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By Colonel Dale Kissinger (Ret.)
Military acronyms are frequently a source of curiosity by our civilian family and friends and a source of much humor in the military community!  Recently, my father, a WW2 veteran, told me of an acronym used by his pastor in a sermon that had its origin in WW2 GI slang and had become part of American culture and language.  When the minister was informed of what he had just said if the acronym had been spelt out in its entirety, he was pretty surprised.
 
We don't want our MilitaryAvenue Partners surprised by the term PCS!  While it does not contain any bad language itself, it might be considered to be the beginning of a period of bad language for many military families.  A Permanent Change of Station is both a new location and new job for a military member and usually involves a long cross country trip and/or an overseas port.  It also involves leaving friends and spouse jobs behind and finding new ones in the next location.  We found them to be exciting times but also very challenging for the whole family for different reasons.
 
A PCS starts as a military personnel need that a human resource person must fill!  Usually, military personnel move about every three years and they get a heads up or know that their turn is about to happen in the January timeframe of a new year.  They may have filled out "a dream sheet" of where they want to go and can start looking at their potential new location early in the year.  They start doing research and asking questions like:
 
What is the climate like?  What are the schools like?  Is housing affordable?  What do we do with our pets?  Is there going to be a spouse job market?  Can we find entertainment along the way for family?  Visit extended family en route?  Where do we find long term stay facilities when we arrive?  Can we find a house before we get there?   Apartment, on base housing or off base?  Do we need a new car?  Will we take two cars or sell one?  Store it?  Is it going to be a DITY move?  Another acronym which means Do it Yourself and involves time and back strain.  Can we use a rental truck or trailer?  Realtor?  Mortgage Company?  Do I need to find a local bank/credit union? Child care facilities?  Where do we find the answers to all these questions, learn a new job and keep the family glued together?
 
After answering many of these (and numerous others as well) 18 times we decided there had to be a help for military families in the Internet world!  After the military orders arrive between February to April for a summer PCS (most occur in the summer) the time to dig into that new location gets serious!  Many questions can be answered with some research at MilitaryAvenue (did you know that 100% of the military community have access to computer resources and 67% have made an online purchase?)!  Almost all use it for research and assistance during a PCS!
 
So many decisions are made long distance with the Internet resources available and so our military family found hotels en route, visited that National Park or amusement park to break up the trip, moved themselves with a truck rental, found a realtor they are looking forward to meeting upon arrival, found a new vet and kennel before arrival and a couple of spouse job opportunities look very promising!  The school districts look pretty good but a visit upon arrival will be needed to make a final decision-maybe that realtor can help!  Arrival time is here!  Found the temporary housing/long term stay location with that great MilitaryReward  and the temporary storage unit and returned the truck!  All arranged in advance but now what do I need to do locally?
 
When does school start?  Find that house or apartment in a week?  Maybe two?  Closing in 6 weeks! Where are the good restaurants?  Movie rentals?  Personal services-need a haircut before I meet the new boss!  Dry cleaners?  Clothes for the new area? (ever move from Iceland to Virginia or Florida to Iceland?)  New household supplies and services?  How about that housing inspector?  Where is the new child care?  Where do I print my updated resume for that new spouse job interview?
 
Our Partners may not aware of the potential for the military marketplace so I found some data to show you how much money the federal government spent on military PCS actions in 2004!  Ready to count zeros?  The military personnel needs involved 757,595 relocations and $3,635,383,000*!  That is $3.63 Billion in one year and it has historically risen about 5% per year!  That is federal dollars and does not include personal funding!  Many of those dollars are reimbursed to the military community for their costs for transportation, DITY moves, storage, meal reimbursement, long term stay facilities, and dislocation allowances to cover some of the individual costs involved in a PCS!  So a large portion is discretionary funding for the military personnel! Where, when, how, and what is usually determined by the military personnel!
 
Our 2,780+ Partners are critical to making a PCS a success for our military personnel and families!  Thank you for your support to this hard working and Internet savvy community!  MilitaryAvenue.com provides the STREET between the inside the gate community and Your outside the gate business!
 
 
* As reported by GSA at www.gsa.gov
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