Disclaimer: Please be sure to go through the proper channels when creating a Command Sponsorship Packet. This page is only meant to act as a guide and is for educational purposes only.
Command Sponsorship (CS) is for service members (SM) who wish to bring their families with them to an overseas assignment. Service members must complete a packet that will be sent to the overseas gaining unit. There, the commanders will either approve or deny the packet within 72 hours. If an SM does bring their family, their assignment in Korea will last 2 years instead of 1.
If a CS packet is denied, don’t give up. Ask why then see if there is any way to resubmit the packet. Usually, it is EFMP paperwork that hasn’t been updated or a miscommunication with the actual needs of an EFMP family member v. suggested needs given by a doctor. Be sure that everything in an EFMP file is updated and accurate based upon the needs of the family members.
In 2007, we were all packed and ready to go to England. Can you believe it? The land of green hills and Doctor Who! I was devastated when we received a denial of our Command Sponsorship Packet because of my EFMP status. At the time, I was managing my Fibromyalgia through exercise and motrin but my doctor wanted to be sure that I had everything I may need while in Europe. So, he wrote down trigger point injections, weekly chiropractor visits, physical therapy, narcotics etc. The list was a mile long of treatments I didn’t need but I thought I was filling out my EFMP correctly. Obviously I was misinformed.
Be honest, truthful and reasonable with an EFMP packet. Never lie and put down
There are also other options to coming to South Korea if a family is willing to pay for the move out of their own pocket. NonCommand Sponsored (NCS) families have less benefits than CS families but coming here is still an option.
All families coming to South Korea must be aware of their benefits. Please google the following matrix when making command sponsorship decisions.
Google: Camp Humphreys Command Sponsorship versus non-command sponsorship matrix
Why was a Command Sponsorship Packet Denied?
No room for new families as the base shuts down or is handed over to the ROK. This is true for most US bases near the DMZ, such as Camp Casey. US Forces are consolidating it’s troops to Osan and Humphreys and giving more land back to the ROK near the DMZ and Seoul.
Medical facilities are not able to provide the specialized care dependents may need. There are limited specialists in all fields, including speech therapy and prenatal care.
A commander has a limited number of command sponsorship slots and may not have room for a new family in their company.
It is important to not have any marital disputes or police records while having served in the military.
There are many nuances to the command sponsorship approval process and many more reasons, than those listed, for why a family may be denied. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they try to receive a Concurrent Travel Command Sponsorship is waiting too long to get started. As soon the service member sees that they are on assignment for South Korea it is imperative to get to a Levy Brief and start the Command Sponsorship process right away. I have seen soldiers try to fight their new assignment and wait until the last minute to start their packet. They end up only being successful in making their families travel later to catch up with them.
How to Complete a EFMP Packet
Don’t wait until a month away from PCSing to begin the packet. Families will find themselves applying too late to receive concurrent travel orders and risk shipping household goods over and paying for any extra weight above 25% (the allowed weight for single soldiers) if the CS packet is denied. Start as soon as the assignment shows up in the ERB, preferably 6 months out. Each prospective unit will have a list of documents needed to complete a CS packet. The 501st MI BDE in Yongsan spells out exactly what a service member needs to do to complete a packet. Eight Army Korea also provides a list of documents for soldiers applying in the states and for those who are already here.
Order Medical Records ASAP
I was lucky enough to enjoy offpost medical care with John Hopkins Family Health in Maryland. But when it came to getting my command sponsorship, I had to have medical records for the whole family ordered ahead of time. Luckily Hopkins was really fast and professional but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had to wait a full month.
Make Medical Appointments with Doctors and Begin EFMP Paperwork Right Away
I had Michelle Tornabene with EFMP at Ft Meade and she made the process simple and straight forward with detailed emails and quick response times. She was a rock star and I hope everyone has as great an experience with EFMP as I did. Appointments can be hard to come by, so make them as soon as possible and be sure to keep them.
Don’t lie on Medical Paperwork
It may be tempting to say that a child doesn’t actually need speech therapy or that a heart condition isn’t really a big deal. Even though South Korea is a technologically advanced country with amazing medical care, everyone here mostly speaks Korean. There are a few English speakers outside of base, like the realtors, but on a whole many people won’t understand you, including emergency personnel. That means there are only enough billets for certain medical conditions as Humphreys has trained medical personnel. For English speaking families living offpost (which is more likely since family housing isn’t built quite yet) calling the local 119 for emergency care isn’t a viable option, operators often speak only Korean. Families must call Camp Humphreys for an English operator to translate which reduces emergency service’s response time. Be realistic in the needs of yourself and your family.
Get a titer for Adult dependents and make an appointment for Vaccinations
My EFMP coordinator was on the ball. After I finished my EFMP packet she made appointments for me to get my MMR and other antibodies checked and to have vaccinations done for the family. Service Members are separate for medical outprocessing so families need to be sure they have everything the need before leaving for South Korea. Some vaccinations, like Japanese Encephalitis, are more difficult to get on the peninsula than in the states.
My family received; Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid and Hepatitis A. My youngest was really unhappy with all the shots. He screamed at the top of his lungs for fifteen minutes and after the shots were done he stopped right away and asked “Is that it?” Thankfully my oldest was more brave and he came out champ. It will take two visits, a month apart, to complete the Japanese Encephalitis.
After Submitting paperwork at any level, keep checking back
This is true for anything in the bureaucratic snarl that is the backbone of the Army. After submitting the CS packet to South Korea, check back in a week. If there is no response after 3 business days, it’s possible that the packet is missing a document and is stuck on someone’s desk or there was a Korean holiday. Be polite, kind and patient when checking up on the CS packet.
It took a little over a month to put our packet together which included waiting for paperwork and getting appointments. It took another 2 weeks for our packet to be reviewed and approved in South Korea. South Korea is required to respond within 72 hours but we checked back in a week to find that there was a form missing in our packet. They don’t call to tell you if there is anything missing so make sure you check up on it!
See anything I need to fix? Am I missing something? Email me at SigFlipsTheTable@gmail.com or leave a comment.
Last Updated: July 24, 2016