FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – With peak permanent change of station, or PCS, season fast approaching, specialists at Fort Campbell’s Transportation Personal Property and Passenger Travel Office are ready to help Soldiers access the resources they need to move and avoid potentially costly pitfalls.
The Transportation Office, inside the Soldier Support Center, 2702 Michigan Ave., helps outbound Soldiers with required paperwork, tips and briefings to make their moves as smooth as possible, whether they choose to let the government handle the move, do it themselves or some combination of both, said Carri Barnes, Personal Property supervisor for the Personal Property Office.
They also can help inbound service members complete their packet of paperwork and finish the process once they arrive at Fort Campbell.
Orders critical before beginning
Peak PCS season begins in May and lasts throughout the summer. Barnes said the key to having a successful move starts with following correct procedures after official orders are received.
“A lot of people have the misconception that they have to wait until they have clearing papers or they have their leave approved,” she said. “That is not necessary. We encourage people to come in as soon as they have their orders.”
Another pitfall can be starting the process before official orders are received and not getting paid for those expenses, said Jeffery Crippen, transportation specialist, Personal Property Office. That is especially true for those who choose a personally procured move, or PPM.
“They have the option of having the government do the move, where they bring in government contractors that can actually pack up their property and move it,” Crippen said. “Or, they can do what is called a personally procured move, do it themselves, and get compensated for that move. They’re basically being paid for their labor, instead of it being paid to a contractor and so there’s certain steps they have to take in order to do that properly and get compensated for doing the work themselves.”
Soldiers can reap several benefits with a PPM, he said.
“Once they have the orders, they can take steps to start moving their property and they don’t have to wait for a government contract company to come in, so time is a benefit,” Crippen said. “The other is, if they do it right, they could possibly pocket some money for doing the labor themselves, so those are big benefits.”
Caution is key
Payments are based on weight. Those renting a moving truck must have the empty truck weighed at a certified weigh station before filling it and again after it is loaded. That documentation is crucial to getting paid. Any attempt to inflate weight with fraudulent claims can cost a Soldier his or her career.
“The other issue we see a lot of is people who move before they have orders,” Barnes said. “If they start any portion of their move before they have orders in hand, then they will not be eligible to be paid for that move.”
To avoid potential errors, Soldiers should contact the Personal Property Office first. Experienced movers may simply need to arrange for paperwork to be sent to them or find information at www.move.mil and get advice through the Army PCS Move App, which can be downloaded from Google Play and the App Store, Barnes said.
Others, especially those moving for the first time, should attend an in-person briefing before beginning their own move. For Soldiers who want to do a PPM, there are briefings at 9:15 and 10:30 a.m., 12:15 and 2 p.m. most Fridays at the Soldier Support Center by appointment only.
There also are briefings for those planning a combination move.
Class sizes are limited because of COVID-19 safety precautions. To make an appointment, call the Personal Property Office at 270-798-7151.
Most Soldiers will pay for their moving expenses with a government travel card, which is a credit card they may have throughout their career, Barnes said. Lead Defense Travel System administrators within each unit can help Soldiers manage the card, activate it for moving expenses, or help Soldiers who need to apply for a card or check its status.
The Personal Property Office team of specialists also assists those separating and retiring from the service, Barnes said.
“We just want to stress the point, they need to come in as soon as they get their orders and not wait, or it might limit their options,” Barnes said. “If they have questions about their moves, their entitlements, what they should or shouldn’t do, they should be asking us as the subject matter experts. We have so many people that ask their friends or other people outside this office and so many times they’re given incorrect information.