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NEWS | April 1, 2013

On the move: Preparing for a PCS

By Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Editor's Note: This story is part of a series.

You come into work one morning and receive an e-mail informing you that you've received a new assignment! You get excited, as this is the e-mail you've been waiting for -- a chance to see more of the world and experience new things. That excitement then turns to stress as your mind starts racing, thinking of everything you must do to make the move go smoothly.

While there are many aspects to consider when planning for a permanent change of station, one of the most important is preparing the move of your household goods. Hillman Jackson, Fort Eustis Transportation Management Office manager, offers the following advice to those in this position.

"The first thing you should do is go see your TMO office as soon as you get physical orders," Jackson said. "This will allow us to either book your move then, or set you up with an appointment later."

Jackson also recommends individuals visit prior to visiting their office. Many questions people have can be answered through this site. Additionally, permanent party Service members may do the initial consultation online. However, students at Fort Eustis must visit the TMO office.

Those that need to visit the TMO office can ensure the appointment goes smoothly by knowing the following information prior to their visit:

Know what kind of move you want to do.
Do you want to do it all yourself, do some of it yourself and have the government help, or just have the government do it all?

Have an idea of how much stuff you have.
Identify how many rooms you have, including bedrooms, living rooms, a dining room, a kitchen, etc. You can even use the weight estimator available on to see approximately how much everything weighs.

Make an appointment with TMO.
You should plan on being at the TMO office for at least one hour.

"One of the biggest tips I can give is to plan ahead," Jackson said.

Once you visit the TMO office and your move is scheduled, you can plan on a 4-6 week wait before movers will pick up your household goods. TMO also encourages people to wait on giving notice to their landlords until they have a firm date of when their household goods will be picked up.

The website also offers the following tips on preparing for your move:

1. Record video of your property prior to the carrier coming to pack it up.

2. Jewelry and other high value items should not be shipped. If they are shipped however, ensure they are listed on the inventory slip.

3. Watch the movers as they pack your household goods. If you can't be present, make sure your spouse or agent knows what to do and arranges for additional help if necessary.

4. Make sure that adequate descriptions of the contents are written on the boxes themselves and that it matches the inventory sheet. It doesn't have to match perfectly, but the general category should at least match.

5. Remember that it's your move and you are in charge of it. Make sure everything is recorded and documented before it leaves your control.

Once you arrive at your new duty station and from the time you notify the TMO office of your new address, you can expect a wait of about two weeks before your household goods are delivered, said Jackson. If you PCS to an overseas assignment, your wait time is typically 45-60 days for household goods and 30 days for any unaccompanied baggage, such as clothing that is sent separately.

For additional information visit, contact the Langley TMO office at 764-7868 or the Fort Eustis office at 878-4664.