February's "What's Your Story" contest has produced a tie. So, there's only one thing to do - declare two winners. Milspouses Linda and Jennifer tell us what happens "When PCS Moves Go Bad."
All in all, I have generally been blessed with my PCS moves. I've DITY'ed and let the military move me, too. But my worst move was the one to Germany just about 2 years ago.
We had our HHG packed up in April of 2005. This entailed 4 full days of movers and packers because my hubby was going unaccompanied, and as soon as housing was available, we were to follow-on. They packed his hold baggage, the storage items, the family hold baggage, and the regular HHG shipment. Off we went. We had to pack suitcases for all types of weather, since it was warm in Georgia, but would be cooler in Pennsylvania and Maine, where I would be spending my time until we got orders.
After living for 7 weeks out of a suitcase, orders finally came through for me and the kids. That same day, my husband contacted the transportation office in Germany, and they faxed our orders to Ft. Gordon so that our HHG and family hold baggage could be released. This was on May 25, 2005. The average time for HHG delivery, we were told, was 62 days, and 45 days for hold baggage. At the beginning of July, we figured we needed to get ready for the hold baggage shipment. My husband contacted the transportation office to find out delivery time. They had none. The shipments had not yet been released! They were STILL in Georgia!
After a lot of arguing, we discovered that back in May, when the concurrent travel orders were issued and faxed over to Ft. Gordon's transportation office, somehow, the fax didn't go through. Ft. Gordon only got the cover page (which CLEARLY stated 1 of 11 pages). But instead of contacting our transportation office to re-fax this, they decided to "wait and see". Of course, the hard copy of the orders was mailed that same day, but took about 2 weeks to be delivered. In this time, it became the "busy season" at Ft. Gordon, so our HHG shipments were not scheduled for release until July 15. There was nothing we could do!
We had to go buy more clothing for our kids. I had packed all my son's smaller clothing (he was only 15 months old) with the thinking that he'd outgrow it and I'd give it away, so I'd have less to carry. We had plenty of larger sized clothing in our HHG. I ended up having to buy more clothing for us. The climate in Germany was much different than Georgia. Even though I planned for all types of weather, I did not plan for longer periods, therefore we were wearing the same clothing every three to four days. We had to buy a lot of "needs" like linens, dishes, cookware, etc...because all of these things were in the HOLD BAGGAGE that should have been delivered in July! We had to buy things to entertain the kids. I felt like we got shafted. I HAD all this stuff; I didn't want to buy it twice, but had no choice.
On September 21, our hold baggage shipment was delivered. On September 23, our HHG shipment was delivered! It took the better part of a week to get everything put together and settled in. Of course, by this time, we had been notified that our Division was headed back to the states the following year, including my husband's unit. I felt like we should have just left everything in boxes!
In May of the following year (13 months after packing up from Georgia) we shipped our HHG back to the states. We had one wonderful year in Germany...our household goods had six months.
As a side note: all the clothing I had packed for myself during this ordeal has now been thrown away. I absolutely hated seeing all these pieces of clothing that I had to wear CONSTANTLY for 5 months.
When PCS Moves Go Bad - It Could Have Been Worse
My husband and I PCSed from Korea to Germany in the summer of 2001. As many of you know, moving from OCONUS to OCONUS is not easy. I had joined him in Korea halfway through his tour of duty (a story for another day!); as it was meant to be an unaccompanied tour, we were not at the most family-friendly of bases.
Trying to get the paperwork for Germany straightened out to include me (even though we WERE married) was a nightmare; you would think the soldiers at PSB had never heard of spouses before. Needless to say, that was the least of our problems. After spending a month or so on leave in California, we arrived in Germany - Hubby first, and I followed 2 weeks later. I arrived in Nuremberg on August 30th, 2001. I was 20 years old.
He had already secured quarters for us on-post, so that was a headache I thankfully did not have to deal with. After checking in with transportation, we were told that neither of our 2 shipments of household goods (one from Korea, another from California) would be arriving until mid-December. So that meant 4 months in a foreign country with no stuff. Fun. But it could have been worse. I made do with government furniture, and a few things I picked up at the PX, such as a small TV. We also had no car yet, as that would not be arriving until October or November. So everything I bought at the PX and Commissary had to fit into my backpack. Also fun. No big deal, I thought, it could be worse.
Then Hubby comes home and tells me that he has to go to the field on the 9th of September for 3 weeks. I don't know anyone, I don't have any of my stuff, I don't know where anything is on this post, I'm basically stuck in my empty house, and now he has to go to the field. I started feeling sorry for myself. But I sucked it up, it could be worse, I thought. 2 days later the unthinkable happened; terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center, and America was under attack. The entire post went into total lockdown. No one was allowed on or off-post unless you lived off-post, and even then you had your entire car torn apart before being let through the gate. Good thing I didn't have a car yet. Families were being moved into empty houses and barracks so they wouldn't have to go through that every day. At least I lived on-post. There were armed guards at literally every building on post - I had to show my ID card to use the bathroom at the PX. I felt like I had entered the Twilight Zone. There was no mail, no fresh meat or produce at the commissary, and absolutely no way to leave, as all flights were grounded.
Hubby came home from the field early, only to pull 16 hour shifts at the gate. We moved our mattress down into the living room so we could be near both our only phone and TV. At least I had thought to buy a TV. It was a terrifying time. But I am thankful that I was where I was, after all, what safer place to be than an Army base? And it could have been worse - I didn't lose anyone in the attacks. My stuff arrived on time (relatively speaking), and Germany ended up being absolutely wonderful.
Sometimes you have to go through the hard times just so you can step back and say - it can always be worse!
Congratulations ladies, goodies are coming your way. Thanks to USAA for donating to the goodie-bag.