New Duty Station Resources You Need

So you just PCSed to your new duty station. Maybe you’re camping in your house waiting for TMO, or maybe you just emptied the last box -congratulations. Regardless, there are a lot of little things to consider when you move.

You will automatically address concerns that directly effect you, and these things will vary from family to family. For example, Mister Jupiter and I are immediately concerned with dog-friendly housing and organic grocery stores (I don’t rely on the Commissary). Other families focus on middle schools and language tutors, or religious communities and dance instruction -you get the idea. You do you.

This is a must-read if you just PCSed to a new installation. Pin for later or bookmark this checklist. It's all about finding services before you need them. #prepared #planahead #milspouse

With specific concerns in mind, it’s good to know the specifics of your new installation too. is an excellent resource for newcomers. They collect information on and off the installation for your benefit. Phone numbers, addresses, building numbers -it’s all there. Categories include general on-base info, but also regional healthcare, public services, and entertainment. Find the landing page for your new duty station and bookmark it for reference -if you’re not already jotting down info as you read.

Speaking about reading, let’s get on to my list. As soon as you can, please sit down and locate these services in your new area:

  • Urgent care centers that accept your level Tricare (Prime? Standard?)
  • After hours veterinary clinics
  • Organizations that accept donations
  • Dentists that accept United Concordia
  • Recycle centers if city doesn’t provide service
  • Vehicle registration

Once filled, keep this list in a prominent location. On the fridge. Taped to a calendar. On the side of the filing cabinet in the office. In your Emergency Contacts folder. Etcetera. Keep this in a place so that you can find it easily. (I will update with a free printable list soon.)

Urgent Care for Humans & Pets

The point here is to have emergency services ready for when you need them. I can’t count how often someone asks a Facebook milspouse group emergency questions because the normal clinic isn’t available and they don’t know where to go. Don’t be that person, think ahead and know your options.

… it’ll be up to you to find emergency care options.

Not all military installations have hospitals with emergency rooms. Most of us only have access to clinics and the services vary by region. That information should be given to your spouse as he or she works on their in-processing checklist. But it’ll be up to you to find emergency care options. If you do the work –now– you will be prepared when emergencies arise. Don’t forget about minor services too, like where to get flu shots if the installation’s clinic only supplies vaccines for active duty.

When you work on your urgent care options, look at what makes them unique. For example CVS’ MinuteClinic offers online appointment scheduling with visible wait times. This is unique because you can wait at home for the appointment, just arrive 30 minutes early (instead of waiting in public, and being a miserable contagion for hours). CVS may not be an option for you, so learn about the services that you can use. Keep in mind that you don’t need a Tricare referral for urgent care anymore. #finally

Emergency services for pets are just as valuable to locate early. Neither of my dogs has needed an emergency visit during office hours. They wait until dark to get a stick lodged in the mouth.

☐ Nearest Emergency Room _________________________________________________

☐ Nearest Urgent Care Clinic _________________________________________________

☐ Nearest Walk In Vaccinations _________________________________________________

☐ Nearest Emergency Veterinarian _________________________________________________

Dentists & Shelters

I shouldn’t have to tell you to go to the dentist or to go regularly. And chances are that you will be at your new duty station long enough for at least one professional cleaning. Find this information now and schedule cleanings before they fill up with all of the other inbound families.

…benefit the immediate active duty military community

As you unpack you will surely come across items that you didn’t know you still had. Or maybe your new home is too small for that second love seat. Regardless, you will likely end up with at least one box of goods in great condition that you don’t need; but where to take them? You can always look up your Air Force Base’s Airman’s Attic, or your Army Post’s Thrift Shop or Loan Closet. All are wonderful donation options that benefit the immediate active duty military community. Speaking of military community, I always try to shop in the nearest DAV Thrift Store. They’re a nonprofit charity that support disabled American veterans and their families.

Goodwill Thrift Stores are a convenient option almost anywhere, but it’s just as easy to look for local shelters and see what they need. For example women’s shelters would love your old office clothes and spare body care products. Most shelters will have a public office that accepts donations, so you just pass items on to a volunteer. It may not be as easy for you to donate (read: no curbside pickup, no bins in parking lots), but your donation will go further and help change a life. When possible I prefer to donate relevant goods to women’s and children’s shelters.

☐ Dentist that accepts United Concordia _________________________________________________

☐ Donations (clothing) Go To _________________________________________________

☐ Donations (home goods) Go To _________________________________________________


Sometimes it’s clear that I spent some formative years in California because not recycling feels like a crime. So when curbside recycling isn’t an option I use recycling centers. Centers will vary, but in addition to cans and glass, many also take in electronics, prescription glasses, and even retired American flags. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

☐ Nearest Recycling Center _________________________________________________

Vehicle Registration

Most of us retain a single state’s residency and our drivers licenses look like an impossible location jumble, and our vehicle registration history is nearly as colorful. Some states just want money for new tags, others need inspections or need to see you in person at the tax assessor’s office. Make a note now of when your registration expires. Then determine if you are going to try to renew from a new state, or if you will assimilate and adopt your current state’s registration system and get new plates. Start weighing those pros and cons as soon as possible so that you will be ready when your expiration month nears. Note, you don’t have to wait for expiration, you can switch states and begin a new registration period sooner. Also note that Spring Break is usually the DMV’s busiest week.

  • Vehicle #1 Make Model Year __________________________________________

Registration State, Expiration ______________________________________________

Registration action (circle one)  Renew  or  Change

New or Renewed Registration State, Expiration ____________________________

  • Vehicle #2 Make Model Year __________________________________________

Registration State, Expiration ______________________________________________

Registration action (circle one)  Renew  or  Change

New or Renewed Registration State, Expiration ____________________________

This is a must-read if you just PCSed to a new installation. Pin for later or bookmark this checklist. It's all about finding services before you need them. #prepared #planahead #milspouseDo I need to expand this list? I am all ears and I enjoy collecting resources. I’ll create a downloadable PDF soon.

I am writing a PCS series and if this article was meaningful for you, take a moment to see the other posts in the series:

If you’re interested in more in-depth information on a PCS topic, please email me. I have several posts drafted and if you need one that I am working on I will happily bring it forward. I can be reached at

Curious to see what PCS topic I write about next? Sign up for my email list. No spam, just a quick update once or twice each month.

Author: Tracey

Tracey has a bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She has one amazing husband and two fluffy beasts.

2 thoughts

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s