Commentary | Aug. 18, 2021

The PCS Assist Team will conclude at the end of September

By Keisha Reynolds, MyCG Writer

 
After nearly a year and a half of operations, the Coast Guard’s Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Assist Team will be concluding operations, Sept. 30, 2021. This team has provided 24/7 customer service call center support to members who have PCS’d since April 2020. The temporary effort of the PCS Assist Team was sponsored through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), a coronavirus aid bill that provided special funding to mitigate the impact of COVID.

The PCS Assist Team was created after realizing the impact that the rapidly changing COVID-19 response policy was having on Coast Guard members who were PCSing in assignment years 2020 and 2021. In an effort to provide pandemic response support at the “speed of need,” the Coast Guard Director of Operational Logistics (DOL) established a centralized PCS Assist Team in Norfolk, Virginia, that in-turn, administered and supported satellite teams nation-wide. The collective team provided technical expertise, answered compliance determination requests, and facilitated travel adjustments in response to the fluid nature of the pandemic’s impact on service members’ movements. The team was instrumental in assisting more than 750 service members and their families traveling from Europe, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska, by helping them navigate frequently changing quarantine requirements that were often complicated by dramatic differences from state-to-state. The team was critical in responding to more than 4,000 personal and complex policy inquiries during that period.

PCS Assist members throughout the nation answered the call to not only support the 2020 transfer season, but to assist local commands by filling critically gapped positions within unit-level Contact Tracing teams. Also, in the midst of an exceptionally active hurricane season, the PCS Assist Team supported the District Eight People Cell accountability teams for Hurricanes Laura and Zeta. Throughout the 2020 Hurricane season, team members completed over 1,500 phone calls to ensure all members were accounted for and safe.

DOL received a meritorious award of excellence—a true reflection of the team as a whole. The award write-up acknowledged the PCS Assist Team, “Demonstrating extraordinary leadership, professional competence, and innovation in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Team expertly directed the concept development, planning, and execution of the first-ever PCS Assist Team initiative. Despite facing extensive logistical challenges, the team leveraged a multi-layered customer service support system to ensure the safe and effective relocation of more than 15,500 service members and families during the uniquely challenging 2020/2021 transfer seasons.”

The customer service call-center will deactivate on Sept. 30, 2021, but remains available until that date by calling 833-551-0887, or emailing PCSAssist@uscg.mil. Service members orchestrating PCS moves after Sept. 30, 2021, should work with their local commands for assistance and they should fully use the resources that continue to be available to them, including Personnel and Administration shops and regional Transportation Offices.