Movers pack a military members property into boxes and load it into crates to be tranferred to a temporary storage facility in O’Fallon, Illinois, July 1, 2019. (Photo by Stephenie Wade)

By Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas – It’s springtime once again, which means moving boxes will be popping up like wildflowers as Soldiers and their families participate in the time-honored tradition of a military permanent change of station, or PCS, transition.

While a permanent change of station can prove to be the most daunting part of military life, it can also be an exciting opportunity. Donny Lenore, personal property chief with the Fort Hood Transportation Office, offered some tips to relieve the stress of a PCS move, so people can focus on their next exciting opportunity.

“When service members receive their orders, the first thing they should do is go to the transportation office at origin and see what services are available,” he explained. “What most service members don’t realize is they don’t need their installation clearing papers to setup transportation services.”

Lenore said, Soldiers and families should visit Military OneSource at https://www.militaryonesource.mil/moving-housing/moving/pcs-and-military-moves to familiarize themselves with the transportation process. He advises families to write down any questions they may have so they can ask them when they visit the transportation office.

Lenore provided a list of steps families should take when preparing for the transportation process.

• Visit Military OneSource, www.militaryonesource.mil, to review personal property pack sheets and watch moving videos.

• Register for a Defense Personal Property System account and determine what type of shipment you want: personal procured move (previously referred to as a DITY), household goods move, non-temp storage or unaccompanied baggage.

• Complete the personal property shipment application in DPS and submit electronically.

• After submitting your application, you will receive an automated email from DPS providing you details on what will happen next, what to expect and who to contact if you have questions.

• If this is your first PCS, Lenore highly encourages attending the first timers brief. Retirees or those separating from the military must attend a separation brief which is mandated by HQDA G-4.

• A counselor will review your shipment and contact you if they have any questions

• Once your shipment has been booked, a transportation service provider will contact you to discuss a date and time to conduct a pre-survey and household goods pick-up.

Affording the transportation office more time to fulfill a pick-up request would be beneficial, with at least 30-45 days in advance. The Army has a 7-day-spread window policy, which allows the TSP and customer to negotiate their pick-up date.

“‘Spread dates’ refers to the 7-day window you request your moving company to pick up your shipment. This policy is designed to give you more control over requesting a specific date range to schedule your move. Your 7-day window is calculated from the ‘latest pickup date’ you request in DPS. If your latest pickup date is April 20, your 7-day window will be from April 14-20.

Once you enter your latest pickup date, DPS will automatically enter the ‘earliest pickup date’ field accordingly,” Lenore explained. “You also will enter your ‘desired pickup date,’ which can be any date between your earliest and latest date.

The assigned moving company will do their best to accommodate your request, but have the option to choose any date within your 7-day window.”

Families also have the option of conducting a PPM, which means that the customers will move themselves and be reimbursed by the government after arriving at their next duty station. While a PPM seems simple enough, it requires a lot of work, specific paperwork along with extra steps to receive a full reimbursement.

To help Soldiers and families choose the option that is best for them, Lenore urges them to attend the PCS briefings offered by the transportation office.

Separation and retirement briefings are held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2 p.m.

First time PCS briefings are held each Monday at 1 p.m.

PPM briefings are held Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8 a.m. Claims briefings are held on the first Friday of each month at 2 p.m.

All briefings are held at the Copeland Center, Bldg. 18010. For more information about the services offered by the Fort Hood transportation office, call (254) 287-2200.