'Smooth Move' educates Marines, families

13 May 2005 | Cpl. Micah Snead

“Welcome aboard! Now get to work” is a greeting many Marines and their families receive after a permanent change of station, but the Smooth Move workshop can help iron out the wrinkles of this life-changing process.

The Marine Corps Community Services Relocation Assistance Smooth Move classes aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island offer Marines and their families tips on everything from money matters to preparations for the family pet, according to Toni A. Stancil, manager, Relocation Assistance Program, MCAS Beaufort.

“Smooth Move is a mandatory workshop per Marine Corps Order P1700.24b for all Marines with PCS orders,” Stancil said. “The class educates Marines and their family members on their travel entitlements, Traffic Management Office shipments, housing, pet travel and requirements, resources for housing rentals, child care facilities, information on their new duty station and community, jobs for spouses and much, much more.”

The Air Station and Recruit Depot offer monthly classes for Marines with stateside (Continental United States) and overseas (Outside Continental United States) orders. Spouses are highly encouraged to attend and the information given in the classes is seemingly endless, according to Stancil.

“(The classes offer information on) travel entitlements, allowance rates, pet requirements (especially with overseas orders), housing information, where to go and who to see for what resources, the emotional phases of relocation and moving with children,” Stancil said.

The classes also cover what to do for TRICARE before you leave, while traveling and after you arrive, where to stay while traveling and money saving tips, according to Stancil.

All Marines with PCS orders are required to attend the workshop whether they are first-time movers or veterans. All attendants can learn something, according to Staff Sgt. Scott D. Damrauer, noncommissioned officer in charge, Aircraft Recovery, MCAS Beaufort.

“The seminar was very informative for first time and seasoned PCSers,” Damrauer said. “Having PCSed before, I know some of the ins and outs of moving. This class laid out all the ‘loopholes’ that come with moving to another duty station. The many different entitlements that a Marine rates was explained thoroughly.”

Marines and families not only benefit from knowing what they are entitled to, but can also learn about tips offered to ease the move, according to Stancil.

“They need to know how many days the government will pay for their lodging and tips on how to use those days,” Stancil said. “It can also help to know about the availability of our Lending Locker gear, which is household items such as Aerobeds, futon chairs, dishes, pots and pans, televisions with VCR and DVD players, microwaves, high chairs, Pack’n’Plays, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, irons, ironing boards and toasters, all free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.”

The Lending Locker is a convenience and can also help families save money in the long run, according to Stancil.

“Families can save hundreds of dollars by utilizing the Lending Locker and not staying at a lodging facility,” Stancil said.

The workshop helps remove all doubts and questions prior to a Marine’s move, according to Damrauer.

“Marines that PCS always hear the gossip of different types of moves,” Damrauer said. “Listening to the professionals like Ms. Stancil helps overcome all the rumors that come with PCSs. All Marines need to attend the class to get firsthand knowledge of any information for their PCS.”

Smooth Move workshop instructors are preparing Marines and their families for a PCS move mentally and financially, according to Stancil.

“The goal of our Smooth Move is to ensure that each service member knows their travel entitlements and what money they and their family members get to PCS,” Stancil said. “With this, they know what is coming in and going out so that they do not go into debt for a move. The tips are also good because they can save the service member hundreds of dollars.”

A life-changing move can either be a positive or negative experience and the Relocation Assistance staff helps everything go smooth, according to Damrauer.

“I enjoyed having my family there to listen firsthand about the adventure we were about to embark on,” Damrauer said. “Having such a wonderful staff to listen to helped tremendously.”

The CONUS Smooth Move is offered once a month aboard Parris Island. To register, call Evelyn Cookley, manager, Relocation Assistance Program, MCRD PI, at 228-2371. The OCONUS class is held aboard the Air Station once a month. To register, call 228-6401. The class lasts approximately one-and-a-half hours. Both the Air Station and Depot programs offer the same services.

For more information on Smooth Move or other Relocation Assistance Programs, call Stancil at 228-6401 or Cookley at 228-2371.