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DEERS provides helpful hints for a smooth visit

28 Nov 2011 | Diane Durden

Have you ever waited in line for hours to get a new identification card, only to be turned away because you didn’t have all of the necessary paperwork?

For many Combat Center personnel this is a common occurrence at the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System office.

Being armed with the correct information and documentation before you head to DEERS will save you valuable time.

The DEERS office, located in the Village Center on Fourth Street, provides ID card services to active duty and reserve service members, retirees, family members, civilian employees and contractors.

Their customer base covers a nearly 100-mile radius around the Combat Center. The next closest DEERS offices are located in Barstow and China Lake.

Because of their large customer base, it is imperative to plan your visit to DEERS wisely. Different situations require different documentation.

Service members who have been promoted, reenlisted or extended their contracts don’t need any documentation as long as the Marine Corps Total Force System has been updated to reflect their current status. This update is automatic, but may take a few days. DEERS personnel recommend service members bring in their promotion warrants or reenlistment paperwork anyway.

“Having their paperwork [with them] will allow us to issue a new identification card even if the system hasn’t been updated yet,” said Carla Lanza, the site supervisor for the Combat Center DEERS office.

Although issuing ID cards for updated rank and end of active service is a large portion of their customer base, adding family members seems to cause a majority of the complications when issuing ID cards.

Sponsors must be present when applying for family member ID cards. If the sponsor is not available, the family member must have a DD Form 1172, Application for Identification Card/DEERS Enrollment, signed by the sponsor or a power of attorney.

Combat Center Family Readiness Officers have a checklist of required documents for each type of situation. Local service members and their families are asked to refer to this list prior to coming to the DEERS office. All other customers can contact the DEERS office directly.

Original documents are required and must be scanned into the system. This is a Department of Defense requirement. Certified true copies are not acceptable, except when certified by the issuing authority.

“The better and more accurate information the customer provides, the better product and service we can give,” said Larry Ward, officer in charge, Center Personnel Office.

Recent changes affecting the information presented on ID cards include replacing the use of social security numbers with a DOD ID number, known as an Electronic Data Interchange – Person Identifier. This change affects all cards containing SSNs.

DEERS will not do a mass reissuance of cards to remove SSNs. Cards will be replaced as they expire or to update rank and end of active service.

To avoid long wait times, customers are encouraged to schedule appointments. Officers, staff non-commissioned officers, retirees, family members and civilian employees can schedule appointments by calling 830-1922. Active duty and reserve members, E-5 and below, can also schedule appointments, but must walk in to do so.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms