Why Is It So Hard To Find PCS Advice?


I knew the second he brought home news of our Hawaii for our first PCS that I was in over my head.

I'm the kind of woman who feels better when she's armed with information, so my desperate Google searching began .002 seconds after those orders arrived in our inbox.

I tried every search term I could think of: “PCS Hawaii Army," “Hawaii PCS with pets," “Living in Hawaii Army."  The list goes on and on. And I was dismayed to discover that the same sources kept turning up over and over again!

Some of the results were useful, like the information about importing pets.  Some of it wasn’t, like the spouse ranting about how much she hated Hawaii because the island of Oahu doesn’t have a Sonic.

It became clear to me early on in my search that we were going to have to wing it.

It’s been exactly one month since we received his orders, and in that time I’ve learned a lot about how NOT to PCS. We thought, for example, that since we only had a short amount of time in between the orders arriving and his report date that we could do without our furniture, so we sent our household goods before our unaccompanied baggage. I can safely say that I will never do that again!

Between sleeping on one of his “wubbys” and cussing every time I realize that something I want to use in the kitchen is on the boat to Hawaii, it’s been an exercise in frustration.

The cat is losing his mind because Mom is acting weird. Our neighbors think we’re nuts. One woman actually stopped by the other day to welcome us to the neighborhood. Apparently she saw us sitting in our empty living room through the window and thought, “Bless their hearts, their furniture hasn’t arrived yet!”

I also had no real understanding of how much money out of pocket we were looking at. When all is said and done, we will be spending somewhere between $2,500 and $3,000 to make this move happen. Most of that is reimbursable, but I think we all know that isn’t much comfort when you’re parting ways with those funds and you’re not sure when you’ll see them again.

(Word of advice: start saving now, even if you’re “not going to PCS anytime soon.")

Last night the stress finally caught up with me, and I burst into tears while we were getting ready for bed. “Why couldn’t I find this information anywhere?” I wailed to my husband.  He was very wisely keeping his distance and throwing chocolate at me. “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

He didn’t have an answer and neither did I.

This morning it occurred to me that I can’t find the advice I’m looking for about PCSing because a PCS is like a fingerprint -- each one is unique.

No one can give an exact checklist of what to do, when to do it, or how much it’s going to cost because there are so many factors that go into a PCS move. Making a list like that would be pointless, because the next time you move everything will probably be different. Realizing that made me feel a little better. We’re not doing it wrong—we’re just doing it our way.

Amanda is the proud wife of an active duty Army Medic, affectionately known by his unit as Doc Seuss. They are in the middle of a PCS to Hawaii with their spoiled cat Hobbes. When Amanda is not focusing on her career as an educator she enjoys baking, travel, and blogging about her adventures as an Army spouse at thesegypsyfeet.com.

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