Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
For the 2021 permanent-change-of-station summer surge, Fort Leavenworth has nearly 1,600 personnel, including students and permanent party, PCSing to Fort Leavenworth.
As of July 19, nearly 700 have arrived and secured housing both on and off post since April 1, with the rest of the personnel expected by Sept. 30.
With the help of the Garrison’s Summer Surge Cell and multiple service providers working together, Garrison Commander Col. John Misenheimer said the Garrison staff is hoping to continue making the moves as easy as possible for the service members and their families.
“We at Fort Leavenworth, our focus is centering around the soldier, the individual — the instinct being putting that person first and making our functions that happen during the PCS season revolve around them versus them having to adjust for those individual organizations or services,” Misenheimer said. “It’s not going to be perfect. We have challenges that we’re facing, that we cannot control, but we are putting all our efforts into addressing those to make it as seamless as possible.”
Of the nearly 700 personnel who have arrived, 483 of those are living on post in homes they were offered during the housing run Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities conducted in May, which provided families with a home address and a date the home would be ready.
Misenheimer said fewer than 10 families had to wait for their homes.
“There have been a few that have shown up where the house is not ready. If (the house was) not ready and it was (the housing partner’s fault), it’s on (the housing partner) to ensure that there is no cost to the soldiers and their families,” Misenheimer said. “I haven’t seen any delays over three or four working days. … Most people are getting in on time.”
Misenheimer said other housing delays were because the service member showed up earlier than the date given during the housing run.
“It’s very vital that people do not show up prior to their housing sign-in date,” he said. “The importance of that to understand is that the same house that they’re moving into had to be turned from someone that left, meaning (the home) had to be maintained. (FLFHC) gets 21 days to complete between-occupancy maintenance.”
Residents experiencing challenges securing on-post housing can call the Housing Oversight Office at 913-684-5669.
Residents experiencing challenges securing off-post housing can call the Army Housing Services Office at 913-684-3052.
The summer surge has also been met with a labor and materiel shortage, which has led to delays in the delivery of household goods, Misenheimer said.
To address these delays, Misenheimer said the Summer Surge Cell is reaching out to families.
“They are proactively reaching out first to try to get a picture of how many folks are having issues, so that way our staff can lean forward, we can push that up to senior leaders. The Installation Management Command is in partnership with Army Materiel Command in tracking these issues and these challenges (across every installation),” Misenheimer said. “That’s one approach.”
If household goods are delayed, Misenheimer said, families can file an inconvenience claim to rent various household goods until their belongings arrive.
“All of that becomes reimbursable … if those household goods are delayed beyond the required delivery date,” Misenheimer said.
To file an inconvenience claim, visit https://www.move.mil/moving-guide/oconus.
For more information about the transportation of household goods, call the Transportation Office at 913-684-5656.
Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Antwone Jones said communication from all parties is also key in resolving problems in the delivery of household goods.
“Constant communication has to flow both ways. As long as we’re getting the communication from the family back to the installation, we’ll be able to work through 99.9 percent of the problems in a reasonable and timely manner,” Jones said. “The family has information that sometimes we are not privy to, especially when it comes to transportation because the (transportation service provider) deals directly with the soldiers (not) the organization, so that’s something we always need help with is communication.
“The only thing the Summer Surge Cell can do is analyze the data. They get data in, they analyze it, which turns it into information, which turns it into actionable decision points, but the data is what the data are,” he said. “Without inputting data, we have poor outcomes, so we have to make sure that we know that it is the responsibility of those serving and those that are being served to ensure that the data is correct.”
Service members are also encouraged to conduct personally procured moves to help with the labor shortage, Misenheimer said, and the Army now has a 100 percent reimbursement rate for those service members. In these instances, service members are authorized to use Government Travel Cards to avoid out-of-pocket expenses.
“That gives them a lot of flexibility,” Miseheimer said. “It also eases the burden on the labor shortage, and that’s a plus.”
The Army has also three new phone apps — the Army PCS Move App to help assist soldiers in the process from planning a move, the Digital Garrison App for information about facilities and services available at the new duty station, and the PCS My POV App for help in shipping privately-owned vehicles.
There is also a 24/7 hotline for all PCS-related questions during the summer surge at 1-833-645-6683. Soldiers can also call the Army Personal Property Call Center at 1-800-521-9959.
The Garrison will host a live town hall on the Garrison Facebook page at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 4.
“I would like to hear about the PCS experiences. I want to hear their experience on receiving quarters, what their wait times are on household goods,” Misenheimer said. “Do they have child care issues? I want to hear the good news as well as the bad news. What can we do to make it better for them ultimately?”