Truly, orders can come to Military members at any time. I personally learned that myself.
My husband received orders after Thanksgiving last year to leave his assignment in Korea to Fort Belvoir. Luckily, his tour in Korea gave him a set date to leave country, but our future location was still unsure for the longest time. We actually ended up at a totally different post than what was on his projected follow-on assignment in his original orders.
PCSing can be a very daunting task, especially living AWAY from a Military installation and your spouse. This one was my very first one as a Military Spouse and I was very nervous, to say the least.
We literally got married days before his PCS to Korea and that move was completely on his own. I stayed put in the apartment I lived in while we were dating and everything just stayed relatively normal with the exception of us being married. My days were numbered and I began to play the orders waiting game.
I was excited and looking forward to finally having a home with my husband no matter where the Military sent us and to actually feel like I’m married to him. I still had to PCS and I had no idea where to start. I had a disadvantage with not being near other Military Families, so I had to learn it all myself.
My husband was busy getting ready to leave country, so I was on my own with preparations for our move. That’s when I saw the value of checklists. Listing everything out in steps on what needs to be done really helped put things into perspective. I learned about housing resources like the Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRN.com), which is a wonderful way to search for available homes in the area that within your BAH rate.
We knew we wanted to live off-post, so we prioritized to live in the neighborhoods around Fort Belvoir. AHRN.com shared everything we needed and even had the privatized housing at Fort Belvoir listed. Not only does AHRN.com provide a great network of available housing, they have tips on their blog to ensure a smooth move as well as a comprehensive PCS Toolkit that outlines everything you would need to map out your move.
It includes calculation sheets (i.e. how to calculate your entitlements estimate and put together your PCS budget) that way you can get ahead of the game as much as possible before you even start packing or getting your housing. Even if you don’t have orders in hand, the checklist helps with getting your family prepared for your move.
I can’t tell you how house hunting before a PCS helped me. I was able to have a place ready for my husband and I to move into before he left Korea. All we needed to do is sign the lease once we arrived. Being able to utilize online resources has been a godsend and I encourage all Military Families to at least do a little digging before you move.
Don’t forget to take deep breaths and not to stress either. I know it’s easier said than done!