Soldiers moving to their next duty stations this year are getting increased monetary payments when they choose to move their own household goods – called the personally procured move, or PPM.
Now through Dec. 31, Soldiers moving via PPM receive a payment equal to 100 percent of the estimated cost the government would pay to a government-contracted moving company.
Two Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers offered advice based on their recent personal experience with do-it-yourself moves.
This was the second PPM experience for Chief Warrant Officer 3 Erick Hume, a U.S. Army Engineer School instructor who moved to Fort Leonard Wood from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in May – Hume previously moved from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to Fort Bragg via PPM in 2016.
Hume said he prefers to move this way because he likes to take his time packing his own things. He said the keys to successful PPMs are relying on people you trust and having a patient attitude.
“Everyone is trying to be helpful and understanding,” he said. “When dealing with out-processing and in-processing personnel, remember that policies have been changing weekly. This causes a lot of confusion – be aware and be patient; you have no clue what is going on in other peoples’ personal lives.”
Hume travelled here with his three daughters – ages 13, 11 and 6 – two cats and his father, who drove an extra vehicle. He recommended allowing extra time for tasks and getting a mobile internet hotspot for the electronics.
“Wi-Fi is not everywhere,” he said.
However, he said right now is a great time to travel.
“Hotels are almost empty,” he said. “Just plan to quarantine when you get to your new duty station.”
Regarding quarantine at your next duty station, Sgt. 1st Class John Dove, who also used PPM for a recent move here, encouraged the use of the Army’s sponsorship program.
“I chose to use (the Army’s sponsorship program) to give me a point of contact for whenever I did arrive here, and that helped me,” Dove said. Because of that sponsor, “I’ve already been in contact with my chain of command and they know I’m here, and I was able to put down their contact information at the Harper In-processing Screening Facility.”
Dove, who will work at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence’s Combat Training Company, said he also relied on friends who were already stationed here.
“I definitely utilized friends I had in the area to find out what the (quarantine) procedures were for whenever I got here, and that made for a smoother transition,” Dove said.
He also recommended that travelers bring a supply of necessities with them if they are able to.
“We planned a little bit and we brought a little food with us in coolers knowing that we only had a six-hour drive … and that we had to quarantine,” he said.
In addition to friends and sponsors, Dove said working with the post’s housing office to have a home ready upon your arrival is crucial.
“If we would have come here and not already have a house setup and had to stay in a hotel for (quarantine), for us doing a PPM that would not have worked because I only had that (moving) truck for four days,” he said.
When he arrived to Fort Leonard Wood from Fort Riley, Kansas, Dove checked in at Harper, picked up his housing letter and then went to his new home.
“We met the housing representative here and we were able to do the contactless rental agreement,” he said. “That afternoon, we started unloading.”
The Defense Travel Management Office updated the PPM allowance to ease the monetary burden on military families, said Larry Lock, Army compensation and entitlements chief G-1.
Lock said typically younger, single Soldiers or young couples with no children choose the PPM option. Soldiers with more time in service and those with larger families often choose to have their household items shipped by a government contractor. When Soldiers choose the PPM, they shoulder the cost and responsibility of packing and moving their belongings themselves. The payment compensates them for those expenses.
Soldiers should remember that when travelling under an exception to the stop-movement order must keep printed copies of their approved exception to policy with them during the move. The memorandum, signed by their supervisor, states the reason for the exemption.
Soldiers and civilians enrolled in military education programs qualify as exempt from travel restrictions and do not require an exception to policy. These programs include officer training and education programs, non-commissioned officer professional development and specialty training programs and civilian training, education and development programs.