Soldiers and Families should get a move on PCS season
June 14, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Soldiers and Family Members of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) who are moving are reminded that timeliness is essential during the upcoming summer months.
"Every year from roughly June through the early part of September -- DoDwide -- we experience peak season, which is the major time that most people move," explained Eric King, installation transportation officer at Fort Drum's Directorate of Logistics. He said that is true whether it is a permanent-change-of-station or an expiration-of-term-of-service move.
DOL's Personal Property Shipping Office, located in Clark Hall, handles shipments of personal property and household goods.
With the return of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and their 90-day stabilization ending this summer, Fort Drum has had an even bigger impact on the transportation industry's ability to get people moved, King added.
Fort Drum is currently experiencing a saturation of the market, which means there are more moves than movers, which is causing a backlog.
"We have approximately 46 moves scheduled between now and July 6 that I do not have awards for," King said. An award for a move basically means there is a moving company scheduled to pick up a Soldier's household goods from Fort Drum.
King noted that although they anticipated saturation of the market, transportation service providers were booked faster than they expected. Not only does this issue affect Soldiers on and off post, but it also affects in-bound Soldiers, King explained.
"If other installations are having issues, it takes longer for people reporting to Fort Drum for their household goods to arrive here," he said. "Fort Drum is in this with every other installation in the continental U.S., so what happens at Fort Dix (N.J.) or at Fort Campbell (Colo.) also affects the ability of carriers up here."
Transportation Office staff members hope to remedy the issue by encouraging Soldiers and Family Members to make an appointment with the PPSO as soon as Soldiers receive their orders.
The staff also reminds S-1s to provide orders to Soldiers as soon as they are received. Also, PPSO does not require a leave form to schedule an appointment.
"We have seen a lot of Soldiers hold onto their orders and come the week before they want to move, and we can rarely accommodate their desired move date during peak season," King explained. "If we get them out a couple months when they get their orders, we're very successful there."
King also offers alternate options for Soldiers who are moving this summer.
For smaller shipments, less than 5,000 pounds, the Transportation Office staff can assist Soldiers and Families by using a contracted "direct procurement move" company.
For larger shipments -- more than 5,000 pounds -- there is the option of a personally procured move, which entails the Family seeking a moving company and being reimbursed at the government rate, or the Family or Soldier can perform a "do-it-yourself" or DITY move.
Before Soldiers make this decision, they should contact the PPSO to receive counseling. At that time, the options will be explained to the Soldier and Family.
"We do encourage anyone who sees a delay in their move, due to the saturated market, to perform a DITY if they're able in order to get themselves moved on time," King said. "At least they will get where they need to be with their stuff."
King noted Army personnel are doing everything they can to help installations, movers and Soldiers to stay on track for their move.
As soon as Soldiers receive their orders, King asks that they contact the PPSO at 772-7776 to make an appointment for counseling. The office staff will establish the Soldier in the system and arrange an appointment.
Soldiers wishing to do a self counsel can visit www.move.mil. Once the self counsel is completed, a Soldier can go into the PPSO with a copy of his or her orders to schedule an appointment.
"We're doing pretty well with counseling appointments within our office, which we have control over," King noted. "We want to get you into the system as early as possible so we can get you moved as close to the date as you desire."