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My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 1, 2024

PCS 101: 3 quick ways to find out about your new location

By Kathy Murray, Senior Writer, MyCG

Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season is here, and whether you’re settling into your new station or just getting ready to pack, who wouldn’t appreciate some assistance right about now? 

To come up with the most useful information, MyCG sought out Coast Guard PCS experts for advice. We also asked members with multiple moves under their belts to share their favorite PCS resources. Over the next several weeks we’ll share what we learned in a series of articles. 

Today, we look at how members can get the best on-the-ground information about their new location. In a perfect world, you’ve already had long talks with your unit sponsor or the person you’ll be replacing. But we know this doesn’t always happen. Here are 3 things you can do to quickly fill the gaps:  

(Finally) reach out to your new ombudsman  

Why? “They have local information and resources, and they know who to contact,” said Ryan Fahlenkamp, Pacific Area Regional Ombudsman Coordinator and retired CMC. “Plus, they have official information as well.”  

How: You can find your local ombudsman here. If your local unit doesn’t have one, you can try the sector or base ombudsman. 

What you might not know: If you’re a junior enlisted member, says Ombudsman-at-Large Carol Jones, your sponsor should have already gotten in touch with the ombudsman to get a welcome packet to you. She also recommends, a website that provides military reviews of different locations, off-base neighborhoods, base housing, rentals, realtors, and moving companies. 

Contact the local Work/Life office 

Why? They can help you with local information and resources and connect you to PCS benefits.   

How: Go to the Coast Guard Work/Life app, or call (202)475-5100 and enter the extension for the Work/Life office nearest you. You can also find the Health, Safety, and Work-Life Regional Practices (HSWL RP) contact for your district here

What you might not know: You can take advantage of a family resources specialist (FRS) in your new location. “You don’t have to be in the special needs program to get my assistance,” says Kenneth Weber, an FRS in District 7. Weber has helped members find doctors and schools in the district and access other local resources. In May, he held the first-ever online orientation for all new spouses coming to the area and provided each attendee with a state-by-state guide of resources. He plans to follow up with another online meeting for newcomers in August and hopes the orientations can be rolled out service wide in the future.  

Find the local spouse network 

Why? In addition to your ombudsman, several members recommend joining the local spouse network (and yes, even if you’re single). Lt. Cmdr. Jenn Wong, who’s based in Puget Sound, said she found this was a good way to learn about neighborhoods, school districts, childcare, utility companies, and home repair.  

How: You can usually find these pages on Facebook or ask your local ombudsman. Wong said both the Greater Seattle Area Coast Guard Families and Emerald City Coast Guard Club were helpful for the area.  

Coastie Spouses of Hampton Roads is also great for the Hampton Roads area,” she said. 


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