Those that become part of the U.S. Armed Forces will at some point be involved in a military move. This is normally the case when assigned to TDY (Temporary Duty) or due to receipt of PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders.
A military move is nothing like a local or out-of-state transfer, but it is a temporary relocation to fulfill a set of orders for 3 to 4 years for enlisted and officers. However, it could also be less – it really depends on the type of assignment, the branch of service the members serves, if it is unaccompanied or an accompanied tour, and whether or not it is a deployment or for training.
Regardless of the circumstance for transfer, such a move can be stressful. It is best to keep calm and plan ahead to have it be a smooth transition. No matter if it is to be relocated within the United States – in military terms this is a CONUS (Continental United States) move – or overseas – known as an OCONUS (Outside Continental United States) reassignment – it will take a deal of preparation.
Not every military move is the same, so it is worth the time and effort to figure out what one needs. Next are five tips that can be used for a smooth move.
1) Do essential paperwork. Some U.S. military families who are enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), for example, have paperwork to have command sponsorship of a family member who has either physical or emotions disorders to attend to. In order to be considered in the military personnel moving assignment process, such information must be noted.
2) Get a visa or passport when traveling abroad on military orders. Both the service member and family members who will accompany the sponsor will need them.
3) Obtain referral and relocation assistance. Each military branch of service has a Housing Management Office (HMO) that can make sure the service member is prepared for the transition. It is the ideal place to know about housing options, schools and employment for family members, if they come along too.
4) Acquire legal liability and personal property insurance. This is a must-have to protect one’s property goods that are being shipped or moved. As it turns out, not all moving companies can be trusted.
5) Make a checklist. Whether moving all items or taking along essential things, it’s important to make a packing list or an inventory of those items that will be brought, especially for those most valuable possessions. A photograph of important items may also be a good idea.
Speaking of a checklist, here are some items that might be on one. For example, a military move checklist could include the following 10 items:
1) Contact the Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO). This is who facilitates the transportation and storage of military household goods. They provide the people who will do the entire process of packing.
2) Military TDY/PCS orders
3) Medical and dentist records
4) Visa and/or passport (essential for OCONUS)
5) Shipment of vehicle (essential for OCONUS)
6) Vet records (for moving pets)
7) Check regulations for bringing a pet
8) Children’s items
9) Household goods (have another list to name those items that need packing)
10) Take emergency contact information (an essential item to carry on oneself at all times)
Above is a “Do-It-Yourself” checklist that can be used. Not everything on the list may concern the military service member or the family. And, it could, of course, include many more items on it. This is only to give one the idea. Think of it as a moving day planner. It basically comes down to being organized for the move.
Rather than relying only on the government to carry out the transfer of a moving service member (and a military family), why not take part in it. The tips and checklist is sure to provide enough information on what to expect and how to prepare for the entire moving process.