Does the Military Help You Move?
Anybody who spends even a few years of their life with the military will have to move at least once. Whether it’s from your entry level training post to your first duty station or a short-term trip for the umpteenth training course taken after decades in uniform, the armed forces will require you to move in the course of your service. And while it’s never an easy or simple process, knowing the specifics of moving in the military can keep it from being an even bigger headache. Forewarned, is forearmed after all.
Does the Military Help You Move?
The short answer is “yes.”
The military understands that moving to a base, be it your first, second, third, or so on, is not an optional change. It’s a necessity of life in the military itself. Thus, they provide a great deal of support (logistical and financial) in any official move they require you to make. It is important to know that if you decide to change homes or apartments while stationed at the same base they will not provide financial support. But any time you change station or go one temporary duty somewhere beyond your home station, they will do all they can to ease the burdens and cost of moving.
What Is It Called When the Military Moves You?
These types of moves the military supports you during fall into two official categories: Permanent Change of Station (PCS) and Temporary Duty (TDY) which will be discussed below.
What Is a Permanent Change of Station?
The most common and regular move military personnel and their families will make is a Permanent Change of Station (PCS). It’s when you complete a tour at your current unit/duty station and move on to the next one. Depending on your billet, branch, and the needs of the service, this will usually happen every 3-4 years. You’ll generally know well in advance when your next PCS is coming up. You will receive formal orders 90 days out, detaching you from your current unit and assigning you to your next one.
In some cases you might not be moving far. Other times you may be going across the country or to a different continent entirely (OCONUS). And, in some instances, you may “PCS” to a different unit at the exact same base (so no sweat there). But, more often than not, a Permanent Change of Station will require a long move and search for new military housing.
What Is a Temporary Duty Move?
Over the course of your career, long or short, you’ll go through a lot of various training courses and exercises. Some of them may even take place at posts other than the one you’re currently stationed at. In cases like this, you’ll be required to live at another base for an extended period of time (more than a month but rarely more than 20 weeks) without moving there, it’s called a Temporary Duty (TDY) Move.
Just like a full PCS, the costs of your TDY will be covered by the military. But since you’re not moving in a permanent sense, you won’t be moving much (if any) of your household goods. You’ll most likely be put up in on-base housing or a hotel paid for by the DoD. You may only be allowed to bring the essentials, your personal items, and whatever gear you’re required to have. Keep in mind, there’s a weight limit (based on rank) to what the government will ship if you can’t carry everything you want for a TDY with you.
- William Richmond