Lost $35k in PCS Family's Own Fault?


Gold. Rare comic books. Social security cards and birth certificates. Gem stones. Savings bonds. Passports.

These are just some of the items -- all told, valued at $35,000 the owners say -- that were in two safes they instructed their military movers to put on the truck without documenting their contents. They never saw them again, according to this Army Times story.

The Johnson family has spent the last year searching for their lost safes, hoping that they had been delivered to the wrong person, and moving through the claims and investigation process in search of the person who has them.

According to the story, Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Johnson and his wife Nicky had let different movers take the safes several times before without issue. They did not document the contents on the packing log because they didn't want to call attention to the contents, they told the Army Times.

pcs packing tape 482

But by not doing so they guaranteed that, should the safes go missing, the moving company would not have to pay because no one could prove what was inside them.

And they violated one of the top pieces of moving advice every service member has heard given at every military transportation briefing -- carry your personal documents and valuables with you.

The Johnsons say that the military and moving company should be doing more to investigate what happened to their safes and valuables. They say the moving company, storage company and its subcontractors should be more involved. They say they know their decision to send the valuables with the movers went against the military's recommendations, but they didn't want to store them in their car or hotels, either. They felt sending them with the movers was their best option.

You can read the entire story over here on the Army Times, including information about the small amount they have been able to claim.

Is the moving company and, by extension, the military responsible for the Johnson's loss if they didn't list the items on the packing list? After all, military families trust the military's contractors with their belongings. And regardless or whether or not an item is particularly valuable, we should be able to expect every item to make it safely to destination.

But this mistake does seem like a doozy -- especially since it went against common military move sense. Should the Johnsons simply have to eat the cost of their mistake and learn the hard way?

You tell us in the comments.


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