By Blair Dupre
Fort Cavazos Public Affairs
FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — The Permanent Change of Station, or PCS, process can be daunting. However, there are plenty of people and resources to help make the process as smooth as possible here.
Thousands of Soldiers PCS throughout the year, but there is generally a spike during the summer. Richard Nieberding Jr., military personnel division chief, said they try to process the PCS orders 120 days out from the report date.
“We do that because it gives (Soldiers) four months to get their affairs in order,” he said.
Nieberding shared some key things to consider when PCSing to a new duty station, the first of them being transportation.
“As soon as you get your orders, get with transportation here at Fort Cavazos so they can start planning your out load for household goods or whatever it is,” he said. “If you’re going to OCONUS (Outside the Continental US) maybe you have the authorization to ship a vehicle. The sooner the better.”
Second, Nieberding went on to talk about obtaining an official passport for family members for OCONUS PCS.
“The other thing I would say is, especially for married Soldiers that are going overseas, there are certain official passport requirements,” he said. “There’s some lead time that needs to be considered because we have to work with the Department of State to get those official passports. Not tourist passports, but official. Family members need to have those official passports to travel.”
Next, Nieberding talked about housing.
“The other thing about PCSing, especially if you live on Fort Cavazos, and we do our best to identify who’s leaving, but get with the housing office both here at Fort Cavazos and your next duty station,” he said. “They’re looking to understand your timeline, so they can turn over maintenance in the housing department and have that house ready for someone else.”
Nieberding also mentioned getting a sponsor, which is part of the out processing checklist. A sponsor is another Soldier, usually around the same rank or a first-line supervisor, that can assist at your next duty station.
“It’s good to have someone looking out for you and expecting you on the other side,” he said. “That helps families out a lot when they’re moving. Someone that’s going to help you get yourself in and know what’s going on.”
Nieberding added that Soldiers should check with the exceptional family member program and command sponsorship to ensure family travel is taken care of.
“If you’re going overseas you’ve got to be command sponsored,” he said. “That means that the command recognizes that you’re bringing your family with you, so they ensure that they have proper housing and adequate support to take care of you on the other side and to ensure that the location you’re going to can support your family’s medical needs.”
Nieberding also recommended the standardized Army-wide Levy Brief, which dives into detail about what needs to be done when PCSing.
“That 55-page briefing reminds you and informs you on things to be done,” he said. Everything from pet travel to shipping a car to the things you need to do with finance, housing, transportation, all those key things I said. That would probably be one of the first things that you should do. Even if you don’t have your orders and you know you’re on assignment go through that Levy Brief because its information and reminders for those who may have already PCSed before. Even for the first-time PCSer it brings you into the game.”
Nieberding acknowledged that PCSing can seem overwhelming, but there are people at the Copeland Center who are ready to assist.
“We take care of Soldiers,” he said, “and we’re serious about our customer service to help them out.”
For more information on the Levy Brief, visit https://home.army.mil/cavazos/application/files/7216/8374/3448/Army-Wide_Standard_Reassignment_Briefing_v1.5_7_Dec_2022_Update_10_May_23.pdf.