Moving in the Air Force

What to do after getting Air Force PCS orders

In recruitment material, the Air Force states Airmen can change bases as often as every three years. While new PCS orders allow you to see a new place, getting to a new location involves many different steps. Along with moving household goods and a personal vehicle, you may also be looking for a job for your spouse, changing schools for your children and shopping for home furnishings. Thankfully, the Air Force has many different programs available to help. Once you get PCS orders, choose the best moving option and then take advantage of the resources and programs to help with the move.

Waving blue flag of the U.S. Air Force.


Options for an Air Force move

You can choose to let the government handle the move or do it yourself with a Personally Procured Move, or PPM. Many Air Force members prefer the PPM option because it allows more control over the details. You can choose how and when the move happens, and there’s no waiting weeks for the government movers to deliver your belongings. A PPM can also put money in your pocket since the Air Force will reimburse 100% of what it would have cost for a full-service move.

Getting reimbursed

With an Air Force PPM, you’ll have to weigh all items (since reimbursement amounts are based on the weight of the household goods). So if you use a rental truck, be sure to get certified weight tickets, both empty and full. The Air Force isn’t particular about whether tickets are obtained at origin or destination. If you use a self-moving service like U-Pack®, we can get the weight tickets as long as you request them before the move day.

Learn more about military moving with U-Pack to see if it’s the right fit for you.

If you choose the PPM option, visit the Transportation Management Office (TMO) to turn in receipts, required forms and weight tickets for reimbursement upon arrival at the new duty station.

If you do a government move, follow all base check-in procedures, including turning in any receipts to the TMO.

Air Force programs and services to help with your move

These relocation offerings are designed to help service members and families have a smooth transition to a new base.

Note: These programs may not be available at all duty stations. Check with your sponsor to find out what’s available locally.

Air Force Aid Society

As the official charity of the Air Force, the Air Force Aid Society assists service members in times of need. Through the Airman & Family Readiness Center, they provide educational programs, financial planning for expectant parents, and vouchers for vehicle maintenance. But one of the most important programs to know about during a move is Child Care for PCS, which pays for up to 20 hours of child care per child within 60 days of departure or 60 days of arrival for all ranks.

Air Force housing options

The Air Force Housing Management Office will help locate housing and answer any housing-related questions. It’s a good idea to set up an appointment with your base’s Housing Office to discuss residential renting, leasing or purchasing options at the new location. Your orders should provide contact information for that office.

Airman’s Attic

The Airman’s Attic is a free thrift store run by volunteers on base. It’s the perfect place to donate unwanted items to support other military members. They will take furniture, electronics, décor, toys, and clothing. Instead of moving old uniforms, leave them behind for new service members. The Airman’s Attic may even come to pick up your donations!

If you need anything after moving, consider shopping the Attic at the new base. Typically, the Airman’s Attic is for ranks of E5 or below (and their families), but their uniform clothing closet is available to all ranks.

Airman and Family Readiness Center

This center connects your family to services on and off base, including career planning or unemployment help for spouses, resume writing, car care and more. If you’re feeling the stress of the move, take advantage of free counseling sessions with the Military and Family Consultants. They’re there to support the entire family through issues like relationship troubles, homesickness and parenting.

Loan Locker

If you’re waiting on your household items, you can borrow some for free for 30 days from the Loan Locker. It’s not just for newcomers, though. It’s a great place to borrow baby items for a short time or get things like card tables for a party.

Newcomer’s Orientation

While the Newcomer’s Orientation is mandatory for service members, it can be beneficial for spouses to attend as well. At this meeting, you’ll learn about the wing’s mission, meet representatives from different areas and get training information. Following the session, they usually give tours of the base, and in many places, they’ll also host tours of the city to show new residents where local businesses and attractions are located.

Youth Relocation Program

If you’re PCSing with kids, enroll them in this program to connect them with a child of similar age. Think of it as a sponsorship program for your kids, giving them a new friend to connect with who can show them what life is like on this particular base.

Start planning your Air Force move

If you’re considering the PPM option, check out U-Pack rates to see how we compare. With U-Pack, all you have to do is pack and load your HHG, and we’ll handle the driving. We can even get weight tickets as long as you request them before moving. We deliver the items door to door, either on- or off-base, and transit times average just 4-6 business days (instead of weeks with the government movers). U-Pack also has military moving specialists that ensure you have everything needed for reimbursement.

Use our PCS moving checklist to get started. Then give us a call at [phone_number:rul] to check rates or reserve your move.