Kai Yuan, retirement services officer for U.S. Army Garrison Japan, poses for a photo in Building 102, Camp Zama, Japan, Oct. 14.
Kai Yuan, retirement services officer for U.S. Army Garrison Japan, poses for a photo in Building 102, Camp Zama, Japan, Oct. 14. (Photo Credit: Photo by Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Oct. 16, 2020) – Although U.S. Army Garrison Japan had to cancel this year’s annual Retiree Appreciation Day due to COVID-19, it is important for members of the community to know staff are available every day to help with retirement issues.

Kai Yuan, retirement services officer for USAG Japan, and his staff of two transition services specialists work in Building 102 on Camp Zama and provide assistance with retirement applications, information on policies and procedures, briefings on benefits and more.

“As Soldiers prepare for retirement, there are a lot of policies and procedures that they are not aware of [existing],” Yuan said. “There are also decisions they will have to make which will be difficult without proper planning and guidance. The Army recognizes this and wants to make sure we take care of the Soldiers and their families who have contributed so much to our nation.”

Active duty, National Guard, and Reserve Soldiers and their families, as well as retirees and their families, qualify for services, Yuan said.

For retirees and their families, the services are important because the office is the link for them and the ever-changing Army, Yuan said.

“Whether it’s pay or [Veterans Affairs] benefits issues, it’s not easy for retirees, especially the older ones, to keep up with all of the information,” Yuan said. “It is also very important for us to support the surviving spouses to ensure they receive all of the benefits they’re entitled to.”

Many surviving spouses do not know what to do when their retiree spouse dies, so it is critical for the office to do everything they can to support them, Yuan said.

The office also supports retirees with retirement pay issues and obtaining tax documents, Yuan said, and personnel assist surviving retiree spouses with federal and state benefits as well.

In addition, it is important for Soldiers and veterans to know there are retirement services officers at every major Army installation located in the continental United States, as well as in several countries around the world, Yuan said.

“We want to make sure Soldiers and their families know that the Army cares about them and are here to support them during and after their career ends,” Yuan said.

People can reach Yuan at kai.t.yuan.civ@mail.mil or (DSN) 315-263-3940 or (COMM) 046-407-3940 to make an appointment or ask a question. The garrison requires everyone to wear a mask inside the building, and hand sanitizer and wipes are available in the office for visitors.

The office’s briefings include: VA benefits (education, disability and more); preretirement; Survivor Benefit Plan; financial readiness; Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments; and Combat-Related Special Compensation.

The office also helps with transition services. Community members can find more information about retirement and transition issues at https://soldierforlife.army.mil.