OCTOBER 26, 2021 – For Charles Lyons, the “Help Me Plan a Smooth PCS Move” briefing he and other U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey officials deliver twice a month to service members is not just helpful—it’s critical.
“Resiliency, resiliency, resiliency. That’s the most important thing,” said Lyons, a service specialist with the Presidio of Monterey Army Community Service. “Knowing this information improves their quality of life. It cuts down on a lot of the stress.”
Less stress means increased readiness, and not only does the mandatory, 75-minute briefing include information about how to create personalized moving checklists through the Department of Defense’s Military OneSource “Plan My Move” webpage, it also provides tips about housing, transportation, finances and more.
During the Oct. 20 briefing at the Tin Barn at PoM, Lyons determined through a show of hands that an overwhelming majority of his nearly 70-member audience contained young, single Soldiers, so he tailored the briefing for them. In particular he stressed “driving to arrive.”
Since many service members would be driving personal vehicles to their next duty stations, Lyons included safety information, such as the importance of vehicle inspection and what they should do in case of a break down.
Lyons also emphasized the importance of route planning and told service members that popular map apps allow them to share the details of their route and allows others to track their progress.
“You can share that drive with one of your family members, a close friend—somebody who is dependable,” Lyons said. “Now if you share that drive with someone who is undependable, the next thing you know, you’re stopped in the middle of Death Valley and six hours later you’re like, ‘Hey!’ Nobody calls you.”
Also, the military limits service members to driving no more than 350 miles per day during a permanent-change-of-station move, Lyons said, and for safety reasons, it’s important not to exceed that limit.
“Somebody is going to try and do 500, pushing the limit,” Lyons said. “Many people try it. Many people become statistics. You guys are just now starting your careers leaving an installation, and never arriving is never fun. Share your drive. Make it fun.”
Lyons also advised Soldiers not to get married in between duty stations.
“There are specific reasons for that,” Lyons told them. “The Army sends out a single Soldier, they’re expecting a single Soldier to arrive … Wait until you get to your duty station. Get settled in and then you make that phone call to say, ‘Hey, you want to tie the knot?’ If they say no, move on. OK?”
Representatives from the Directorate of Human Resources, Military Personnel Division, and housing office also participated.
Rea Zacarias and Sarah Rodriguez, human resources assistants with the MPD, talked about the necessary forms service members would need and in which order they should get them, as well as how service members can receive their foreign language proficiency bonus pay.
In addition, Ruby Sutton, housing manager, made sure everyone knew the importance of clearing housing, as well as giving proper notice to landlords. She also warned service members about housing scams.
Those who attended the briefing said they appreciated the information.
Spc. Olivia Piccirillo, assigned to the 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, said it was particularly helpful to have all the information in one spot, with each individual in charge of a subject laying it out clearly.
“I’m very thankful for them,” Piccirillo said. “I know they give this brief a lot, but I’m thankful that they’re willing to help us out and try to grease the wheel—make it move well and smoothly for us as individuals.”
Lyons said he is available to help service members one-on-one with PCS questions and plans. Contact him at (831) 242-7660, (831) 242-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Winifred Brown
U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey