Tag Archives: moving

Successful PCS secrets

By Senior Master Sgt. André E. KillKelley
28th Logistics Readiness Squadron

move2The permanent change of station season is almost upon us, and with it being a busy time in a military family’s life, it is good to start preparing ahead of time.

The secrets to a successful PCS are preparing early and personally taking control of your household goods movement. The best place to start is at your own computer and by going to the Defense Personal Property Program website at http://www.move.mil.

At the DPPP website, you will be able to check the net weight of your shipment and find out how many days of storage you’re authorized for or have remaining. You will also be able to learn more about how you can transport pets, personal effects and other prohibited items.

In addition, Air Force officials recently announced changes to the Department of Defense policy on transporting a member’s professional books, papers and equipment with their household goods during a PCS.

Known as “pro-gear,” the new PBPE policy will impact orders issued on or after May 1. PBPE will be limited to a maximum of 2,000 pounds, and include items in a member’s possession needed for the performance of official duties at his or her next assignment.

PBPE items include instruments, tools and equipment unique to technicians, mechanics, medical professionals, musicians and members of other professions. They also include specialized clothing, such as diving suits, space suits, flying suits and helmets, band uniforms, chaplains’ vestments, and other specialized apparel and out-of-the-norm uniforms or clothing.

The policy excludes other items of a professional nature that will not be necessary at a member’s next duty station, like text books from schools and personal books, even if they are used as part of a previous professional reading program. This also includes previously allowed items like personal computer equipment, memorabilia and table service.

A PCS can be very exciting, but quite intense as well. Taking steps to ensure you have what you need in a timely manner will definitely help make the process smoother for you and your family.

PHOTO: Changing duty stations can be hard, especially during the peak moving season from May to August. The Defense Personal Property System website is available for Airmen as a one-stop shop where members can completely manage their move process. (Courtesy photo illustration)

Home is where the Air Force sends you

Minot 21st Lt. Victoria Hight
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

I was walking through my office building the other day and overheard several young Airmen discussing how much they hated the location of their current assignment. Everything imaginable about the area was thrown out on the table: it’s so hot here, the amusement parks are always crowded, it’s so far from a big city, it’s too big of a city, and on and on they went.

I’ll admit that I was more than a little shocked. How could they possibly think that way? I wondered.

Growing up in a military family, I moved every two years like clockwork, including a tour overseas. I can’t relate to someone who has grown up with the same friends throughout their school years. I spent most of my time in school being the “new girl.”

I no longer envy their lifestyle like I did when I was younger. I spent time in several foreign countries and lived in multiple states and cities — something I have come to appreciate through my time in college and during my active duty life.

Being in the Air Force means you travel often. You travel to training, to technical school, to professional military education, to more training, to your first base, and on and on it goes. This travel can be across the country, to the next state or even around the world.

With all of this travel comes a unique opportunity many people go their whole lives without experiencing. We get to experience other cultures.

Sure, there are Airmen who haven’t left the United States who are sitting at their desk wondering, “What culture? I’m in Ala-stinking-bama.” But, culture is more than just foreigners speaking a different language or dressing in clothing unlike our own. Culture is art, literature, food and music. Culture is always in motion. I like to think of it as the energy that flows in each unique group of people. It’s what makes them..well..them!

FE Warren

My first assignment was to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. It came as a surprise — the base wasn’t even listed on my assignment sheet. Oh well! I had lived in Louisiana growing up, so I figured I’d be familiar with the traditions of the city. Wrong! I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the area. The same area that hosted a farmers market in the morning also boasted a jazz festival in the evening. Now, I went into that assignment a little hesitant. After all, who hasn’t heard of the base nickname being “Bark-atraz”? Still, I didn’t let that keep me from having an open mind about the area. The sense of community at that assignment was unrivaled, and the Shreveport-Bossier area enhanced the experience even more.

Fast forward to my next assignment in San Antonio, Texas. The culture here includes the lively Riverwalk with sizzling fajitas and boisterous mariachi bands serenading the crowds. It also means cowboy boots and rodeos, the Majestic Theatre and the symphony. Think of the vibrantly colored foods, countless festivals and parades…the city absolutely buzzes with energy and is saturated with culture. How could you not enjoy an assignment here? Sure, it’s hot. Lots of places are hot. Some places are cold (howdy, Minot Air Force Base, N.D.!). Some places are windy, or crowded, or in the middle of nowhere (who’s heard of Cannon AFB, N.M.?).

The point is not every base is going to be at the top of your dream sheet, and at some point in your career, you’ll probably get assigned to a base that wasn’t even listed on your sheet. Will you be happy with it? Probably not, but you’ll still have to go. It’s part of what we signed up for.

So here’s the challenge. Get up and get out there! There is no sense in complaining about where the Air Force has stationed you, because you’re there, like it or not. You might as well enjoy a little food and fiesta while you’re at it!

PHOTO 1: Airmen and their families use hay to make scarecrows during the 15th Annual Fall Festival, Sept. 21, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jose L. Hernandez)

PHOTO 2: Shane Black and Kyle Holt, Outdoor Recreation employees, ride through a deep mud puddle Aug. 17, 2013. The pair was with the F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Outdoor Recreation as the chaperones for an ATV adventure at Albany Lodge, Albany, Wyo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle)

Experienced a Good Move? Bad Move? JPMO Needs Your Feedback

USTRANSCOM Ah, moving day. It’s finally here. You planned for it months in advance. You were as organized as could be. You made your to-do lists and stuck by them, found a new home, donated some old belongings, said your goodbyes, and visited your favorite restaurant for the last time. However, no matter how much you plan, your move might never go perfectly.

It goes without saying that the moving process is stressful for our Airmen and civilian employees no matter how many times they move. With each move, you learn something new and try to do things differently the next time around. There’s one more small but important task you need to include in your moving process—the Customer Satisfaction Survey.

USTRANSCOM’s Joint Program Management Office Household Goods System is working on making your move better, but they need your help. Take some time out of unpacking and exploring your new community to answer a very short survey about your moving experience. Within several days of your household goods being delivered, check your e-mail inbox for the Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) link. Be honest and thoughtful. Your feedback about moving services has an effect on future moves for yourself and your fellow Airmen. If you had a really bad experience, you don’t want anyone else to go through what you went through. If you had a fantastic experience, why not let JPMO know and spread the joy to others?

“We need every DoD servicemember and civilian to remember that the CSS is your opportunity to tell us about your move, and we’ve got to hear the ground truth, ” Col. Michael J. Miller, JPMO program director, said.

To check out the complete article on moving from JPMO, see today’s DOD Live blog post “Family Focus: Making Busy Summer Move Season more Efficient.” The article also includes links to helpful moving tips and resources.