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Planning for an easy out-processing

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chad Padgett
  • 436th AW Public Affairs
The summer season has long been known in the Air Force as 'PCS Season.' A time when many military members receive orders for a new assignment.

When a member of Team Dover first gets orders, all the things they have to complete can feel overwhelming. One of their first stops should be the 436th Aerial Port Squadron Traffic Management Office in building 520, room 106.

"Before they do anything, they have to have two copies of their orders," said Airman 1st Class Isabell Carillo, 436th APS traffic management specialist. "We'll fill out a sheet here to find out if they want to move themselves or use a shipper and we also help estimate how much their household goods weigh."

The 436th APS recommends estimating roughly 1,000 pounds per room, not including bathrooms or closets.

"Almost everyone forgets about the garage," said Tim Hawley, 436th APS chief of personal property and passenger movement. "If you have heavy tools, a customer can have 800 pounds in just one of the larger tool boxes."

Once the estimated weight is put into the system, the 436th APS schedules a briefing for customers.

"We set them up for a briefing, which will give them details on the shipment process, such as insurance, the pre-move survey, how to prepare their items to be packed and how to read an inventory," said Airman Carillo. "As soon as they get their orders, customers should stop by and fill out a worksheet. Because of the busy summer season, the earlier a customer comes into our office to get a shipment date, the higher the chance the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office will be able to book that date."

The information is sent to the JPPSO office, which manages the personal property shipments for the north east region of the United States. The JPPSO office works with the shippers to try and procure the date requested by the customer.

"They regionalized a lot of our processes," said Mr. Hawley. "They took over things like tracking non-temp storage and other back office work. Now we send them a request and they do the processing."

The next step for a Team Dover member out-processing would be to attend the TMO briefing.

"We want to make sure they understand they need to stop by our office if they want household goods pick up,'" said Ms. Barbara Roseborough, 436th APS transportation assistance. "We have a regional booking office, which schedules the dates for nearly everyone in the northeast. Because they service so many people, they cannot deal with changes to the dates people request. The customers really have to commit to the days they request when they come to see TMO."

The briefings also give tips for small details that may be easy for servicemembers to overlook.

"For dual military, they need to bring in both members' orders or they won't be allowed to take care of the extra weight allowed," said Ms. Roseborough. "There are a lot of little things that we can't expect everyone to remember. Bringing in orders for everyone or making sure to have the date they want items shipped planned out in advance."

The briefing also informs the customers on recent changes to out-processing.

"A new requirement we also have is a personal non-military e-mail address," said Ms. Roseborough. "The customer will no longer get a phone call from the mover regarding their dates, now they'll receive an e-mail from the shipper."

Another benefit that some servicemembers may be unaware of is the Personally Procured Move, formally called the Do It Yourself move.

"If going state side, we also recommend doing a partial PPM," said Pam Devine, 436th APS transportation assistance. "Just putting some items in the car will get the customer 95 percent of what the government would pay the shipper to move those items."

With PPM, a Team Dover member is able to move either all or part of their household goods and be reimbursed by the government. There are, however, steps that need to be taken in advance for a successful PPM.

"They need to come in and receive a briefing first," said Senior Airman Ryan Brody, 436th APS traffic management specialist. "Only in rare circumstances will a PPM be approved after the move has been completed if the member didn't do the briefing before hand."

Once they go through the out-processing briefing, servicemembers will need to meet with Mitzi McGowen, 436th APS quality assurance inspector.

"I try to meet everybody, both inbound and outbound," said Ms. McGowan. "The common pitfall people fall into is coming in and selecting their move dates and the carrier arrives and the customer isn't ready for them."

Organization is one tool that can help make the packing process easier on the member.

"Having the household goods, unaccompanied baggage and the non-temp storage separate is a major help," said Ms. McGowan. "Having everything scattered makes it easier for something to get put in the wrong box."

One place Team Dover members preparing for a move can visit before they get orders is the passenger travel office.

"If you are going to PCS, you'll want to come in here at least 90 days out," said Craig Gahm, 436th APS transportation assistance. "The rotator overseas to places like Germany or Italy is scheduled 90 days out, so the sooner the better, especially those traveling with pets."

The rotator has seats for 10 pets, either cat or dog, on their flights on a first come, first serve basis.

"We don't require orders to make reservations," said Mr. Gahm. "They can just come into our office and fill out a form, then the customer would just have to drop off their orders when they pick up their tickets. If they're traveling with dependents, they'll need to have their social security numbers to reserve a seat for them when they first make the reservations."

Each section of the 436th APS TMO gave the same advice: "Visiting TMO as soon as a customer receives orders is vital for the success of your PCS move," said Mr. Hawley.