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Traffic Management Office: PCS season is on the move

One female airman sits at a desk across from a male airman in a flight suit looking through a folder of paperwork.

Capt. Benn Slikker, C-130J pilot trainee from Vance Air Force Base, Okla., works with Senior Airman Caroline Vanvalkenburgh, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron personal property representative, on his move to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Feb. 6, 2018 at Little Rock Air Force, Ark. TMO is divided into two sections: Personal Property, where they move household goods for all services; and Passenger Travel, where they handle permanent change of station, temporary duty, and deployment travel.

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Stop! Do NOT mess up that piano.  Anything else, just don’t mess up that piano.”

The section chief for the Traffic Management Office, remembered stressing and yelling that at her movers during one of her five permanent changes of station where her grandmother’s piano was, once again, successfully, coming off a moving van.  

Master Sgt. Elizabeth Witt, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron section chief of Personal Property and Passenger Travel,  knows the stress of moving and understands what people go through when they come in to TMO to move their whole lives for the first time, or the fifth.

TMO is divided into two sections: Personal Property, where they move household goods for all services; and Passenger Travel, where they handle permanent change of station, temporary duty, and deployment travel.  All of which can be stressful times for the service members, civilians, Department of Defense employees, or retirees involved.

“We really try to lessen that burden, because we do understand how stressful it is, no matter if you are PCSing, deploying or whatever it is,” Witt said. 

She adds, as far as personal property goes, people who are moving can relieve some stress by coming to TMO as soon as they get their orders. 

One of the biggest problems TMO staff has is people waiting until the last moment. Witt describes a service member PCSing overseas, and they are entitled to three shipments total.  They will wait until two weeks prior to moving and want three different shipments picked up. 

May through September is TMO’s peak season for moving, and orders will start dropping soon.

 “As soon as you get those orders in, it may be four months before you’re leaving, but come in and see us now,” Witt said.  “It may take us three weeks to book versus a week because it is so far out, but at least you are guaranteed those dates especially if it’s in peak season.”

PCSing customers need not bring anything else but their orders and a rough idea of how and when they want to move their household goods.  Once they come in, a personal property representative will direct them to log into the Defense Personal Property System, where they will input their information, some of which is on those orders.

Once the customer inputs everything into the system, then a representative will sit with them for one-on-one counseling to go over their checklist.  One of the things they tell them about is www.Move.mil, the official Department of Defense moving portal, which is packed with information to help people move successfully and how to file a claim if it was not so successful.  

“We definitely tell people about the website, especially when they call and say that they don’t have orders, but what can they do? You can check out www.Move.mil.  Prepare yourself, arm yourself, know what you are going to do when you come in here with those orders,” said Tech Sgt. Jaimie Bauer, 19th LRS TMO non-commissioned officer in charge of Personal Property and Passenger Travel.

DPS and the one-on-one counseling is the same process for a contracted carrier move, or an old school do-it-yourself move.  For a carrier move, the similarity ends with TMO sending the customer’s finished paperwork to the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office – South Central for them to book a carrier.

For people who want to move themselves, TMO signs the shipment off, and they’re good to go to start moving right then and there. The only paperwork required is their empty and full weight paperwork back to TMO to complete the process. 

“A lot of people move themselves.  Or do a partial move, where they’ll have a carrier come in and move most of their stuff, and they’ll move their little things, then get paid for it.  There’s a gain to it,” Witt said.

Capt. Benn Slikker, a pilot trainee TDY from Vance Air Force Base, Okla., normally does his own moves, but this time he’s moving overseas.

“I am here TDY from Vance AFB, learning to fly the C-130J model. Today I’m at TMO because while I’m at Little Rock, I’m actually in the process of shipping all of my stuff for my PCS to Ramstein Air Base,” he said.  “My wife will be in Oklahoma at the end of the month to supervise the moving company.”

A large office is filled with desks and people working at those desks.
The Traffic Management Office schedules customers’ flights for overseas moves, moves for permanent changes of station, and flights for deployments and temporary duty. TMO is divided into two sections: Personal Property, where they move household goods for all services; and Passenger Travel, where they handle PCS, TDY, and deployment travel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tammy L. Reed.)
A large office is filled with desks and people working at those desks.
Packed with customers
The Traffic Management Office schedules customers’ flights for overseas moves, moves for permanent changes of station, and flights for deployments and temporary duty. TMO is divided into two sections: Personal Property, where they move household goods for all services; and Passenger Travel, where they handle PCS, TDY, and deployment travel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tammy L. Reed.)
Slikker is a typical customer for TMO, who works with Passenger Travel to travel TDY, and to get tickets to PCS, and work with Personal Property to move household goods.

“I didn’t call beforehand, but I usually know that anytime something has to do with moving I need to bring orders with me,” Slikker said.  “So I keep a folder with all my stuff in there and usually they need something out of it.

“My experience with TMO was very good, she did a very good job, answered all my questions and was very helpful with information.” 

 “The big thing that I try to teach my young Airmen coming in, is that people handle stress differently,” Witt said. “It’s our job as customer service to take care of them and make sure that we’ve relieved a little bit of that stress.”

Bauer added, “I think once that customers get in, and they see how smooth the process is with us giving them all the information they need, they’re pretty happy by the time they leave.”