Making PCSing as painless as possible


Making PCSing as painless as possible

by: Kim Suchek | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: August 15, 2012

Hello Military Community,

As I pondered what to discuss for this week, my friend and editor Alane Pearce called and we were discussing her up-coming PCS move from San Antonio, Texas, to Maryland. I am sure many of you have already been through the dreaded PCS move and/or are currently getting ready to experience it. Alane and her family are “old dogs,” so to speak, and know what to expect.

Whatever situation you fall under, PCS’ing is not an easy step to take for any military family and if you have children and/or pets it can be even harder. Summers are the busiest move season of the year for most service members and their families with an estimated 225,000 household goods shipped each summer and an estimated $1,725 spent per family in non-reimbursable costs. When you consider that most military personal make PCS moves about every two to four years, that adds up to a substantial amount of money.

Families should be flexible with their moving dates, plan ahead and recognize that now is the time to get rid of unwanted items to reduce their shipment’s weight. Service members can choose either (1) a government arranged move, in which a contractor packs and ships their household goods, or (2) perform a personally procured move (PPM), where customers rent a truck or trailer, or use their own vehicle to move their items.

Also many resources are available to help your family’s pet during a military move. First, you need to go online and research the pet policies at your next duty station. For example, in Okinawa, all pet owners residing in military family housing must comply with the policy by July 11 that was released by Department of Defense. The policy states that two domestic pets, (cat, dogs or combination) are permitted in a single-dwelling unit, duplexes and multiplex units.

The policy also restricts certain breeds from dwelling in military family housing. All owners are required to register their pets with the base veterinary treatment facility and military family housing via the pet registration form. A quick call to your sponsor, family-service center or veterinarian at the next installation can help you better understand housing pet policies and animal laws in that state or country, as well as learn more about local pet-friendly hotels and transport requirements.

Next, consider calling local airlines to see if there are flight restrictions for your pet. Air Mobility Command offers space-available flights, commonly known as Space-A travel, for pets, but you may only take two pets and a 14-day travel window is required. There is also the Patriot Express (PE), which offers options for Trans-Atlantic travel with pets.

Most Patriot Express flights are climate controlled and can fly year round without restrictions on breeds, or air temperature. And pet travel costs on PE are generally cheaper when compared to commercial carriers. There is a minimum fee of $112 for up to 70 pounds and a max fee of $336 for a 150-pound animal.

Also, ensure that your military veterinarian certificates are in order including the Veterinary Health Certificate (Form 2209) and Rabies Vaccination Certificate (Form DD 2208).

For questions or assistance, contact your local personal property shipping office. For more information on the move process, visit Locate your nearest CWT Sato representative via For details on Patriot Express to and from Europe, visit

Information on PE in the Pacific is at

Stay tuned for next week’s article on financial tips for PCSing along with a couple more resources to assist you and your families move. If you have a question and or suggestion regarding PCSing I would love to hear from you.

Blessings from my family to yours.

Kimberly Suchek

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share a story or situation, contact me at and visit my website for updated information and other Resources not listed in my book.

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