Duty Station: Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka
Number of Deployments: 0
Number of PCS's: 1
Share your military spouse story:
I am Tiffany Hall, and I currently live in Japan with my husband (& best friend) Ryan, our dog Roscoe and we are expecting our first baby this spring. I am going to school for business after many indecisive choices in my career path. I currently have 3 associates and a certificate in management. Growing up I struggled in school with dyslexia, bullying, and ADD. I moved a lot with my mom (27 times before I was 25 years old). With the moving and new schools every year, I learned to be resilient regardless of my surroundings. I learned to make friends quicker with each move. When I met my husband, he became my best friend before my boyfriend. My past prepared me to be an independent military spouse. I had never left the country until my first PCS only one month after marriage, we moved to Japan without friends or family. I wasn’t afraid of making new friends, but I did worry about being in a new country without knowing anything. I wanted to live on base to be close to other Americans, but God had other plans as we were forced off base. I broke out of my shell and was forced to learn more customs, Japanese phrases and learn to drive in Japan. I have embraced overseas military life. I became an English teacher for natives, created a Facebook group of 3k+ to show Americans the treasures of thrifting in Japan. I’ve taught a few friends how to drive comfortably in Japan, created a group for ride-sharing and I’ve taught others how to use the train system. Helping others break out of their shell makes me happy to see the growth in our community. While volunteering and creating new groups I realized I am a social entrepreneur, I would like to help the community where there are needs. I love working with nonprofits and I believe that is where I will remain for my career. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to live in Japan with my husband and have our first baby here. It’s become our home.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
In the Yokosuka military community, I have stepped up into many leadership roles. Volunteering is my favorite pastime, and I was asked to become a lead volunteer for a few organizations. USO Yokosuka is my home away from home. I can’t get enough of the programs and helping the morale of sailors and families stationed here. When they saw the dedication and creative side of me they began asking me to host as a lead volunteer. I have hosted Tot-Time, crafting classes, planners meetups, & operation birthday cake. I earned volunteer of the month and volunteer of the quarter before being asked to apply for a position at USO Japan Area Office. I am also a co-lead for Yokosuka Enhanced Spouse Sponsorship. YESS matches incoming spouses with settled spouses that have similar demographics. This allows the service member's sponsor to solely be relied on for work, while the sponsor from YESS will help with the questions about pets, kids, cars, housing, shopping, and anything else you can imagine.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
Being a military spouse, I quickly realized we’re all connected, and have to support the base and command as well as other families. Some of the best experiences I have are when supporting the community. I have over 3,000 hours as a foster parent for PAWS animals, allowing me to give love to the animals on base while they wait for their forever home. I became the first Ombudsman for PSD Yokosuka, allowing me to get close to the commands and other ombudsmen. Our community is very big on free/recycling items on base, so we hold events for swapping (dropping off and then shopping the other clothes/items). Volunteering with Tot Swap and Women’s Buy Nothing Boutique helps not only myself, but the entire community save money. Another opportunity was a last minute Prom dress swap. The teens could not shop online in time, nor are there many places in town. I asked the community to donate/lend dresses. I am always trying to find new ways to become involved or improve parts of the community.
Describe how you support your community:
I started volunteering to meet people and help the base. It quickly became a habit and I was volunteering with many different organizations and creating social Facebook groups for a sense of community. One of my most interactive groups with events and meet-ups is Plus sized and Pretty in Japan. This group is a body-positive inclusive group that helps the members find clothing that fits correctly, check on mental and physical health, and make friends. The first event I held for the group was during covid supporting victims advocate SAPR. I rented out the base theater and had 20 women show up that didn’t necessarily know anyone. We watched a chick-flick and many brought a donation to give to the victims' advocate program including travel-sized toiletries and loose clothing. I’ve held events such as a coffee meet-up, or a doggy date day with about 30 furry friends in the park, and free photoshoots for women to boost their confidence. I want everyone to love their bodies the way they are.
What do you advocate for? Why?
Advocating for mental & physical health and encouraging fostering/adoption (children and animals) are all near and dear to my heart. My focus is on empowering spouses to be the best versions of themselves. I like to find what is needed to make life a little easier for families, helping everyone find their niche overseas to cope with being so far away, and making sure that no person feels alone, regardless of ranks, sizes, races, genders, and sexual preferences. I feel if there is a sense of community and trust within our base the better the physical and mental health will be. I believe they can also be improved by adopting or fostering a pet to have love and snuggles while the ships are out to sea. There is a group for almost everything you can imagine on the Yokosuka base and I have made quite a few myself. Facebook is the primary platform for spouses in Japan. Even with COVID lockdowns through connections on Facebook, I am still actively helping the community in any way I can.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
There is a group for almost everything you can imagine on the Yokosuka base and I have made quite a few myself. Facebook is the primary platform for spouses in Japan. Even with COVID lockdowns through connections on Facebook, I am still actively helping the community in any way I can. Creating positive posts, mental check-ins and helping spouses on Facebook is just one simple way to help. I also get to share the cute animals from PAWS that are up for adoption or fostering to the local groups. I am active not just in Yokosuka groups but, military spouse groups in Japan, and the US.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I want to encourage others to find their voice. As a military spouse that usually gets muffled being that we are always dependent on our spouse for the majority of things related to the military. I want the spouses who question their placement in their community to step out and try something new. Such as finding a group that matches their interests, volunteering, making friends, and exploring their new PCS location. I would also like to encourage these spouses to learn about the military, learn the language, the traditions, and how to read an LES. Most importantly I want spouses to be empowered to take care of themselves, mentally and physically, actively advocating for their own bodies and how they feel.
Tiffany is a model spouse for how to excel and networking overseas despite the limitations that often beset military spouses in their career endeavors. In addition to being a full time student, she is a volunteer for the USO, Fleet and Family Service Center, Pets Are Worth Saving, President of the Military Spouse Sponorship Program, and an Ombudsman for the US Navy. She also volunteers additional time in the community to create local meet and greets for new spouses in the Yokosuka, Japan area to get to know each other.
- by Lissy Gantt