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Tips for Moving to a Military Base

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For many military families, moving is simply a part of life. As if having a family member on active-duty in the military isn't stressful enough, most families will have to relocate at least once every three years on average. These frequent relocations, called "Permanent Change of Station," or PCS, are quite common among active-duty military service members and occur when a service member gets reassigned to a new base or transferred to other duties in a new location.

When you get your PCS orders, any family living with you will have to relocate as well. Moving around from base to base every few years can be highly stressful for your family, but as long as you are prepared, you can handle the relocation with as little stress as possible.

When you get your PCS

Upon receiving your PCS, there are a few things that you should do to help to get your family organized and prepared for the impending move:

Meet with your base transportation office to discuss the details of your move.

Depending on which branch of the military you serve in, the office that handles all base relocations will have a different name.
  • Department of Defense: Joint Personal Property Shipping Office

  • Air Force: Traffic Management Office

  • Army: Installation Transportation Office

  • Navy and Marine Corps: Personal Property Shipping Office

  • Coast Guard: Household Goods Shipping Office
When you meet, inquire about what options exist for your move, including DIY moving options or full-service moves for you and your family and begin making arrangements for the relocation.

Discuss potential relocation benefits with finance office.

Each military base will have a finance office for members to visit in order to discuss their financial options when it comes to relocations. Some members may also be eligible for relocation benefits to lessen the blow that a move can take on your bank account. Make sure to inquire about any potential benefits with your financial advisor.

Contact your new location and get information about your move.

When you find out where you're being relocated to, contact the family center at your new installation and ask about the family assistance programs that they offer. These programs are a great way to help families adjust to the relocation, and they offer great moving information and tips on how to cope with the move.

Making the move

After your family has relocated to the new installation that you will be calling home for the next few months or years, you can begin helping them adjust to the move. Here are some tips for helping your family get settled in their new home:

Adjusting to the new community:

One of the most difficult parts of moving is transitioning into a new routine and adjusting to your new community. When you relocate your family to a new military base, there are relocation assistance programs to help adjust and to provide information on what the base can offer.

Keeping your children in mind:

Moving is especially difficult for children, so help them through the relocation by encouraging them and keeping their best interests in mind. Make sure to keep an open line of communication between you and your children so that they can come to you to discuss any concerns. This will help them to remain upbeat during the transition.

Knowing where to look for aid:

The military realizes how stressful relocation can be for families, and one of the benefits of a military move is the aid that various branches offer. Whatever kind of help you need for your move, whether it's childcare services, moving resources or expense tracking and financial aid, there is no shortage of assistance available.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on September 4, 2013

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