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A Tale of Two Moves: Part 2

Last month we profiled two military wives and their cross-country and international moves. They may have mastered the logistics of these giant moves, but when they arrived at their new duty stations, there was still more to do before they could relax and unpack.

Here is quick look at their must do list as soon as you arrive at your new duty station.


Transfer your Tricare to your new region about a week before you move.

“At my last location, I waited until we got there and it was a three week wait on doctor appointments for school physicals,” said Army spouse Juanita Klemm.

Visit Tricare’s site to make your transfers on the go:


School requirements for physicals for just school, or sports participation may vary, but earlier transfer seems to still be best. Klemm, a school administrator, also suggests first calling the new school district to ask about required forms and always have the child’s birth certificate and shot records with you.

“Do not let the movers pack your records,” Klemm stressed.

“I couldn’t believe how many people would show up at school and say their documents were in a box on a moving truck,” she said.

She also suggests calling the clinic on your new base to see if they have a walk-in service to transcribe shot records that need to be turned in to the school.

Before moving, the ever-organized Klemm made a binder for each of her children with all necessary school paperwork like shot records, birth certificates and any test scores.

“Those are the most generally required documents. I carried the binders with me in the car in a tote, along with other important papers such as passports, our birth certificates, social security cards and marriage license. I never let movers pack those,” she said.

Shipping Furniture and Cars

As Army spouse Kim Carlile prepared to move to Germany, she learned as much as she could about the living quarters there before packing.

 “Since the living quarters are smaller over there, I had yard sales and got rid of tons of our stuff,” Carlile said.

And, since the Army only pays to ship one personal vehicle overseas, the family sold one of their cars before they left.

Carlile attributes much of the assistance she received in her relocation prep to her installation’s transportation office.  There, she learned that household goods go into three different shipments: the main household goods (furniture and large items) and the unaccompanied baggage, such as pillows,  dishes, pots, pans and blankets.

“The unaccompanied baggage consists of basic needs for your house and usually gets there quickest,” Carlile said.

The third shipment is what she calls storage items, like grills, washers and dryers. These all get picked up by the movers.

Upon arrival, getting settled involved budgeting and utility start up, and learning how the procedures worked in Germany.

“One of the hardest things to learn was the financial stuff,” Carlile said. “It was hard to figure out our budget between euros and dollars. But once we got our budget in euros established, we just padded our account with extra money due to the fluctuation of the exchange rate.”

The cultural and the language barrier made setting up new utility accounts a challenge.

“Establishing telephone service had extra steps just due to translation issues,” Carlile said.

“With electricity, they read your meter once a year and they estimate your payment based on your family size. We paid based on an estimate then when they actually read the meter at the end of the year, it was adjusted,” she said.

Navigating the ins and outs of everything from school requirements to international procedures, these two ladies succeeded in their moves. If you want a PCS Happily Ever After, make sure you use the resources on base and online to navigate your move smoothly.

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