PCSing Move Options

During my dad’s time in the Air Force we moved 7 times, Germany, Indiana, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Washington, Back to Colorado. We always had movers pack and unload, and my dad drove in the US, and to Germany, of course, we had to fly. I was already a world traveler by the time I was 6.

Step 1 in a PCS move is a meeting with the base Transportation Office.  Each service branch has a different title for this.

Army – Installation Transportation Office

Navy & Marines – Personal Property Shipping Office

Air Force – Traffic Management Office

Coast Guard – Household Goods Shipping Office

Dept. of Defense – Joint Personal Property Shipping Office

The Transportation Office provides information on moving options.

#1 MOVING OPTION – The Dept. of Defense contracts with a number of moving companies, and if the service member selects this option, the Transportation Office schedules and coordinates the move and the military pays the contracted carrier to pack, load, ship and unload all household goods at the new location.  The weight allowance for shipping household goods varies on rank and dependents.  If families household goods exceed the weight allowance, a significant cost can be added.  Be sure to check what is and isn’t considered household goods.

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You can go to www.Move.Mil, the Dept. of Defense’s portal for planning a PCS move without a visit to the Transportation Office.

#2 PERSONALLY PROCURRED MOVE – Some PCSing families prefer this, and they must be in consultation with the Transportation Office and meet certain criteria. 


The service member is entitled to 95% of what the military would pay a government contacted mover.     

Door-to-door control of household goods.

Better damage control.

No weight restriction.

On your own timetable.


If not carefully managed, expenses can exceed 95% and then the service member pays out-of-pocket. The service member must find a weighing station to weigh the vehicle empty and again when loaded.  You must make arrangements to transport extra vehicles.  Could be a long wait for reimbursement of expenses.  Not really a freebie – the government pays the service member to do all the work.

The 3rd option is PARTIAL DITY MOVE – (Formerly Do-It-Yourself Move)

Assuming the weight allowance has not been exceeded, the military will pay for anything the family moves, including items carried in the family car.  The service member must find a place to weigh vehicles empty and loaded and could put extra cash in their pocket.  For basic housekeeping, until the movers arrive, some families pack a small tow-behind trailer with mattresses, crib, pillows, basic linens, towels, folding table and chairs, a few pots and pans, dishes and silverware.  If you have children, favorite toys are brought along.  Valuable items should be transported this way. If you have pets, I would bring a bed, favorite blanket, and toys, and eating bowls.

When a service member transfers between CONUS locations, (continental US), the military with rare exception, is not responsible for shipping a personally owned vehicle, but the service member does receive mileage reimbursement for driving their own car.  If the move is Oconus,(Outside the Continental US), the military will pay to ship one privately owned vehicle.

I hope this information will be useful, see which option is going to be the best choice for you financially for your family.  Whatever saves you stress and money!

 Good luck on your next PCS move!


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