July is the midst of peak moving season, and 60,000 Soldiers, Family members and Army civilians are expected to change duty stations from May to September. Especially the first time, a Permanent Change of Station can be intimidating; not knowing anyone at your new duty station, where to shop, where to entertain kids and deciding where to live are decisions that need to be made in brief period of time. Perhaps the best time to start planning for a PCS is when you’ve put away your last items on a move. A great starting point is www.move.mil, the official DOD customer moving portal, which can help you with a lot of questions you may have. Another resource is to acquire a sponsor at your destination which will provide invaluable experience about the post and the region, and be able to connect you with key agencies in the area.
A crucial aspect to a smooth PCS is to anticipate and budget for the special expenses you’ll encounter, including off-base housing, replacing household items you cannot transport, transferring your child to a new school, vehicle registration, pet expenses and the cost of cleaning and repair during move-out. Having an estimate for these costs in advance helps you set aside just a little each month to reach that target.
ACS Relocation Readiness
Upon arrival at your new duty station, Army Community Services can lend a hand acclimating you with the region, the area schools and even providing short-term use of critical items. Diedra Mensah, Fort Belvoir coordinator of the ACS Relocation Readiness Program, said it provides support with materials, guidance and training.
“ACS offers orientation for new families, with packets and info about the base and programs available in the area,” she said. Mensah noted that the 30-page booklet for Fort Belvoir is being revised to update sections on the best places for house wares across the region, and with updated base maps.
“Our lending closet offers household goods, such as sleeping mats, chairs, irons, utensils and cookware on a first-come, first-served basis. We like to make sure they have a comfortable space while waiting for household goods to arrive,” said Mensah.