What it means to PCS

  • Published
  • By Maj. Patrick Maddox
  • 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander
I'm one of the lucky people who live on base here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. As of today, the house to the right of mine is empty. Three houses up on the left is empty as is the one next door to that one. What does it all mean? That's right, it's permanent change of station (PCS) season.

I grew up a military brat; the son of a father who was first enlisted in the Army who then later served as an officer in the Air Force, so I am well acquainted with witnessing the annual battle of the moving trucks.

The smell of fresh cardboard boxes would waft through the neighborhood and sometimes the wailing (or cheering) of family members ready to depart would break the quiet. Now being on active duty myself, I always stop and reflect on what "PCSing" means to me when I see others' belongings being loaded onto trucks.

I lived in nine different places when I was growing up and have six assignments of my own under my belt so think I have a pretty good perspective on what it means to move.

Here's what I appreciate about having moved so many times: the feeling of anticipation of seeing someplace new, having adventures on the road from the old base on the way to the new base, and most importantly having lived and visited so many places in the U.S. and abroad has been extremely valuable to me as a leader since I find I am able to relate to my Airmen based on the places they've grown up.

It's a special treat for me to talk to one of my personnel and see their eyes light up when we find that common ground because I know about the area they grew up in.

So if you're one of those families who is headed out this summer, happy trails to you and enjoy the journey. You'll be forming new memories that will last a lifetime. Now excuse me while I go greet my new neighbors.