Subtitle: Moving with the Air Force
While we have been preparing to move in the past few weeks, we have had many, many changes to the original plan. Since my family and friends have been asking, I have been trying to explain everything (mostly over texting). That was getting a little difficult, so I decided to write out an abbreviated explanation of our move. It is confusing and involves lots of acronyms, but I’ll do my best to make it clear and only include the important details Here goes nothing!! 🙂
Preparing For the Move
Moving in the Air Force is called a PCS (permanent change of station). When you find out that you are moving, you get two dates. The first is the date that you are scheduled to leave your current base (called your “final out”) and the second is called your RNLTD (report no later than date – this is the date by which you absolutely must have checked in with your new base).
Then you have a short check-list of things to do. For instance, if you are going overseas OR if you have any special medical conditions (that’s me) you have to be medically cleared each time you travel to a new base and the new base’s medical group has to ‘accept’ you. This is to make sure that they can provide the care that you need. So it is a good thing…it just means that it take even longer to get moved (the clearance process takes at least 2-3 extra weeks)!
Once you finish all the things on the short check-list, you are waiting on your orders, the piece of paper that officially says where the AF needs you to be. I call the orders the “golden ticket” (a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) because absolutely nothing can be done without this paper. Once the orders come in, you can make arrangements for the move by talking to TMO (traffic management office – the people who handle all moves to and from a certain base)
There are three different options when it comes to actually moving your things.
Option 1: TMO can arrange to have movers come to your house, pack everything in your house, transport it to the next location and drop it off in your new house. If we were going overseas, we would HAVE to do this option.
Option 2: Partial DITY (partial do-it-yourself move) means that TMO arranges movers who come and pack up MOST of your things, transports and drops it off in your new house. You are then responsible for driving your vehicles to the new location and you can bring certain things with you that you don’t want the movers to transport. This was our original plan for this move.
Option 3: DITY, also called PPM (personally procured move) means that you pack up all your items, you find a way to transport them and you unload them at the next location.
As I said before, our original plan was to do a partial DITY. However, (due to various reasons) TMO couldn’t get movers to us until after his RNLTD. We could have amended orders (asking to stay here for longer), but we had already done that once and we didn’t feel it was worth it to wait for all the paperwork to go back through just to sit here for an extra few weeks.
Instead, we decided to do a DITY move. Which means that we are busy packing up our house and arranging other details. 🙂 The AF covers our expenses (either by an allowance we’ve already been given or by reimbursing us based on our receipts) including things like packing supplies, renting a truck, etc.
Arrival At New Base
Whereas we’ve lived off-base in an apartment here in Biloxi, we have decided to live in base housing at our new base. However, a house won’t be available upon our arrival. It might take a week or so before a house is available for us (this is very common). It is not so bad for us because it is just Mr. Mays and me. But imagine waiting around for several weeks with multiple children and pets with only a few suitcases full of things!
In order to make the transition smoother, the AF bases have TLFs (temporary lodging facilities) for these families. They vary base-to-base, but they are basically like full-equipped little apartments (complete with kitchens, washers/dryers, etc). In the event that all the TLFs are full, the hotels on base are also available to house people in transition. In a hotel, you don’t have all the amenities, but you are still taken care of. So…we will be waiting around for a few days (?) and living in one of these temporary locations.
Since we are doing a DITY move (and will have all of our things with us), we will have to rent a storage unit to hold our things until our house is available. Obviously this is not ideal. But if the AF had moved us, they would have put our things in storage and it would have taken longer to get them once we got access to our house. At least if we do the storage unit on our own, we will be able to get our things out of storage on our own time instead of waiting! 🙂
Mr. Mays will check into the new base and then be given “permissive TDY” (up to 10 days off to find a house, get moved in and get his family settled before having to start regular work). He’ll have a list of things to do on base in order to “check-in” (submit receipts from the move, make sure medical records and finances are transferred, etc)
And then…we officially live there. 🙂
It is times like this when Mr. Mays is very, very glad that he married a girl who grew up moving. 😉 This will be my eleventh home in less than 25 years so I’ve had a lot of experience packing up boxes.