MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- As the summer season approaches Yuma, so does the busiest time of the year for the station Traffic Management Office.
More service members retire, separate and change duty stations during the summer than any other time of the year.
Each year during peak season, TMO faces several problems that slow the shipping process.
"Once service members receive their orders, they are encouraged to call TMO to have the preliminary forms faxed or e-mailed to them," said Nancy Wagner, TMO personal property supervisor. "After completing the forms, they can come in to TMO to schedule their counseling appointment."
"What we'll do when service members come in with their orders for a move date, regardless of the date they're requesting, is put them down for the next available TMO appointment," said Wagner. "As long as the service members are in the system, they can be moved backward and forward if they need to."
Part of the need for getting in early revolves around the packing and moving companies. Only three moving companies work for the station. Each contractor is only allowed to pack 3,500 pounds per day, a regulation designed to increase the number of families each company can visit. This sometimes affects the number of days each family will need to set aside for packing.
People should be aware that they'll probably have more pack days here than at other installations, said Wagner.
"We also have to deal with unit deployments that come up, which have priority," said Wagner. "The same three contractors have to either pack or unpack those Marines' furniture. Usually the unit moves come in on short notice, and that may impact a couple of moves for those days."
In addition to the shortage on contractors, TMO has also noticed that Marines do not want TMO counseling assistance.
"I noticed so far this year that many people have waived the TMO counseling," said Wagner. "They don't want to sit through the counseling, which tells them how they need to prepare their property and what their and the carrier's responsibilities are. Yuma has some unique situations because of the heat and the black widows aboard the station. There are some things in our counseling that they haven't heard at other (installations) because it doesn't pertain to them. But we have people come here and say, 'I've been in for 20 years; I know it all already.' It is important that they sit through this counseling because we do give them information they haven't heard before. The information we provide will make their move easier."
"We can provide advice on what items to take and which to leave," said Wagner. "When you have a household full of furniture and you're going to Okinawa, and we tell you can only ship 2,000 pounds of the 10,000 you have, that's a big decision. You can't just stand there and decide right away what you're going to take. It's better if you go home and discuss it with your spouse."
"Spouses are strongly encouraged to attend the counseling," said Staff Sgt. Joaquin Navarro, passenger and passport staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
"Most of the time spouses think they can't come here with their military member, but they are more than welcome to attend the counseling," added Navarro.
He also said families are encouraged to arrange for childcare during the counseling because of the amount of information that is given during the counseling and the limited seating.
Station TMO can also assists service members relocating their pets along with their furniture.
"Service members PCSing overseas must submit the required paperwork to the Consolidated Personnel Administration Center to schedule their port call reservations," said Navarro. "For those members traveling with pets, there are two things you need to keep in mind when arranging air travel. The first is every summer when the temperature outside reaches 85 degrees, the airlines have a pet embargo. In Yuma it normally starts in May and runs through August. The second is space availability. The aircraft have limited space for pets on commercial or Air Mobility Command flights, (government sponsored flights)."
For pets going overseas, service members will need the type and weight of the pet, size of the kennel and the weight of the pet in the kennel combined, added Navarro.
"For commercial flights, the pet is considered the service member's expense and there is no reimbursement," said Navarro. "All we do for service members flying commercially is give them the number to the airline; the rest is their responsibility. They must also make sure the pet is current with its shots, health record and has the correct size kennel. They can also contact us and we can give them the information on how long their pet will be quarantined at their new duty station. For instance, at Okinawa, Japan, the quarantine can be thirty days, which means they won't have their pet until the thirty days are up."
Service members traveling to Japan with a pet are encouraged to review the information on the following Japanese government Website, www.maff-aqs.go.jp/english/ryoko/ba.html.
For more information contact TMO at 269-2311 or visit Http://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sites/index.jsp or visit www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/p55_2.pdf> for a booklet with moving information.
For passenger travel information, contact 269-273.