By Valerie Collins (Leonard Wood Volunteer)November 30, 2017
When a service member receives orders for a Permanent Change of Station it can be both exciting and overwhelming. The Army offers a lot of programs that help guide service members and their families through the maze of relocation.
Gabe Medina, Army Community Service relocation manager, and Elisa Johnson, relocation assistant, work together to ensure all relocating families receive the resources they need to help them plan and be successful.
"It is important to be prepared, because for every move, circumstances are different and the small things come up," Johnson said.
She suggests that anyone needing assistance with a PCS should make an appointment with the relocation specialists at ACS. This allows them to assess each unique situation and provide information and resources specific to their needs.
PCS orders can come any time of year, but according to Medina, the summer time is the busiest time for military moves.
The Department of Defense urges service members and their families to plan ahead during these peak times as the wait for necessary resources may be longer.
"Every situation is so different that I recommend that they (service members and family) come in and have a one-on-one," Johnson said.
Johnson recommends the program "Plan My Move" as an online resource that can also help organize military family's move. This resource can be accessed through Military OneSource.
Information that is available through ACS includes finance, transportation and resources at the incoming and losing posts.
Johnson also recommends a class called "Money and the Move" which is held the first Wednesday of every month at ACS. This class is mandatory for all first-term Soldiers but spouses and anyone seeking information on how to financially plan for a PCS are also encouraged to attend.
"Another good tool is the school liaison officer," said Johnson. She said school transfers and employment tend to be a high priority for family members and the transition can be hard without guidance.
The Employment Readiness Program, also offered through ACS, is there to help with resumes, transferring jobs and more.
Johnson encourages family members to stop by ACS as a "first stop" because they can help in all aspects.
Medina said regardless of season, ACS will ensure that everyone receives the services they need.
Johnson's last piece of advice is to remember, "everywhere you go is different. You always have things come up (during a PCS) that are unplanned. Just get ready to be flexible."
Fort Leonard Wood ACS is located on Replacement Ave. in building 486. They can be reached by calling 573.596.0131 ext. 60212.