D-M’s Outbound Assignments office deals with 650 to 900 assignments during the busiest permanent change of station periods.
Though there are many steps, the process does not have to be very troublesome.
“We only have six people working in assignments, and the number of assignments at any given time can get very difficult,” Cardnell said.
When beginning the PCS process, Airmen receive a notification of assignment from the Air Force Personnel Center. Within seven days a person is required to acknowledge receipt of the notification on the Virtual Military Personnel Flight website.
“That’s the big thing,” Cardnell said. “There’s a bunch of information in there; however, a lot of it is slightly outdated. So we advise that people don’t do anything big after acknowledging, until they’re contacted by us. They need to give us time, because sometimes the report on an individual person doesn’t necessarily flow down expeditiously from AFPC. It might take us a week or two to actually get you scheduled for an initial assignment briefing with us.”
After attending the initial assignment briefing, Airmen are given a checklist that they need to complete in order to receive orders.
Normally, orders are not sent to AFPC until 120 days from an Airman’s departure date. For an overseas PCS, the 355th Medical Group can’t medically clear an Airman until 90 days from the departure date.
“Continental United States PCS’s tend to be quick and easy, because people don’t generally need the medical clearance, such as dental or immunizations records, like they would when going overseas,” Cardnell said.
Some assignments require personal processing codes, which come with detailed information about extra requirements that may need to be accomplished for the assignment. Personnelists may not receive those codes in advance.
“Sometimes there are issues with assignments,” Cardnell said. “Things come up. Every situation is different. People may fail to realize there are delays and speed bumps that come across. Patience is the biggest thing.”
On a daily basis, the assignment office processes four to 20 final outs, sends out 10 to 20 orders and receives 10 to 12 assignment notifications.
“It’s pretty busy all year round,” said Staff Sgt. Phillip Cardnell, 355th Force Support Squadron assignments noncommissioned officer in charge. “There’s four big assignment drops throughout the year: February-March, around this time of the year, end of summer, and early fall.”
Cardnell says the biggest problem is people coming in with questions that they could actually get answered by visiting vMPF and MyPers, two websites available to help with military personnel service actions.
“It is the one-stop shop,” Cardnell said. “It’s designed that way so we can start reducing customer flow through the MPF, because we are very much undermanned.”
The most common questions received tend to be questions regarding dependent entitlements and travel.
Some tips the outbound assignment office suggests:
- Keep a copy of everything you turn in for your records
- Be patient, changes and delays come up
- Passports/Visa – Overseas Assignments should accomplish this in the process of getting orders.
- Visit vMPF or MyPers for any questions before calling outbound assignments.
For more information, call the Outbound Assignments office at 228-5590.