Government moves can save Soldiers time, money during PCS season

By Ethan Steinquest, Fort Campbell CourierMay 13, 2022

Government moves can save Soldiers time, money during PCS season
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Workers from River City Movers conduct a direct delivery May 9 for Staff Sgt. Cornel Varnado Jr., 194th Military Police Company, 716th Military Police Battalion, at Fort Campbell whose belongings were transported overseas from his previous duty station in Germany during a government move. Pictured are Russell McClendon, driver and crew leader, left; Cory Hemmings, driver; and Craig Carter; driver and crew leader. (Photo Credit: Ethan Steinquest) VIEW ORIGINAL
Government moves can save Soldiers time, money during PCS season
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sergeant Cornel Varnado Jr., 194th Military Police Company, 716th Military Police Battalion, signs for packages May 9 as workers from River City Movers conduct a direct delivery to his home May 9 at Fort Campbell. Varnado was recently reassigned from Germany to Fort Campbell and elected to carry out a government move to transport his Family’s belongings from overseas. (Photo Credit: Ethan Steinquest) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Soldiers and Families can transport their own items during a permanent change of station, or PCS, but they may prefer to have transportation service providers, or TSPs, do the heavy lifting with a government move.

TSPs will handle the entire move from start to finish at no cost, and the government will cover the items under a full replacement value insurance. An installation's transportation or personal property office can help Soldiers determine whether a government move is right for them and guide them through the process.

“With a government move, it’s even more important for them to come to us as soon as they get their orders than it is with a personally procured move, or PPM,” said Carri Barnes, supervisor at the Fort Knox Personal Property, Transportation Office. “And they shouldn’t put in their housing notices until they have everything scheduled.”

Barnes said that’s especially true during peak PCS season, which began this month and continues through August.

“We run into this a lot where Soldiers go and put in their 30-day housing notice,” she said. “But during peak season we’re expecting to be scheduling moves four to six weeks out, so if you go put your notice in before you talk to us there’s a good chance we may not be able to accommodate a move before you’re required to leave housing.”

Scheduling a government move

Soldiers will need to attend Department of Defense-mandated briefings before their first and last government moves. Otherwise, they qualify for self-counseling through the Defense Personal Property System, or DPS, website.

“We have a computer kiosk in here they can use if they’re not a first-time or last-time mover,” said Shayna Wallace, transportation specialist, Personal Property, Transportation Office. “They can come in and use our lab to set everything up, and we also have the option of emailing them a handout.”

During that process, Soldiers are required to choose a seven-day scheduling window, or spread date, when TSPs or an affiliated moving company can pick up their shipment.

“The spread dates started last year right before peak season, so there are still many people who aren’t aware,” Barnes said. “It used to be that when they’d come in and self-counsel, they would say they wanted to have their property picked up on a particular day, but now they have to give us a seven consecutive day window.”

Preparing for transport

From there, Soldiers and Families will need to make sure their belongings are ready when the movers arrive.

“I always tell them to take out their trash and make sure clothes, bed linens, dishes and those types of things are clean,” Wallace said. “They have to disconnect any electrical items and appliances ... if they have a washer and dryer or a deep freezer that all has to be cleaned out, emptied and defrosted.”

Items stored in attics or crawl spaces also must be moved to a space in the main residence that is safer for the movers to pack, she said.

Barnes said it can take two to three weeks for those shipments to arrive at their destination, and those moving overseas could be waiting between 30-120 days for their property. Soldiers and Families may want to gather any essential items for a partial PPM, another process a transportation office can assist with.

“They need to take anything they do not want that company to move and set it aside in an area that they will not be in, like their car,” Barnes said. “That’s something else they can do to be proactive, to go ahead and identify those items.”

Ready for pickup

Soldiers and Families can also expect a payout from the government based on the item weight transported during a partial PPM. Once the rest of their property arrives there are two ways to pick it up: Direct delivery and temporary storage.

“If the service member is ready at the destination when the shipment gets there, they can accept what’s called direct delivery, which is always recommended,” Barnes said. “It’s less handling of their property, and the truck shows up and delivers the items straight to their house.”

Movers will call at least 24 hours before they arrive to confirm whether a service member can accept direct delivery, and Barnes said the government will pay for up to 90 days of storage in most cases if the Soldier is unavailable.

“The items would go into storage at a government-approved facility at the destination, and the Soldier would schedule delivery when he or she is ready,” she said. “Sometimes when things go into storage during peak season it could take up to three weeks to get a delivery out, and that’s another way the partial PPM comes into play. They’ve taken some of their stuff with them and they’re prepared to be without the rest for a few weeks.”

“The main thing is once they have their orders, they need to make sure they reach out to us either in-person or over the phone,” Wallace said. “And whether you’re living on- or off-post, don’t give any housing notices until you know what your lead times and spread date windows are.”

Fort Campbell Soldiers and Families can receive more information on government moves by visiting the Fort Campbell Personal Property, Transportation Office in the Soldier Support Center, 2702 Michigan Ave., or by calling 270-798-7151.

For other locations, use Military OneSource to find your installation and look for "Moving" under the "Military and Family Support Services" section.