Sponsorship: What it meant to me as a new military spouse?

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- My name is Linnea and I am a new military spouse on her first PCS. It just so happened that my first PCS was overseas to Japan, which is also the first time I've ever lived outside of the U.S.

My husband and I have been married for seven months and I have been working really hard to learn all the new terms and acronyms that go along with the military life.

When he tried to explain sponsorship to me I thought, well that is neat but I don't see much need for it. We had the website and the newcomer page which were great, so I thought (naively) that would be all we really needed. Boy was I wrong!

After our 11 hour flight, the welcome we got was much needed, and the initial help getting us and our dog to all of the places we had to check in was great. Our sponsor even took us on a tour of the base after helping us check in and helped us stay awake for several hours so that we could better acclimate to the time change.

What would have been a very stressful, long, and trying day turned into a quick, easy, and relaxed process that we enjoyed. Not to mention that my husband's new office pitched in and got us a welcome basket of helpful goodies that we would need in the coming days as we got situated.

If someone had told me that a good sponsor would make or break my first days in Japan, I would have told them that was unlikely. But it really is true, I can only imagine in my nightmares how awful it would have been without the help of our sponsor in those first long days. I am so thankful to her for helping us integrate into our new home.

Now I understand why sponsorship is important, and I hope others will get the same great help we did that made our PCS a far more enjoyable experience.