VincentandAlex 081


PCSing can be stressful enough with the sorting and planning and hoping.  Hoping that no other stress inducing factors will be thrown in at the same time.  But with the right amount of knowledge, planning and coffee (and if you don’t drink coffee, pick your vice.  Ice cream?  Triathlon?)  anyone can make their move a little smoother.  I recently received an email regarding a DITY move from the U.S. to Okinawa.  I was going to reply with a “wait until you talk to TMO,” but I wanted to know if anyone had done it.

I have been stalking Okinawa Hai for a while (well, since we found out it was our next assignment). We’re PCSing there in May. Well, we just got a notice from our base housing that our house is scheduled for demolition (I know!) and the base housing people are going to pay for a moving company. Well, the 30 day notice puts us about 30 days out of our house before we PCS to Okinawa. So… I’m wondering about DITY moves overseas. I mean, if all our stuff is going to be in boxes anyways, why not just load it on a crate and ship it ourselves? Is it allowed? Is it too much trouble? I mean, it’ll be in boxes… I don’t know. We haven’t had a chance to talk to TMO yet (we got the letter Friday afternoon) but since Okinawa Hai is such a wealth of relevant information from people who know and have even DONE it, I figured I should ask. 🙂

So have any of you wonderful readers ever done a DITY move overseas or what other advice would you give?


  1. I have heard about DITY moves being done within the USA but with the service member having orders to Okinawa. Example: you are at a certain duty station and want to transport some of your stuff to famliy at another duty station where you will eventually be going back to after the Oki PCS. Does anyone follow me here? I don’t want to put any of our things in gov’t storage as it is not climate controlled. Any information would be appreciated.

  2. I’m sorry, I forgot to mention why our wait was so long! My husband came home from a nine month deployment and our orders were not cut until the middle/end of December, which made it so that our fast shipment/household goods did not get shipped out until the day before we left!

  3. We arrived on island January 2 of this year, spent almost two weeks in TLF, and then got into our house.
    The wait for our “fast shipment” was about three to four weeks, and we just received our household goods yesterday — an eight week wait. I would recommend to anyone to ship our their things asap if you’re coming here. Eight weeks with absolutely nothing but internet – no toys, television, & sleeping on hard gov’t mattresses – is doable, but pure torture for both parents and kids!

  4. We had TMO pack us up the week before we left. They actually came to get our storage boxes the DAY before we left. We ended up in TLF for three weeks and got our HHG four days after we got into our house. So, in total, it took about four weeks. I don’t think I could handle the stress of a DITY move overseas. It’s stressful enough as it is!

  5. I would never in a million years do a DITY overseas. There is enough things for you to worry about, let TMO handle your stuff.

    TMO packed us up mid July. We were on leave for a few weeks before coming over here. Our stuff took about 7 weeks to arrive here.

  6. We are Army and we had the option to DITY here but it is a little different from DITY in the states. Basically you contract your own move. TMO can tell you more about this and we are actually considering a DITY out of here. Either way a PCS is stressful enough and I don’t know if a DITY here would be worth the extra stress.

  7. The average wait for goods is NOT 5 months. We have moved here twice and have never waited more than 60 days. First move was from the west coast and second was from the east coast. We usually pack out a month in advance so we can take leave and visit family and by the time we get here, find housing and get cars, our stuff is ready to be delivered. Note too that both moves were in summer months.

    I know of a few friends that had to wait the 90 days but they had extenuating circumstances that slowed their shipments down.

    All the services, but the AF still have limitations on weight to Okinawa and it varies from service to service what that weight limit is.

    Even if you could do a DITY (which I am sure you can’t) you wouldn’t want to mess with it, especially since not only are you coming overseas, you are coming to another country and that means lots of customs issues…

  8. We PCS’d on Thanksgiving DAY (yeah, that’s right!) and had TMO come the week before and the week of our move. If I had to do it all over again I would have had TMO come 30 days prior to the PCS orders and then go on leave for 3-4 weeks. We had another couple move out here a month after us from the same unit in California and to the same unit on Okinawa. Because they TMO’d 4 weeks before their actual PCS date their stuff was waiting for them when they got here so they virtually moved into housing and got their TMO on the same day. Us, on the other hand, cut it too close when it came to leaving and then we had to wait an additional 6 weeks for our stuff to get here after we’d already received housing. Frustrating and not worth it! So, I would consider your situation a blessing in disguise!

    Hope this helps!

  9. We are also moving to Okinawa this spring and having TMO pack up our stuff a month early. Then, we’ll spend 3-4 weeks visiting family in NY, NE, KY, OH, and Iowa. I’m tired just thinking about it. But, if the average wait for household goods to arrive is 5 months (what I’ve heard from this site) then I guess we’ll have one month less of waiting in an empty house…
    If TMO refuses to work with you, see if your First Shirt will give either TMO or the Housing Office a call on your behalf.
    good luck!

  10. Some services still have the 25% weight limit. If you fall in that category you have to store your stuff somewhere.
    I would never do a DITY move overseas. Just too much hassle, even if allowed. How would you pick up the container in Naha and bring it to your house, for example?

  11. Jill gave you some good sound advice. As for DITY overseas, I doubt it, but you would do best to look in the JFTR yourself and see what it says.

    If you did do it, and you have a lot of stuff, then I would estimate it would cost you between $3,000-$5,000. Usually $3k is about the average to “rent” a container for the ship. Then you also have to pay fees, taxes, import fees…not worth it. I would have to believe that TMO would either store it for you or ship it early due to your circumstances.

    Good Luck!

  12. I would skip having the housing office pay for your move and just get TMO to come that early. If you can live without your stuff that long. We moved here in Nov and we had TMO pack us up in late Sept, my husband took a months leave and we went to visit family before we PCS’d over here. The AF let us set up our flight from where we were going to be on leave and the best part was ALL of our stuff was here waiting for us when we got here!