PCSing in the time of COVID-19

By John Reese
Public Affairs 
USAG Stuttgart

As this annual special PCS Out edition of the Stuttgart Citizen went to press, the COVID-19 virus continues to impact our daily lives. The information provided in this issue is based on a return to normalcy; business hours and other information may not reflect the current situation. For those who picked up this issue to plan your out-processing or found it online here, the information is still valid … just temporarily slowed. Even this special edition was delayed in favor of printing a COVID-19 issue of The Citizen.

PCS season annually begins in late March, although in 2020 it’s off to a slower start to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Making a permanent change of station is something many community members have done multiple times in their careers. Regardless of your rank or job description, PCSing out is a fact of life.

A PCS can be relatively stress-free if you take the time to get organized. This special issue of The Citizen is designed to help you navigate that move. It has phone numbers, web links, tips and more to guide you through the experience. The information in this issue will help whether you live in government housing or on the economy. Before doing anything else, check to ensure all of the things that take a lot of time, like renewing your passport, are set in motion (see p.10).

Next, take an inventory of your high-value items long before the packing begins. You can begin this by simply taking photos or videos around your home. Videos are useful to show HHG such as appliances, electronics, cuckoo clock, etc., are in good working order. Regardless of what you’ve acquired during your time in Germany, be it antiques, pottery, art and more, recording the items will help in the event you need to make a claim after you and your household goods arrive at your next duty location.

High value items that can be carried or sent by registered mail and important documents with personally identifiable information shouldn’t be shipped with your household goods. Don’t let your passport and CAC (common access card) be inadvertently packed by the movers. That could delay your departure plans.

If you live in on-post housing, make sure your quarters are in clean and undamaged condition. In most cases, personnel may begin making arrangements to clear post 45 days prior to departure. You’ll also be asked to complete a mandatory out-processing questionnaire at least 30 days before leaving. Getting started early helps the process move smoothly.

Getting your vehicle ready to ship is another task that can be made easy by starting early. Privately owned vehicles need to be in good condition, emptied of all personal belongings, and very clean inside and out. Make sure the interior is dry, too, for the long journey to your next destination. You’ll find pointers for smooth POV shipping on p.7-8.

There are many stations to clear before you depart, especially if you have a family – stations such as schools, TRICARE, Exception Family Member Program, pets – it won’t be as stressful if you get organized early. This issue of The Citizen was created to make your departure as pleasant as your tour of duty.

Stuttgart really is a great place to live and work. As the years go by, you and your family will remember this duty station with warm memories.

Pick up a Citizen newsstand hardcopy or keep up to date online, and follow the garrison Facebook page. Watch for PCS updates and messages by garrison commander Col. Jason W. Condrey.

And as the commander says, “Every day is COVID day … until it isn’t.”