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 From what I've learned and for all of you going through the PCS cycle, I wish you the best of luck as you head off to your new assignment.
 Hopefully, your stories associated with a PCS are pleasant ones.
 Regardless, remember to occasionally take a deep breath and enjoy the adventure of moving, because each new move is a brand new adventure.
 
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Lt. Col. Robert Neal
Lt. Col. Robert Neal, 437th Aerial Port Squadron commander
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Tis' the season ... and other tales to PCS by

Posted 6/15/2010   Updated 6/15/2010 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Lt. Col. Robert Neal, 437th Aerial Port Squadron commander
437th Aerial Port Squadron commander


6/15/2010 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- There are signs all around telling us summer has arrived in Charleston, like the number of assignments flowing through the system to start the 2010 permanent change of station season.

As I, like many others here, begin the PCS process, I find myself reflecting on some of the truisms associated with embarking on a PCS that I have developed during my moves. Any PCS creates stories, beliefs or myths associated with the move. Some stories are funny and others not so funny. Below are just a few of my stories, beliefs and myths I want to share with you.
First off, a little advice - I strongly recommend not buying new furniture while you are still in the military. You are better off buying used furniture and saving the money to purchase new furniture when you retire. The commercial household goods industry strives to minimize damage to household goods, and I have had numerous carriers perform fantastically over the years; however, it is tough to overcome the laws of physics.

When objects are placed closely together in a confined space and you add movement from an external source, there are going to be rubs, cracks, dents, scratches, etc. After a couple of moves, you soon find your new furniture resembling the furniture you could have bought at less than half the price.

Case in point is the new bedroom set I purchased during my third assignment. Six moves after the purchase, I have a dresser drawer that does not work anymore due to a broken bracket on the bottom of the drawer, and I still cannot find a replacement part to fix it.

While we are on the topic of buying new items, I have also discovered you should never purchase a vehicle you are not willing to sell. Most everyone enjoys riding around in a nice, new vehicle. It always seems that at the time you start enjoying your vehicle you get orders to some location where you cannot, or should not, bring it. My personal example of this observation is as follows.

During my first PCS move, I bought a brand new Ford Mustang 5.0 convertible right before I graduated from college. It was my dream car and worked well for the weather and road conditions in Louisiana. I joined the military about seven months later and received my PCS orders to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, not a good location for a rear-wheel drive convertible sports car.

Ultimately, I had to make the tough decision to sell my vehicle instead of placing it in long-term storage. If you purchase your dream vehicle, enjoy it to the utmost for as long as you can. Just remember, when you purchase your vehicle you may have to sell it in the not-too-distant future in order to PCS.

With a PCS comes a fair amount of stress. There are numerous appointments to attend, paperwork to drop off, household goods to be picked up and reservations to be made, just to name a few of the tasks associated with the move. Do not add to the stress by rushing to arrive at the next assignment.

If you are driving, keep in mind the Air Force gives you a number of days to make the drive. Take those days. This is probably the best time to unwind as you leave your last job and before you begin your new one. Rushing to your next assignment creates added stress for you and your family with long days in the vehicle. You will find the trip from one assignment to the next is one of the few times during your career you will have minimal job responsibilities, so enjoy that time.

From what I've learned and for all of you going through the PCS cycle, I wish you the best of luck as you head off to your new assignment. Hopefully, your stories associated with a PCS are pleasant ones. Regardless, remember to occasionally take a deep breath and enjoy the adventure of moving, because each new move is a brand new adventure.



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