acquiring a youth sponsor.