CONTRIBUTED BY SARAH FORTE
This is the second in the “Our Olympic Move” series. Mike and Sarah are preparing to PCS to Germany from Okinawa this summer. Here’s the latest:
Every Olympic athlete needs to train. Around the world there are complete training centers dedicated to coaching future Olympians. For our Olympic move we needed to know that our preparations were on the right track so we got a little training advice from Kadena’s “Plan My Move” workshop. There is something similar available for our MCCS friends called “Smooth Move” hosted by Marine and Family Services. Representatives from the key base agencies were there to guide us through their role in our PCS.
Spouses are encouraged to attend this workshop and, on the day we went, about half of the active duty members had a spouse with them. This brief felt like the bookend to the new comers brief you might remember from when you first arrived on island. I’ll let you know the highlights of the information covered, but I encourage you to go too. On Kadena this brief is offered monthly and is hosted by Airman Family Readiness Center (AFRC). Our workshop took place at the community center, but check with the AFRC for specifics.
Airman Family Readiness Center: Remember the AFRC loan locker from when you arrived? With your PCS orders you can use it on your way out as well. Also, for those of you with children, don’t forget that the Air Force Aid Society will provide 20 hours of free care in a licensed Family Child Care home.
Finance: We all know that moving can be expensive. The finance office covered the ins and outs of Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA), Advance Pay, travel reimbursement and Dislocation Allowance (DLA).
Traffic Management Office (TMO): They move you and they move your stuff! First of all: YOU! Passenger Services books airline tickets for moving. It was stressed that we can book the tickets across the United States and get reimbursed; however tran-Pacific tickets will not be reimbursed if we book them ourselves—it must be done through TMO. While it is possible to get commercial tickets back to the US, the Seattle-bound rotator is the primary mode of transport.
Secondly, your stuff! We were expecting to have two shipments out, just like the two shipments that brought us here (unaccompanied baggage and household goods). Instead, we were told that overseas to overseas moves are usually done in one shipment of household goods. With a pack out date in Mid-July and they estimated the shipment would make it to Germany by September (breaking our stuff into two shipments would push the receiving date out to October or November). We also still have things in Non-Temporary Storage (NTS), which TMO simply extended via email to the storage facility. After three years here and three years at our next assignment, I wonder if we will recognize our stuff again! If we were moving back to the States, TMO would help us with the release of our NTS and Privately Owned Vehicle (POV).
School Liaison Office (SLO): We are lucky to have a SLO here in Okinawa. Her office is ready to help with any questions about transferring children from the Okinawa DoDEA schools to other systems.
Housing: This falls into two obvious categories: on- and off-base. We live on-base so this was the most interesting for us. There is a pre-inspection and a final inspection. At the pre-inspection they do a walk-through, note any damage that has occurred and let us know specific expectations before our final inspection. The final inspection truly is that – final. At that time expect to turn over your keys and be ready to walk out the door. All personal items should be removed and a minimal cleaning should be done. This is not a white-glove, check the toilets with a mirror inspection. Any painted walls must be painted back to base-beige, and dust bunnies should be swept up, but we won’t spend our last nights scrubbing floors on our hands and knees.
That is why off-base residents get ten days in TLA and on-base housing residents are only authorized four reimbursable nights (though you can stay longer at your own expense). The shorter amount of time is the payout for having a professional crew deep-clean the house after we move out.
Our timing is working out that we won’t need it, but FMO (Furniture Management Office) will deliver temporary furniture to your on-base house after your shipments have left. If you chose this option, the furniture does not need to be picked up before your final inspection. You can leave it in the house when you move out.
Off-base housing is a different game. If you have off-base housing you need to pick up a Quarters Clearance Package from housing; this package is available at the “Plan My Move” workshop. Now is the time to dig out your lease agreement and let your housing agency know that you are moving. The off-base housing inspection sounds more rigorous and all furniture needs to be removed for your final inspection.
Air Mobility Command (AMC): The rotator currently leaves on Saturday morning. One nice option now offered is that we can check in with our luggage on Friday anytime from 0900-2100. Each traveler is allowed two bags weighing 70 pounds or less. Each bag over the limit will be charged $112 when you check in. Pets can also be checked in early and if you’d like to leave the pet crate overnight, you may.
TriCare: Five days prior to our base out-processing date, military members can pick up their medical records to be hand carried. Dependent medical records are shipped separately to you next location.
Veterinary Clinic: Much has been written on PCSing with a pet. We do not have any pets, but if you do, take your questions (not your pets) to the “Plan My Move” or “Smooth Move” workshop on your base!
No athlete will make it to this year’s Olympics without help from their coaches and trainers. No military family should PCS without help from the wide array of support agencies. Workshops like “Plan My Move” bring these players together.