Marines

Peak season approaches for property moves

19 Apr 2012 | Lance Cpl. Paul Peterson

The beaches aren’t the only things at risk of being overcrowded this summer. Summer is the peak season for military families aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune attempting to move their property to a new home, taxing the limited resources available to complete moves.

“We’re just one installation,” said Mike Gorman, the operations officer at the MCB Camp Lejeune Distribution Management Office. “We’re competing with every installation in the continental United States. It’s problematic because you don’t have enough of a carrier industry to begin with and you’re trying to compete with all these other installations.”’

Marine families looking to move their household goods from the MCB Camp Lejeune area this summer should understand that they are competing for moving services from a limited carrier industry with a diminished capacity.

“By the first week of June we can be slammed full,” said Bonnie Flowers, the personal property supervisor for DMO. “The service member will come in and say, ‘I have to move out because I sold my house, we’re closing (on a) house,’ or something like that.”

The summer demand is exacerbated by the fact that schools are let out and families are looking to move as fast as possible so that they can relocate before the next school year, said Flowers.

“We’re going to get the applications into the system but you’ve got a vast demand in a condensed time frame,” said Gorman. “Everybody wants to move in June, July and even into the early part of August. The reality is that you only have so much transportation capacity. There is no way of getting around that. You just can’t grow fleets of household-goods movers.”

Even with the limited carrier capacity, there are many things that service members and their families can do to increase the fluidity of their moves.

First and foremost, said Gorman, be flexible and plan ahead. There is a lot of information at the mover’s fingertips if they make the effort to read it.

The website move.mil is a one-stop shop, Gorman said. It has tons of information to help military members prepare for and conduct their moves. In fact, it even has videos and step-by-step guides in its ‘before you move’ section.

Moving can be a very emotional event for people, he continued. It is not only the changing of location but the movement of personal goods and memories. It is an endeavor that the members of DMO take very seriously.

“I can’t tell you how many evenings, typically Friday evenings, that we think we are going to get out of here,” said Gorman. “It’s six o’clock and we no sooner get into our vehicle than the ‘Bat Phone’ rings.”

While Gorman and Flowers are not specifically tasked with handling each and every mover’s woes, the families and service members are their top priorities. There is a great deal of behind-the-scenes work that goes unnoticed, said Flowers.

The service member is still responsible for following the proper procedures and attempts to defraud the government when carrying out a personal property move may cost movers their reimbursement and movement entitlement.

There are daily classes to counsel would be movers. First time movers are required to attend one of the sessions. In addition, move.mil offers online counseling for those that qualify. It all comes down to the service member taking responsibility for their move.

“As soon as you are issued Web orders, contact the transportation office,” said Gorman. “We see cases where the Web orders were issued back in February but we don’t see the service member until May and they want to be picked up in June.”

It cannot be stressed enough, said Gorman, that the sooner members visit the DMO office upon receiving their Web orders the more latitude there is with being able to accommodate their requested moving dates.

Moving is not a spur of the moment affair, especially in summer. It all requires consideration on the part of the mover. Movers need to be flexible and prepare ahead of time, said Gorman.

“Don’t assume yourself out of the process,” said Gorman. “God willing those moving dates will come to fruition, but proper planning (in advance) means a lot.”

Gorman, Flowers and their staffs do everything they can to help the needs of members attempting a move. Still, the primary responsibility is on the moving service member.

“You cannot move unless you are in receipt of orders,” stressed Gorman. “If you move prior to being in receipt of effective orders, the government in many cases cannot reimburse you.”

Members attempting a move should also be prepared to accept alternative moving dates, and therefore avoid breaking leases and contracts shortly before their intended moving dates, added Gorman.

“If you have to be out by Friday, please don’t set your move up for a Wednesday or Thursday,” said Flowers. “Anything can happen in the summertime. Don’t set up your move for the last two days you’re allowed to be in that apartment.”

Prepare ahead of time, be flexible and remain courteous when dealing with DMO and the movers, said Gorman. It can make a big difference in the craziness of the summer moving rush.

For more information contact the MCB Camp Lejeune DMO or visit move.mil and explore the how-to-guides and information available prior to moving.