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Permanent Change of Station: What You Should Know

Permanent Change of Station: What You Should Know

Story by PO3 Kristen C Yarber on 01/14/2019

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Jan. 9, 2019) Nearly every Sailor at some point in their career will make a permanent change of station (PCS) move. Receiving orders and traveling to another command may seem like a simple task, but there are many factors to consider when moving to a different duty station.

One thing Sailors should think about is where exactly they will live at their next command. Whether on or off base, they should familiarize themselves with the area and learn about their lodging opportunities.

Sailors stationed aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) have many lodging options including the barracks, public-private venture (PPV), military housing, or off-base housing. However, they need to be aware that their next command may not have as many housing options.

“Find out as much information as you can before you PCS,” said Heather Walker, a work and family life consultant for Fleet and Family Support Center. “Do not wait until the last minute to find a place to live.”

Fortunately, most service members can utilize online resources that have valuable information concerning their next duty station. Command websites and Facebook pages are good ways to get a general knowledge of the area, location, and lodging options.

Another avenue to obtain more detailed information is to consult someone presently at the Sailor’s future command.

“In your orders, there is a point of contact,” said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class April Lopez, the supervisor for George Washington’s personnel department’s blue team, a personnel division that deals with travel advances and claims.. “Read your orders fully to find the point of contact, talk to them, and they will help you.”

After learning about accommodations, Sailors should start scheduling their move.

“To schedule your move, first get your orders from your command’s personnel department,” said Lopez. “Then contact the personal property shipping office in Norfolk, bring your orders to them, and they will help you out with the rest.”

Lopez said there are two options when it comes to moving household goods: packing everything on their own or utilizing military movers.

“If you choose movers, make sure you don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your move,” said Walker. “Make sure moving orders are received promptly.”

Once the move is scheduled, Sailors can pick what method of travel works best for them. For those traveling outside of the continental United States, flying is the only option. However, Sailors moving within the continental U.S. have the option to drive or fly.

“Consider whether you are going to have enough money to travel,” said Lopez. “If not, you can do a travel advance. Do it early so you’ll have fewer issues and discuss whether you have any special travel requirements for the family.”

Sailors can request a travel advance, which is money specifically allocated to help Sailors with travel and moving costs associated with a permanent change of station. According to the official DFAS website, Sailors need to complete the TDY Travel Advance Request DFAS Form 9213. The advances may be requested any time before the travel period begins; however, they will not be processed until 10 days prior to departure.

Overall, Sailors have numerous resources to help them conduct a PCS move. Between the Fleet and Family Support Center, personnel department, sponsors, websites, and orders, Sailors should reach out early and often to ensure a smooth and successful move.

For more information about PCS moves, Sailors should contact their departmental sponsor coordinator.

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