A permanent change of station is never an easy task. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Traffic Management Office at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., continues to help Airmen through the PCS process.
The TMO provides transportation services for personal property belonging to military personnel, dependents, retirees and Department of Defense civilians who are traveling on official orders. Since pandemic precautions took hold the TMO has been working virtually to practice social distancing.
Due to the stop movement order, Airmen scheduled to PCS are running into a number of roadblocks. The stop movement order was issued early during the COVID-19 outbreak and restricted international and domestic movement on government-funded travel for all Department of Defense service members, civilian personnel and dependents.
Leadership in the 432nd Support Squadron at Creech continuously engage with 12th Air Force and Air Combat Command for further guidance to help Creech Airmen receive the most up to date information.
Information regarding the effects of the stop movement order, and more, are passed down through the TMO, who isolate and disseminate specific information for Creech Airmen. This guidance can give Airmen a better idea on the who, what, when and where of restrictions in place, and how service members and their families may be affected by the changes.
In addition to general guidance and updates to policy, TMO personnel work with individual members to answer questions or address one-off situations. The TMO also helps service members understand if they qualify for an exception to policy waiver.
“The exception to policy waiver allows members to have their belongings picked up during this time,” said Tech. Sgt. Shuneda, noncommisioned officer in charge of personal property for the 432nd SPTS. “We’ve also developed an exception to policy template to expedite a member’s request or approval process from their squadron commander or first sergeant.”
For those inbound, the TMO is also able to assist with personally procured moves.
Prior to the stop movement order, Capt. Anthony, logistics flight commander at the 432nd SPTS, received orders to PCS in May 2020. Due to the stop movement order, he encountered a number of difficulties in preparation for his move.
“I got my orders in December 2019, and it stressed me out to hear about the impacts and delays of my move because of the stop movement order,” Anthony said. “Going through a PCS and real estate sales is already stressful, and the uncertain timeline made it worse.”
Support units, which serve Airmen such as the TMO, guided Capt. Anthony and his wife by providing an ETP letter to expedite their PCS process.
“I’m lucky to have outstanding Airmen, who worked with the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office to create a local exception to policy letter,” Anthony said.
Several Creech AFB members in and outbound during this pandemic have been affected by the stop movement order. The ETP letter created by the TMO allows personal property to be shipped prior to the end of the stop movement order with approval from a member’s squadron commander or first sergeant.
“My leadership has been extremely supportive in providing information on my move entitlements and working with me to establish a new projected departure date,” Anthony said.
Although teleworking has proven to be difficult, the TMO has persevered to ensure guidance is shared, and Airmen are supported.
“My Airmen have counseled members on their PCS options, answered questions and booked shipments if permitted,” Shuneda said. “They work tirelessly to make sure each member is able to get the required documentation submitted in order to continue with their shipment.”
Many service members are unaware of their options during a PCS, including counseling that could alleviate out of pocket expenditures available at the TMO.
“Going through this process as a customer allowed me to experience firsthand the outstanding support the TMO professionals provide to Creech Airmen,” said Anthony. “It made me even more proud to be their flight commander.”
For Airmen seeking assistance or counseling on their options during a PCS, the TMO virtual office is open Monday through Friday from 8-11 a.m., and 1-3 p.m. via their org box firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 702-473-0257.