on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 at 1:42pm.
It’s not a matter of if you will have a Permanent Change of Duty Station (PCS), it’s a matter of when and where. That’s the reality for our nation’s armed forces. Often times, the soldier and his or her family will have a new duty station already in mind. Sometimes they will get it and other times, not so much. Now, what happens when the soldier gets orders to Alaska?
It should come as no surprise that a successful PCS or any operation in the military is deeply wrapped in chaos. While soldier and family are mastering their chaotic situation (each is unique to the soldier and their loved ones), there are some key stops they must hit for a smooth transfer.
Base Transportation Office
Each military branch has a different title for this office. For the Army: Installation Transportation Office. Air Force: Traffic Management Office. Coast Guard: Household Goods Shipping Office. No matter the name or branch, reach out to them in order to find out information moving options, entitlements and what moving expenses will be paid.
Household Goods are all the items you would find in a home (furniture, appliances and personal items). Household goods can include motorcycles, boats and exclude goods up for sale or being used commercially. Visit move.mil and discover what items will get shipped and what the limitations are. Find out what professional items are covered (unfortunately, ARs and 1911s do not count except in very defined cases).
For the “Do-It-Yourselfers” there is the personally procured move known as the DITY Move (Do-It-Yourself Move). The Government will reimburse these hero’s for making the move on their own. Know what the rules are and whether or not moving this way works for your situation. Depending on the time of year, the drive to Alaska is absolutely amazing.
Reach Out to Unit Sponsors
Sponsors are unit designated soldiers who help incoming soldiers and their family “prep the battlefield” when moving to a new base. It’s important to keep in mind that they too are soldiers and are dealing with their own chaos, so being proactive in communication once they’ve been identified will go a long way.
Very important, service members should have an idea where they are financially. Moving to a new state, or country, can get pricey. Your Branch will provide support, to include advances on a case by case basis.
There are family advocacy programs and departments to help with a service member’s family. JBER’s Military & Family Readiness Centers offers programs in employment assistance, transition assistance and personal financial readiness to name a few. Also included with each military branch is the Exceptional Family Member Program which provides extra support to the family with special needs.
If living off base is the route being taken, sponsors and local Realtors play a huge role. Reach out early, contact often, and get the information needed to make a good decision on where you will want to live or send kids to school. Sports, music and local activity information is readily available with the smallest amount of digging.
In conclusion, there are many implied actions needed to make your next change of station easy and efficient. Once you receive your orders, it’s important to get all of the necessary tasks taken care of. First, you will want to make it to all the necessary briefs. Next, you will want to get your unit and base checklist knocked out as soon as possible. Also, you’ll want to know as much information as you can on the new duty station, unit, area activities and everything in between. Factor in whether you would like to live on or off base, then contact me if off base housing ends up on the menu!
Note: It should be noted that if a soldier is getting stationed to Alaska or any other Outside Continental US (OCONUS) there is a brief that outlines everything here in detail. x