Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making our way to Italy

When the word "Italy" came up on my husband's AKO, we jumped for joy. We were so excited for the opportunity to go overseas. We had no idea the amount of stress that we were about to face in the process of getting there.

When a service member gets reassigned the first sign that it is "official" is that it comes up on his AKO (the online military system they log into). But before they can really do anything to prepare for the move, they have to have official orders in hand. When going overseas you have to jump through several hoops before they will hand you those orders. You need to make an appointment for your health screening. They will want to know what services you might need so that they can make sure that those things are available at the place you are supposed to be going. Once the place you are supposed to go has said whether they have the health services you might need you can move on to the next step, waiting for official orders.

The minute you have those orders in hand you need to go to the official passport office (not the regular tourist one, we are talking about a military one here, usually on base). Passports take time, especially for us civilians who are on the bottom of their priority list. And if you are going to Italy or England, you need that passport asap so that you can send it right back out to apply for a visa.

Often times orders like to come at the last minute, just to keep you on your toes. So when you get those orders you will want to hurry over to the transportation office to arrange for your movers. When I did this they gave me a website to go to (not sure if all bases are doing this or not...) and it was a pain. We had to arrange three different shipments. We were authorized storage and unaccompanied baggage (about 1,000 pounds that got to go by plane to get there just a little faster so that we would have some things while waiting for the rest of our stuff to come by boat) and then of course the rest of our stuff went in "household goods".

Oh yes, and your car. Typically they will ship one car for you. They will come pick it up from you but if you live close to the port where it will be shipped from I recommend driving it there yourself because you get money for it (like a DITY move) and it's more than enough so you can pocket some extra.

Then you must arrange how to get yourself there, you get to pick a date. From what I understand you can report up to 30 days prior to your "report date", and it's good to be there at least a few days in advance. I recommend you get all moved out, then takes some time to make the rounds visiting friends and family and then head on over to your new assignment. Once you know you're leaving, the sooner you can get your stuff moved, the sooner you will get it on the other end!

Most importantly, try not to STRESS! AAAAAH! Good luck!

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