By Scott Prater | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Permanent change of station (PCS) season has arrived at Fort Carson and, according to Army and community leaders, this one has the potential to be even more hectic than seasons past. In response, Mountain Post leaders hosted a virtual PCS information session and town hall July 7, 2021, in hopes of easing the transition for Soldiers and Families.
Col. Nate Springer, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson, began the town hall by relaying a host of information sources for Families as they begin the process of packing up and moving to their next duty station. He then invited representatives from the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office (JPPSO), Directorate of Human Resources (DHR), Fort Carson Family Homes, the 4th Infantry Division G-1, the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) and Army Community Service (ACS) to provide pivotal information and guidance for viewers.
“We’ve got a pretty good lineup of people to talk about PCSing and how we can make this the best PCS season possible,” Springer said.
Air Force Tech Sgt. Kyle Vaughn explained that while moving and storage companies are suffering from an extreme labor shortage, limited shipping containers is also compounding shipping times and issues, so timelines for packing and shipping household goods will most likely be a more time-consuming process for most Families.
“At this time in almost every location across the globe, pack and pick up dates are blacked out mostly through July and into mid-August, and that is for members who receive available moving crews,” Vaughn said.
She then offered a few tips for Families to help mitigate delays in the moving process, such as visiting the on-post transportation office as soon as possible to reduce time for booking shipments and consulting with transportation counselors who can help solve specific challenges and delays.
Springer recommended that Families download the Army PCS Move App, available for Android and iPhone devices.
“You can customize by putting your orders number in and it has everything you could want for your move, including a household good live chat function,” he said. “If you are about to start moving or you’re in the process, utilize that app, and then as you move forward, you’ll have contact numbers for us and also be able to reach out to someone live if you have questions. It’s very helpful.”
Mike Webb, director of Human Resources, then told Soldiers that their PCS orders are their magic ticket.
“You need that in order to do everything, particularly for setting up your transportation appointment,” he said. “We want to cut your orders as fast as possible, but we need your information. When you come down on assignment instructions, we will send the levy packet out to the S-1s, so you should be notified by the human resource command. As soon as you’re notified, go see your S-1, get the packet, fill out the information, do the levy briefing on the Fort Carson website and get that information to us.”
Webb then addressed Soldiers PCSing overseas and implored them to not wait for orders to start dealing with their Family travel or their command sponsorship.
“We can start that process ahead of time and get the ball rolling,” he said.
Webb explained that the out-processing section has taken great strides to streamline the out-processing steps and reduce Soldier visits to essential stops only — mainly, the dental, medical and Mountain Post Soldier Center.
Families who live on post received information from Fort Carson Family Homes community manager, Aymesha Melendez, who briefly explained the move-out process and Dean Quaranta, DPW supervisory housing manager, who relayed information about Basic Housing Allowance considerations at the Mountain Post and other installations.
“(Families) should contact the housing services office at their destination or here if PCSing to Fort Carson,” Quaranta said. “Whether Families are renting or buying, we know the area and the market and can help them make an informed decision as opposed to an emotional decision.”
Jean McClintock, Relocation Readiness Program manager, Army Community Service, said ACS staff can help Families resolve issues, relieve stress and minimize PCS problems, whether it’s dropping off a car at port, arranging for pet travel overseas or obtaining clearing papers.
“We’re going to get you where you need to go,” she said. “It may take longer than what you are used to, but ACS can help Families smooth out the PCS process.”
Finally, Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus W. Brister II, senior enlisted leader, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson, explained that Army leaders understand the headache that comes with PCS moves.
“The secret (to successful PCS moves) is what I call ‘Early and Often,’” he said. “Start your process as early as you can and then check up on it often. If you are not getting the right answer through your chain of command or through your S-1 shops, you’ve got to be vocal (with our helping agencies) so we can address those problems for you.”