DM leads the way with new Farewell Center

 

Arriving at a new duty station can be daunting, but it’s often made easier with welcome centers, sponsors and supporting agencies at various Air Force bases around the world.

Leaving a duty station can be filled with similar emotions of change, but often feels confusing as service members and their families navigate the long list of checklist items and then they’re sent on their way. That’s where the new Farewell Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., steps in to help.

As the first of its kind, the Farewell Center offers a thank you to service members and their families as they prepare to leave DM. They aim to show their gratitude for the service member’s contributions to DM with exceptional service and assistance in making their transition as seamless and stress-free as possible for all involved.

“Initially we had the Welcome Center where we inprocess everyone who comes to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and we tried to ensure that they had everything that they need and feel welcome to the base,” said Master Sgt. Rocky Edwards Knode, 355th Wing Welcome Center manager. “With that, we received a lot of feedback that it was one of the best inprocessing experiences service members have had over the years. So this was really driven by the wing commander to try to duplicate that feeling on the farewell side. Providing the service and support, and making service members feel appreciated by giving them a concierge feel to their inprocessing and outprocessing.”

When a service member is notified of a new assignment, the list of items needed to complete is long and timely, and without prior experience, accomplishing each item can be confusing.

“They do their initial assignment brief and then we have them come in for a Farewell Center appointment, where we check all of their information and provide them with a digital packet which includes links to all the agencies,” said Edwards Knode.

The digital packet provided by the Farewell Center is similar to a “how to guide” for service members going through a permanent change of station, and offers guidance for each step along the way.

“A lot of people see this as another appointment that’s kind of cumbersome, but really we are here to help them and save time in the long run,” said Edwards Knode. “We’ve honed in on Airman through staff sergeant, and lieutenant through captain, but every rank is welcome to come for assistance.”

The center includes assistance for families as well as service members and provides a comfortable setting for all.

One area of assistance that focuses on family is the help the center provides with the Exceptional Family Member Program. As of August 2021, all service members with dependents must go through the program to outprocess.

“A lot of people don’t realize that if their family member has seen two or more specialty clinics, they are automatically enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program,” said Sheena Barr, 355th Farewell Center staff member. “They wait until the last minute to complete that portion, but it takes time and we recommend they start the process as soon as they are notified of a PCS.”

In addition to the step-by-step guidance for passports, EFMP, medical and finance, Farewell Center staff members work closely with outprocessing agencies to ease the process where needed.

“We have relationships with all of the different offices, so where the service member may have a hard time getting ahold of someone, we have contacts that we can walk into their office and help the service member get the process going,” said Barr.

From short notice assignments, to the standard PCS and all of the steps in between, the Farewell Center is available to help and show DM hospitality and helpfulness through it all.
The Farewell Center is located in Bldg. 3200, Room 123 and they aim to make it as easy as

  1. Call 520-228-1077 to make an appointment, available Thursday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
  2. Attend appointment to get your step-by-step guide to a smooth PCS.
  3. Schedule a follow-up appointment for any additional questions or areas of concern.

For more information, visit www.dm.af.mil.

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