PCSing is always stressful, and being overseas throws a few more wrinkles into that crazy mix. After I married my husband I wish I had listened to all the people who told me, “Go to ACS! They can help you!” I didn’t think I needed help. Besides, I’m a grown-up. I’ve moved before. How hard can this be?
Had I known then what was available to us, I would have saved money buying stuff already available at the Lending Closet. I didn’t have to waste time packing stuff I wasn’t allowed to bring here. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Ironically, I now get paid to help other people access the huge number of resources the Army has for us.
I’m Barb Barnett and I’m the garrison’s relocation specialist. I’ve been in your shoes. Take it from me: Use the resources we have available through the USAG Schweinfurt Relocation Readiness Program.
The Relocation Readiness office at Army Community Service (ACS) exists solely to help us get through the PCS process as painlessly as possible, whether arriving or leaving. Here’s how we can help:
- We can help you fill out a housing application and upload all the documents required to get on the housing wait list at your gaining installation.
- We can help you request a sponsor, if you haven’t already, and make sure that process is running smoothly.
- Want information on your new post about local schools, EFMP resources, job openings, or what your new home is going to look like? We can help you find all that.
- Not thrilled at the idea of fast food and paper plates for a month while your household goods are shipping? The Lending Closet is here to keep your kitchen functioning.
The unknown of a new duty station can be a little scary – personally, I was terrified – but we have some resources to alleviate those fears. The Military Installations site at Militaryinstallations.dod.mil is an outstanding website, packed with information about duty stations across the world. You can access it from any computer or come to the Relocation Readiness at ACS for a guided tour. All the information on the site – or a customized version with just the information you need – can be printed in a printable PDF form so you don’t have to be tied to your computer to get what you need.
From Military Installations, you can also access the Plan My Move site, which is part of Military One Source. From the site, simply enter your PCS information. The site generates calendars, checklists for travel and arrival, to-do lists, and important phone numbers. It’s all printable and customized based on the information you provide. For people who are, let’s say, ‘organizationally challenged’ like I am, it’s a dream come true!
Now, let’s say you got lucky enough to meet someone here and got married, and that person happens to be German … or Austrian … or Italian … you get the idea. That spouse needs an immigration visa before she (or he) can enter the United States legally. This is a very complex process which takes a minimum of 6 months and includes lengthy paperwork, proof that your relationship is legitimate, and trips to the Frankfurt US consulate. And there is no speeding it up for PCS orders or DEROS dates. That spouse cannot legally enter the US during the time their visa application is being processed. The moral of the story is … start as soon as you get married. To help our community’s international spouses, a Visa workshop will be held at ACS on April 19. For more information contact our Relocation Readiness Program Manager, Beate Williams, at DSN 354-7060, CIV 09721-96-7060.
Point is, the Relocation Readiness office is here to help – whether you’re relocating to or from Schweinfurt. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Visit us or call us at DSN 354-6933, CIV 09721-96-6933 for more information.