FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – A permanent change of station can be overwhelming for Soldiers and their Families, but Military OneSource has all the free resources they may need to overcome the challenges associated with moving.
Military OneSource is a Department of Defense-funded program that provides an informational and support hub for military communities at https://www.militaryonesource.mil, covering topics from tax assistance and spouse employment to moving and housing benefits. Active-duty, Reserve, or National Guard Soldiers and Family members enrolled in DEERS are all eligible to sign up.
“Military OneSource is like preventative medicine,” said Herb Rivera, Tennessee’s Military OneSource consultant. “What I’ve tried to instill in everybody at Fort Campbell is that it’s important to start working on these things and be proactive, because moves and deployments are major endeavors.”
“The more organized and knowledgeable you are, the easier and better it’s going to be for the Soldiers and Families,” he said.
Rivera recommends setting up an account on Military OneSource immediately after receiving PCS orders, which allows Soldiers and Families enough time to determine their individual needs. They can also call the program hotline at 800-342-9647 for further assistance.
“Military OneSource is different for everybody, and that’s the key,” Rivera said. “It’s not a one pill takes care of all solution, and it’s designed that way because there are so many resources that we have.”
A full list of PCS-related services is available at https://www.militaryonesource.mil/moving-housing/moving/moving-resources/, but Rivera said two of the most important are Plan My Move and MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
Plan My Move creates a custom checklist that Soldiers and Families can use to keep track of the PCS process. Creating a Military OneSource account allows them to track their progress as they move through the checklist and download copies for personal use.
“Once someone knows they’ve got orders, they can go to Plan My Move,” Rivera said. “It’s very easy. The only thing they’ll do is ask you where you’re moving from and where you’re moving to, and the rest is history. You just follow the prompts, and it will keep giving you information based on your answers.”
MilitaryINSTALLATIONS goes hand-in-hand with that process by making sure Soldiers and Families know what to do when they arrive at their destination.
“What you would do is put down the place you’re going to and hit enter,” Rivera said. “If you were to do that with Fort Campbell, it would show you exactly how the in-processing works here. They give you all the information, telephone numbers, locations and procedures – they’ll even tell you what to do if you’re getting married en route.”
Military OneSource also can help with pet transportation, spouse employment, accommodations for those with special needs and other Family-focused aspects of a PCS.
“We have nonmedical counseling for the transition because moving from one location to another can be traumatic for some children,” Rivera said, adding that Military OneSource also facilitates a sponsorship program to help children adjust to their new environment. “Everybody looks at the service member, but the Families are the ones left behind when they deploy and these services are here for that.”
Rivera recommends Soldiers and spouses create their own Military OneSource accounts to promote privacy and ensure access to the program’s services.
“A lot of Soldiers from Fort Campbell go to Korea for one reason or another,” he said. “But your Family may be staying at Fort Campbell or going back home to their parents. Military OneSource follows those kids and Family members, so it’s not just for the installation.”
Creating separate accounts also can help users feel more comfortable seeking out services like counseling depending on the circumstances, Rivera said.
“There are Soldiers who come back from deployment, for example, and they really want to work on their marriage,” he said. “They’re stressed, but they also know their marriage is tanking. We’ve got nonmedical counseling for stress management to help the Soldier individually, and we have specialty counseling that we can help them set up as a couple for building healthy relationships.”
Military OneSource offers 12 nonmedical counseling sessions that can be used over the course of a year, which can help Soldiers and Families through the stresses associated with a PCS.
“They can do those in three or four month increments by doing sessions once a week if they want,” Rivera said. “If they have another issue they want to address they can get another 12 months or go to specialty counseling, which is unlimited.”
Specialty counseling services offered through Military OneSource can assist anyone from new parents to Family members with special needs, making them a valuable resource for military moves.
“Any change is hard on a Family,” Rivera said. “When you go through a change you need support, and that’s what Military OneSource does ... for 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year we provide a platform for information that helps Soldiers and Family members overcome challenges and thrive in their endeavors.”