Dear Q&B --
When we moved to Alaska, the Army shipped my husband's professional gear, no problem.
We plan to get out of the military soon, and I'm worried that it won't pay to ship that stuff back. If we can't count it as pro-gear, we'll definitely go over our weight allowance.
Will the military pay for our pro-gear when my husband gets out?
-- Wife in Alaska
Hi, Wife --
The Defense Department's professional gear program lets military members move large quantities of books, papers and professional equipment, officially known as PB&E or "pro-gear."
Since 2014, the weight limit for those things during each move has been 2,000 pounds. Before that, there was no limit.
The good news for you is that, yes, you are able to move pro-gear as part of a final permanent change of station move.
But there are some extra rules for those moving pro-gear from an OCONUS duty station such as Alaska.
You are permitted to move home only the amount you moved up, even if it's under the 2,000-pound limit. If you moved an unlimited amount up before the 2014 rule change, you can move that same amount home.
It's important to know what is and is not officially considered "pro-gear." But, as with all move-related information, there's a big caveat: How true it is for you depends on enforcement and your moving company. Your mover might sign off on items being pro-gear that shouldn't be, and your local transportation office might look the other way. Or they could be really strict about it.
According to the Joint Travel Regulation, pro-gear can include books or military reference material that can't be easily replaced; professional tools for your military job, including instruments; specialized clothing such as diving suits; military communication equipment such as auxiliary radio systems; individually owned or issued gear; or clothing.
Pro-gear does not include sports equipment; commercial items used for running or sold as part of a business; any kind of furniture; any personal computer items; any dishes or table service items; personal books, even if they were used as part of a past professional reading program or course; any reference material that is available at a new duty station or online; shop fixtures; or any memorabilia, including awards or plaques presented by military units, according to the regulation.
Military spouses are also permitted up to 500 pounds of pro-gear, as long as it fits very specific parameters. But, more importantly for your question, spouse pro-gear is not permitted on a final military move.