MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII – Service members and their families attended a Permanent Change of Station Workshop at Marine Corps Community Services Classroom 7 at the Marine Corps Exchange Annex on March 8, 2017.
The purpose of the PCS workshop is to provide necessary information to military personnel and their families to help their move from MCB Hawaii, whether it’s through end of active service, retirement or moving to another duty station.
“The PCS workshop is one of four statutory programs,” said Marie Colvo, the program manager of the Family Member Employment Assistance Program. “It’s a [Department of Defense] mandated law that all service branches must provide a permanent change of station briefing in order to assist service members and their families to deal with the financial impact and emotional stresses caused by relocation and transition.”
Colvo said helping Marines is very important in regards to changing duty stations or leaving the Marine Corps. In 2001, there was an independent study done related to the PCS process
“Out of all the service branches that participated in the survey, the Marines fared the worst out of the amount of reimbursement, education, and information they received after conducting a PCS,” Colvo said. “They also had the highest numbers dealing with stress and anxieties tied into moving.”
Despite the unfortunate setback the Marine Corps has encountered in the past, the FMEAP and MCCS continues to assist Marines in order for them to move on from MCB Hawaii easily.
“The important things I’ve learned from the briefing was the Distribution Management Office process involving shipping my vehicle out of Hawaii and all the paperwork I would have to deal with at the Installation Personnel Administration Center,” said Cpl. Ezra Atencio, a ground electronics systems maintainer with Headquarters Battalion.
Atencio said that it’s important for Marines to start preparing for their PCS as soon as possible.
“It’s better to start sooner than later,” Atencio said. “Right now it’s the season of everyone changing duty stations, so the earlier you can do it the less hassle and less time you will waste.”
“A lot of people are under the misconception you have to have web orders in order to start the PCS process,” said Crystal Brookover, an Information and Referral Program Manager working at MCCS Hawaii. “As soon as you know you’re about to change duty stations, it’s important to start attending these workshops so you’re better prepared.”
Unfortunately, MCCS has run into setbacks with programs dedicated to help Marines PCS.
“Basically the Department of Defense took away our relocation programs, but still mandated that we still do them,” Brookover said. “So what the Marine Corps decided to do was move the services under information and referral. What I do on a typical basis covers over all of Marine and family programs in MCCS services.”
Brookover said that she will soon take over as the program manager of FMEAP and plans to add some options that, she hopes, will be beneficial to service members and their families.
“I’m hoping to build on the foundation that she’s spent so many years paving, and add additional things like a computer based training option and maybe a family friendly option for parents who can’t find child care and need to hear this information,” Brookover said. “We want to see everybody financially fit and successful, and to be excited about their next adventure with the Marine Corps.”