FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Now is the time for Soldiers to prepare for peak moving season which begins May 15 and continues through Aug. 31. Connie Silk, supervisor of the Relocation Readiness Program, Army Community Service, hopes Soldiers will use all the tools at their disposal to make their permanent change of station moves, or PCS, a smooth one.
One of the moves Soldiers will potentially make is within the 48 contiguous states, or CONUS. There are several steps Soldiers should take to prepare for the move, Silk said. To ensure the PCS is a stress-free experience, Soldiers need to be proactive about their upcoming move.
“The Soldier is placed on assignment instruction normally by the Human Resource Command [or HRC],” Silk said. “HRC will send out assignment instructions notification to command and to the Soldier’s official Army email.”
Once a Soldier has received instructions, Silk said, the Reassignments office will send an email to the Soldier and his or her S1 shop listing what forms are required to be completed for submission. If the Soldier completes the packet in a timely manner, at the request of Reassignments, his or her orders will be published and emailed to the Solder’s S1 shop and his or her official Army email address.
Once the Soldier has received published orders, it is time to begin the process of organizing the move itself, Silk said.
“They must take their PCS orders to the Transportation office first to schedule household shipment,” she said. “Peak PCS season is starting so there could be a four- to six-week delay to schedule an appointment to pack and ship household goods.”
The Transportation office will also handle issues such as plane tickets or vehicle transport depending on each Soldier’s orders and circumstances.
Silk said it is imperative Soldiers read their PCS orders carefully to check for mistakes, especially if Families are involved in the move.
“If there are any discrepancies then the Soldier needs to contact his or her S1 and the Reassignments office to request an amendment to the orders,” she said.
For those who have questions about a CONUS PCS move, Army Community Service-Relocation Readiness offers weekly classes, Silk said.
“The Relocation office offers the ‘CONUS: Smooth Move’ every Thursday 1:30-3 p.m. virtually,” she said. “Registration is required to allow the Relocation team to determine whether to conduct the orientation virtually or face to face and prepare the PCS tools packet for the registered attendees.”
During the class, ACS staff talk to Soldiers about things to think about including a personally procured move, PCS leave, making moving arrangements through the Transportation office, early reporting, contacting the Housing Services office for housing needs, check-in procedures, the Exceptional Family Member Program, health care, and spouse employment, Silk said.
“We try to help them make an assessment of their needs to make the best decisions for themselves and their family, before arriving their new duty station, and make sure they make contact with the service providers,” she said. “Clearing the installation is the last step before departing Fort Campbell, We can assist in explaining the process to clear the installation and refer the soldier to Transitions Services in the Soldier Support Center to request their clearing packet.”
Steps divided into two groups, critical and floating, she said.
Critical tasks include organizing the move through transportation and personal property and getting the published orders.
Floating steps such as viewing the automated welcome packet online at https://installations.militaryonesource.mil can completed when at the time when decisions are made about where to live at the new duty station, what PCS finance entitlements are available, how many days are authorized to drive to the new duty station, will the Soldier take PCS leave.
Soldiers who are unclear of what the next step in the process is or what they should tackle first should reach out to an ACS relocation specialist to schedule an individual counseling, Silk said.
“The biggest thing people need to do is stay in touch with their command and S1, and if they don’t understand something to ask questions before their PCS orders are published,” she said. “When they’re notified they are on assignment instructions, they need to be proactive and begin checking steps off the PCS checklist.”