FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – When Pfc. James Barber, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, arrived at Fort Campbell last month with his wife, Savannah McMahon, they had lodging on post, but no crockpot to cook chicken noodle soup in their new home.
A quick trip to the Army Community Service-Relocation Readiness Program and its large Lending Closet March 16 solved that problem and also provided them with a few other basic household items until the two 19 year olds can get on their feet.
The Lending Closet, located inside ACS at 1501 William C. Lee Road, is just one of the many services the Relocation Readiness Program at Fort Campbell offers for Soldiers and their Families who are arriving or leaving Fort Campbell for a permanent change of station, said Connie Silk, ACS-Relocation Readiness Program manager.
The program was established to reduce stress Soldiers and Families feel when moving, whether it’s inbound or outbound, Silk said.
Barber and McMahon met with Silk for one-on-one counseling, something she suggests all newcomers do, especially those new to the Army and its way of life. She might not have answers to all questions, but she has a vast network of resources from other Fort Campbell agencies, other installations and surrounding cities and counties.
“You want Soldiers and Families to get the right information from the right resource partners, so we network and have partnerships with them,” Silk said.
Soldiers and Families shouldn’t wait until they arrive at Fort Campbell to take advantage of some of the resources provided by the Relocation Readiness Program, she said.
A Soldiers reassignment processing begins upon receipt of assignment instructions, and ends with the issuance of PCS orders in accordance with Army Regulation 600-8-105 The ACS-Relocation Readiness Program emails the Soldiers on assignment, a separate email, she said. Soldiers will receive an email with information about the program, its offerings and an invitation to register to attend the weekly Smooth Move Orientation, Silk said.
Depending on whether a Soldier is going overseas or staying stateside, the team can work to provide them the information they need to know about PCS travel, housing, per diem allowances, and screening that is required for Family members and who can assist with requesting command sponsorship approval for overseas assignments.
Soldiers and Families also are emailed an Automated Welcome Packet for the new duty station or if arriving, for Fort Campbell. The packets also are available online and include information about check-in procedures, housing, employment, education, medical and dental services, directory of services and the local community, Silk said. The automated welcome packets can be found at https://installations.militaryonesource.mil.
A postwide interactive Soldier and Family Orientation for Newcomers is hosted 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Cole Park Commons, 1610 101st Airborne Division Road.
The Newcomers’ Orientation is an interactive orientation for the command team to welcome and inform newly arrived Soldiers, civilian employees and their Family members of the many support services available on Fort Campbell and the surrounding communities. In partnership with Kalsu Replacement Company, new Soldiers in-processing attend the orientation. Married Soldiers are encouraged to invite their spouse to attend the Newcomer’s, she said. The spouse has the opportunity to network with other spouses, connect with the Spouse Career Center for employment, housing on their permanent home options, and learn of the medical support on Fort Campbell.
In addition to obtaining information at the ACS building, which reopened to the public March 16, clients can arrange to visit the Lending Closet, Silk said. Basic items for loan include dishes, pots and pans,
sleeping mats, folding tables, chairs, car seats, irons, toasters and coffee pots, along with utensils. The items are loaned to the Soldier and Family member for 30, 60 or 90 days.
“We got a crockpot, a mixing bowl, chairs, table, a skillet … all kinds of stuff,” said Barber, as he and McMahon loaded their car trunk with folding chairs and a box of kitchen gear. “It will help until we can get settled.”
Barber, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, just finished advanced individual training at Fort Eustis, Virginia. This is his first duty station, so the couple is still gathering everything they need.
“My mom told us about it because my dad is retired Army,” McMahon said. “It will help us get on our feet easier.”
Soldiers who have already packed up to go to another duty station also can borrow items for the several days they may spend waiting to leave.
The ACS-Relocation Readiness Program also offers citizenship classes to Soldiers and Family members who are working to become naturalized U.S. citizens, Silk said. Classes are hosted twice a month and registration is required.
For more information on relocation assistance, to schedule an individual counseling session, register for the classes the ACS-Relocation Readiness Program offers, or set up an appointment at the Lending Closet, call 270-798-6313. To view the scheduled classes, visit ACS @FortCampbellACS.