Keeping Your Sanity During Your First PCS

How to PCS Like a Veteran

You have a lot to learn as a brand-new military spouse. Being separated from my husband was the first military challenge I faced, but the next challenge came immediately after…

the inevitable PCS.

How to PCS Like a Veteran

As soon as my husband’s orders came in hand, I wanted to get the show on the road. I was ready to get started and be moved, but I didn’t know the first thing about PCSing. The fact that I didn’t have a military installation nearby to assist me proved to be my first hurdle. Then I quickly realized that the Internet had everything I needed in regards to knowing what to do and when. With all the resources available, it was a matter of putting together the most appropriate game plan for us. Are you a brand-new military spouse?

Here are my suggestions to keeping your sanity during your first PCS.

  1. Understand that PCSing is crazy.

    I have a terrible Type-A personality. When I plan, I expect things to go the way I planned. The military thinks otherwise. Before we got the hard copy of our orders to Fort Belvoir, his orders to Korea had a different follow-on assignment. Everyone else that my husband went to Korea with got what their follow-on assignment said…we were the only ones thrown a curve ball. The military is notorious for throwing curve balls, so brace yourself.

  2. Househunt online.

    My goal for our first PCS was to find a home before we moved. I wanted to be sure as soon as we drove onto Fort Belvoir, Va., we could immediately put our boxes in our new home. I scoured the Internet to get a sense of what was out there. The Automated Housing Referral Network is a free housing referral website that’s tailored to the military community. All you need to do is input your new duty station, rank grade and voila! — a selection of possible homes that fit your criteria.

    If you can’t have a home waiting for you before you move, especially if you’re doing an overseas move, don’t worry. The best thing to do is get yourself there and take a deep breath. Once you’re at your new duty station, you can ask around. Other military spouses and your housing office can offer advice too.

  3. Print checklists, assemble documents.

    Whether you are doing a DITY move or having the military move you, keep all your important documents (passports, marriage license, PCS orders) with you. Assemble a special binder or folder that has all the appropriate documentation that you would need for your journey. I like to print checklists to get me through the different steps. assembled a special toolkit for military families and offers checklists too.You can never be too prepared, so print as much as you can and put together a toolkit that works for your family. NextGen MilSpouse has a comprehensive list of PCS resources. Bookmark that page today.

  4. Learn from your mistakes.

    I wanted to forget them as soon as they happened, but I quickly realized that it’s important to remember the mistakes from my first PCS. I certainly don’t want those things to repeat themselves. My husband and I wrote down tips and suggestions for our future selves. What do they say about fine wine? It gets better with age….

What PCS advice do you have for new military spouses?


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