Preparing for USMC PCS orders
If you’re among the approximately 180,000 people currently serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, then a PCS or permanent change of station order may be in your future. Whether you plan the move on your own or let the government handle it, preparing beforehand helps the PCS process go smoothly.
6 Steps for a successful Marine Corps PCS
After receiving your PCS orders and verifying the accurate information, you’ll want to follow these steps to help ensure a manageable relocation.
1. Gather personal documents
You’ll need copies of your orders, medical records and personal identification to start the PCS process.
2. Confirm the status of your Government Travel Charge Card
The Marine Corps requires all Marines completing a government move to use a Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) to pay for all moving-related expenses like fuel, lodging, airfare, meals and rental cars. Check the status of your card or apply for one if this is your first PCS.
The GTCC credit limit is based on entitlements. It's active ten days before departure and 15 days after check-in at the new base. Contact the Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) for more info about approved expenses.
3. Register in the Defense Personal Property System
Your move will be tracked in the Defense Personal Property System (DPS). Register for an account or log in to an existing account to schedule and track your PCS.
4. Complete personal property counseling
Marines preparing for a first-time PCS must contact their local Distribution Management Office (DMO) for initial counseling. All other Marines and their dependents can perform self-counseling to learn how to file claims, personal property entitlements, allowances and other procedures related to the move.
5. Choose your preferred moving type
Marines can choose between a government-procured move (GPM), a personally procured move (PPM) or a partial PPM.
The government pays for and takes care of the whole move, including packing, loading, transporting, unloading and unpacking your household goods (HHG) on their schedule.
You are in control of scheduling and are eligible for 100% compensation of what the government cost would have been for the move.
The government moves the bulk of your HHG, and you move some things on your own, including essentials and things like important documents, keepsakes, sentimental items and valuables. You are eligible for reimbursement on the items you move on your own — it requires that you weigh your vehicle empty and again after it’s loaded.
6. Execute moving plans
After you’ve picked the type of move that fits your needs, it’s time to get the ball rolling. For GPMs, you’ll select a 7-day spread for the movers to pack and pick up your things. If you’re doing a PPM, schedule movers based on the No Later Than (NLT) date on your orders.
It’s best to book movers as soon as possible to ensure the dates you prefer. It’s also best to apply for housing on or near the new base when you get your PCS orders.
Things to consider for USMC PPMs
If you’re doing a PPM, there are some things you’ll need to do for proper reimbursement.
- Complete the PPM checklist and expense certification document. Submit any listed paperwork, including DD Form 1351-2 and DD Form 2278.
- Keep up with all moving-related receipts and contracts. Without accurate receipts, your expenses might not be reimbursed. Consider traveling with a folder to keep up with the papers.
- Make any special arrangements for shipping firearms. Most self-moving companies are not licensed to ship weapons, so you must keep them with you or arrange for a licensed shipper.
- Arrange for weight tickets. You’ll need full and empty certified weight tickets for reimbursement. Make sure to request these when you reserve your move.
Choose U-Pack for your Marine Corps PPM
Is a PPM your preferred way to PCS? U-Pack® can help! We’re a self-moving service with more than 25 years of experience in long-distance moving, including military moves. You handle the packing, loading and unloading, and we’ll transport your things. We can also provide the weight tickets you need for reimbursement; just ask for them when you make your reservation.
U-Pack is a convenient and budget-friendly way to move (putting more reimbursement money in your pocket). Get a free, no-obligation quote online or call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to check prices on your USMC move. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments. Thank you for your service!
Check out U-Pack’s printable PCS checklist.
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