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‘Coast to Coast’ guides Marines leaving Combat Center

25 Sep 2013 | Lance Cpl Paul S. Martinez

Marines and their families preparing to undergo a permanent change of station received useful information and assistance during a Coast to Coast brief at the Village Center Sept. 18.

The Relocation Assistance Program, under Marine Corps Community Services, led topics of discussion to include financial considerations, how to efficiently prepare for relocation and tips for moving.

“These briefs are designed to help the families so that if they have never PCS’d before they know what to expect,” said David J. Petrovich, RAP Manager, MCCS. “Some families have never been to the East Coast or West Coast. They often won’t know what to do.”

Participants learned that a dislocation allowance is designed to partially reimburse a service member for traveling expenses. It varies depending on pay grade and the amount of dependents. Additionally, service members are allotted a set amount of days for travel depending on their current duty station. For example, a service member relocating from the Combat Center to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., is usually given 1 day of travel time.

The Marines and their families at the brief were preparing to travel to many different locations across the country. Sgt. Milton Zavala, infantryman, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, received orders for Drill Instructor School, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif.

“I've been here for six years, and don’t have much knowledge about relocating,” Zavala said.

Zavala plans to move with his wife and three kids.

“The tips for helping my three children transition into a new school are especially helpful,” Zavala said. “I’m definitely looking forward to starting a new experience, and this brief is helping me get there.”

Before arriving at a new duty station, service members must know how to leave this one. The brief covered how to properly check out of the Combat Center.

For those living in Lincoln Military Housing, a 30-day moving notice must be given by the occupant to the housing office. Next, an inspection will be conducted to ensure the housing unit is clean and all trash and belongings are moved.

Families can then focus on what their new duty station will bring.

REP can provide workshops, welcome aboard packets, and information on setting Marines up with such opportunities as the loan locker, which is a program that allows families to rent out small appliances such as microwaves.

“From housing applications to sponsors, we can set them up before they leave,” Petrovich said. “We want to relieve the stress of moving and provide as much information as possible.”

The brief also advised Marines to conduct an inventory of all belongings and organize records prior to the move, and to maintain a relocation budget to follow during travel.

It was also recommended to keep emergency phone numbers handy while in transit.

“Families should know that the Marine Corps is here to help them if they need something,” Petrovich said. “They just have to ask the right resources.”
For information about executing a permanent change of station, contact the Relocation Assistance Program at (760) 830-4028.

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