Marines moving to new stations to be prioritized in tiers amid PCS backlog
By IMMANUEL JOHNSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 13, 2020
Marines whose moves are now in limbo, along with others planning to move this year, will be grouped into three different scheduling tiers as the U.S. Transportation Command battles a permanent-change-of-station backlog throughout the military.
The service outlined its prioritized PCS scheduling in a memo Tuesday, based on an expected June 30 expiration date for the Defense Department’s “stop move,” which had been ordered to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The adjusted plan is designed to help TRANSCOM and the Distribution Management Office grapple with a four-month delay in household-goods shipments.
The first tier, slated to move in July and August, includes Marines heading to or returning from unaccompanied overseas tours, command teams inbound to field-grade commands or above, and those on joint billets in the Office of the Secretary of Defense or the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Also in that tier are Marines going to or returning from assignments at formal schools, whether as students, staff or instructors, and not already authorized to PCS under exceptions to policy.
In the second wave, which is scheduled for August and September, are those going to or from accompanied overseas tours and Marines heading to Inspector-Instructor duty, to squadrons supporting the F-35 aircraft stand-up, on individual mobilization orders or to certain other units.
Some Marines in that tier already have had their orders modified once to accommodate stints left on their service contracts that now ordinarily might be too short to allow for their moves, said Sgt. Jorge Ribera Pedraza, a career planner for Marine Aircraft Group 49.
It’s still unclear how the new memo and timelines will affect those Marines, he said.
The third tier of moves, expected to begin in September and complete by the end of November, include others moving to or from assignments in the continental U.S. and Hawaii.
The tiers do not apply to moves within 50 miles or changes of assignment at the same duty station — which the service plans to use as much as possible — nor do they affect full do-it-yourself moves, also known as “DITY moves,” which must be approved by Marine chains of command. Other exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, the memo said.
Marines with orders should try to schedule their goods shipments “without delay” to help ease the burden on the transportation system, the memo stated.
Commanders can approve shipments to begin as soon as this month, with the Marine’s travel slated for July or later, but doing so might incur higher lodging costs that won’t be covered by added temporary allowances or entitlements.
Marines also may extend tours, but will need to submit requests to Headquarters Marine Corps with command approval.