So, it’s your first PCS. Exciting! But also terrifying. You have so many questions, so many worries, and you might not know where to turn. We’ve put together 3 Tips for your first PCS.
1. Understand your PCS
Just like everything in the military, there are plenty of acronyms to go along with a PCS. To start PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station. For moves within the continental U.S. they are known as CONUS (CON-tinental U.S.) and for outside the U.S (including Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories it’s known as OCONUS (O-utside the CON-tinental U.S.). You first need to understand your PCS by learning where, when, and how. A great place to start is your installation’s transportation office (the exact name varies by branch). Then, Military One Source has plenty of resources to help you answer the million questions you have.
2. Decide HOW you’re going to move
There are 3 ways you can typically move during your PCS. You can choose to have the military hire movers to take ship your things, do it yourself with a DITY move, which many families often do to save money and personally oversee the safety of their belongings, or chose a “partial DITY” where you will be reimbursed for moving some of your own items while allowing the military to hire movers to do the rest. The choice is up to you and your family but it’s something to consider. The only time you do not have a choice is for an OCONUS move when the military will move your belongings.
3. Set a timeline/to do list
Whether you have twelve months or one there’s a long list of things you need to do before your move. As soon as you have your orders it’s time to put a plan in motion. You’ll get a checklist from your installation of things to do before you move but the My Ultimate PCS app is a great tool for all of those little things you might forget. (BTW, this app was created by a couple of awesome milspouses).