If you are a normal human being, no matter if this is your first PCS or 10th PCS, it is always nerve-wracking! There are always new things to learn with each PCS. I have PCS’d twice in 3 years and have learned some tips to make it a little easier.
My first PCS was CONUS (Contiguous United States) and my second PCS was OCONUS(outside[the]Contiguous United States). I have experienced both and they were different in many ways.
- What should I do when I get confirmation of a new duty station? Research the duty station and its surrounding areas. Decide if you want to live on or off post. If you decide to live on post, call the housing office (even without official orders) let them know you will be coming and you will be added to the waitlist. People make the biggest mistake by waiting till they get official orders before doing any research or getting on the waitlist.
- What briefs are important? ALL briefs that the army offers before PCSing is important. They all link to each other. You will need to complete all your briefs before getting official orders. Pay extra attention in your finance brief and your transportation brief. Those 2 briefs are your bread and butter to making things run smooth when your getting ready to leave to your next duty station.
- Should I do a Dity move or let the Army move me? This is a personal preference. When we moved from state to state, we did a partial dity, which means we moved some of our things and the Army moved the rest. When we did this, we took all our necessities with us in our truck. (i.e. pots, pans, air mattresses, important documents) We took these things so we wouldn’t have to wait for it in our shipment. This saved us a lot of money because we were able to cook and sleep in our home while we waited for our HHG (household goods). When you move OCONUS the Army has to move everything for you.
- What is a government travel card? A government travel card is just like a credit card that is issued from the government. It is for you to use on any expenses for traveling. Keep in mind that government travel cards have to be paid back and do affect your credit like a normal credit card.
- When traveling overseas when is a good time to ship my Personally Owned Vehicle (POV)? When I PCS’d overseas, I sent my vehicle a whole month in advance. I price checked rental cars in the area I was currently living in and then in the area I was about to move to. It was cheaper for me to rent a car in the area I was currently living in. I sent my vehicle a month in advance so it would arrive to my overseas duty station right when I got there. They say to give it about 28 days for a vehicle to arrive. It could come earlier or later depending on the route of the ship it is on. My vehicle arrived a day after I arrived to my overseas duty station, the timing transportation office gave me was about right. You can also track your vehicle while it is in route.
- What are the requirements for shipping a vehicle overseas? The military will ship ONE vehicle for free, as long as it doesn’t pass a certain weight or height. If it does, you may pay a little out of pocket. Your vehicle has to be cleaned inside and out before drop off and must only have a QUARTER tank of gas. My gas was a little over a quarter tank, and I had to drive around until it was exact. Find the nearest port to your base, call them and make an appointment for your vehicle drop off. They will tell you every document to bring, and all their regulations. Every port may differ. Three documents you will most definitely need are your registration, insurance and orders.
- How can I bring my pet overseas? Bringing a pet overseas is a lengthy process. First thing to do is look up your new duty station’s pet policy. Every state or country has different rules. When you get the guidelines for your duty station, print it out and bring it to your veterinarian’s office. From there, they will lead you in the right direction. Please remember to start this process as early as possible, because it can become lengthy. For example, Hawaii being a rabies free state, it requires your pet to have certain vaccinations, get tested for rabies(results take time), and your pet has to be quarantined for 120 days.
- How to clear on-post housing? I have PCS’d twice and both time I have lived on post. Everyone starts getting anxiety thinking that they will not clear. Let me tell you from first hand experience, it’s easier than you think. The main thing housing looks for is that it looks decent. I vacuum, mop, wipe the base boards, dust the window seals, wipe down the inside of all the cabinets, scrub the bathtubs and sinks, clean the toilets, scrub the kitchen sink, wipe down the stove(inside and out), cut the grass, and throw ALL my trash away. I know it seems like a lot, but think of it as spring cleaning. There is no need to hire someone to clean it for you or leave things out and get charged by housing.
- What cleaning solutions have worked best when preparing your house for clearing? This is an easy question! I have found a product for each appliance, I have done a lot of trial and error with this. Stove: EASY OFF, Bathtub: MR.CLEAN MAGIC ERASER, sink: MR CLEAN MAGIC ERASER, Base boards, MR. CLEAN MAGIC ERASER. Toilets: CLOROX TOILET BOWL CLEANER.
- What are the most important forms and facilities needed to clear for PCS? There are a lot of forms needed, but there are a few that will prevent you from leaving. These are the forms: DA31, DA5434, EFMP(overseas, your whole family needs to be cleared), CIF(central issue facility where you turn in all your gear). Getting all these cleared is important for a smooth PCS. You will be running around a lot from place to place, but it will be worth it when you are leaving your duty station on time.
If any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank You