11,000 troops stuck in limbo as all PCS orders are stopped

FORT BENNING, Ga. – Movers at a housing area on Fort Benning, Georgia load the household goods of an Army Family Feb. 24 whose assignment at Fort Benning has reached its end. Photo by Markeith Horace

Military personnel across all branches of the US Armed Forces are currently frozen in place when it comes to Permanent Change of Station orders and Temporary Duty.

The hold, which is expected to remain until mid-May, has around 11,000 Army Soldiers stuck in limbo, according to LTC Mary Ricks, a spokeswoman for the Army Human Resources Command.

“We have not canceled any PCS moves; however, we are implementing diversions to stateside locations for some soldiers graduating from initial entry training with orders to overseas locations,” said Ricks.

The freeze is hitting the moving industry hard, as around 20 percent of their income is generated by military PCS.

Meanwhile, the Navy is just trying to figure out what to do- and how much it will cost.

“The Navy is making risk informed decisions to ensure we accomplish our mission while protecting the health and safety of our force,” Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight, a spokesman for Navy Personnel Command said. “Coronavirus poses increasing challenges to our force health protection and readiness, and that is why we need to refocus on mitigating its spread within our ranks and among our families. We are currently unable to provide exact numbers. We are still assessing how many people are in the process of executing their PCS, how many are being deemed mission essential, and how many require waivers to allow the PCS to continue.”

Likewise, the US Air Force has yet to provide any numbers.

According to the Federal News Network, around 40% of military moves take place during the summer, and organizations such as the American Moving and Storage Association and the International Association of Movers are asking Congress for a $187 million bailout to handle the loss of business.

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