GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — USAG Bavaria is preparing for summer PCS season by implementing new processes and procedures, but DOD personnel presently stationed in Grafenwoehr and Vilseck are encouraged to be proactive.
During a season coined “Summer Surge,” which spans from May through August, hundreds of Soldiers and families are expected to move to and from the Bavaria area, said Jack Lewis, Director of the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office.
The number of permanently-stationed personnel will not change overall, Lewis assured, but many garrison services will be affected.
To help mitigate this surge of troops and families to and from Bavaria, the garrison organized a management team to analyze data from past seasons and pinpoint problems encountered by the most affected offices, including Housing, Vehicle Registration and the Military Personnel Division.
According to Andy Verrall, head of the Summer Surge Management Group, the principle solutions include filling job vacancies, redistributing borrowed military manpower and creating procedures and processes specifically designed to address previous issues.
In addition to the spikes of in- and outbound personnel through the summer, Grafenwoehr will also see a steady increase of rotational troops — a byproduct of the Army’s new Sustainable Readiness strategy — and continue regularly-scheduled multi-national training exercises.
Garrison commander Col. Colbrook asked attendees at the USAG Bavaria Community Town Hall to anticipate longer wait times, but to be proactive when possible and exercise patience as the garrison exceeds workforce capacity and integrates new forces.
Here’s what to expect:
Family Housing Office
Like other garrison services, the USAG Bavaria Housing Office will be affected by this summer’s up-tick in PCSing personnel. Housing Chief Kenneth Carter and his staff have worked tirelessly since last summer to develop achievable solutions that address shortfalls and minimize anticipated impacts of the summer surge.
Some of the identified shortcomings — largely based on a thorough analysis of ICE trends — included insufficient staffing, a decentralized work order system and lengthy wait times. Housing sorted through the data, consolidated the information and worked with garrison leadership and other organization to implement their comprehensive and effective solutions.
According to Carter, Soldiers will now receive an automatic housing appointment during in-processing briefings. The time between in-processing and the allotted appointment gives Housing the opportunity to control scheduling, evenly distribute its resources, collect preliminary family information and offer smoother, more productive meetings.
Additionally, the Housing Office will introduce several improvements and mitigation strategies, including a streamlined customer service and voicemail system and a larger workforce to meet summer demand.
Despite the minimization efforts, however, wait times cannot be entirely eliminated. This year alone, the U.S. Army will see nearly half a million personal property moves and seventy-thousand privately-owned vehicle shipments for service members, federal employees and their family members. About half of those moves occur during the mid-May through August time-frame, according to the Army’s Military Surface Deployment and Distribution.
Military Personnel Division
The Military Personnel Division, or MPD, which processes thousands of incoming and outgoing Soldiers in USAG Bavaria, will also be affected by the summer PCS season.
According to Hollon Oliver, MPD Branch Chief for In- and Out-Processing, procedures to promptly and efficiently serve Soldiers may be challenged as the office launches a new computerized program currently used in the States.
“We’re working through some of the kinks,” said Oliver, “and we’re always trying to improve, but it may entail longer wait times for Soldiers.”
The MPD for Grafenwoehr and Vilseck services in-processing Soldiers in the morning and reserves out-processing cases for the afternoon. The office, which is located on Tower Barracks in Bldg. 244, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and can be reached at DSN 475-8154, CIV 09641-83-8154.
The summer surge impacts the POV inspection point and vehicle registration office year after year. What’s important to remember is that having your vehicle inspected and registered is really a two-day process.
“Recommend you do not go straight to vehicle registration office after passing inspection,” said Dave Mazi, the deputy of the Directorate of Emergency Service. Mazi oversees operations at the vehicle registration office. “While you can try to walk in, appointments only take about ten minutes and potentially save you hours of waiting. Think of this as a two-day process.”
All service members and DOD civilians must register their vehicles to drive in Germany, according to the U.S. Army Europe Drivers Handbook. But to register a vehicle, it must pass an inspection meeting mechanical standards outlined in AE Regulation 190-1/USAFE Instruction 31-202, appendix C.
To learn how to have your vehicle inspected both on- and off-post, visit our “How to get your vehicle inspected for registration at USAG Bavaria.” Community members at USAG Bavaria can have their vehicle inspected in Grafenwoehr at Tower Barracks, Bldg. 301. In Hohenfels, the vehicle inspection garage is at Bldg. 392A. In Garmisch, the vehicle inspection garage is at Artillery Kaserne, Bldg. 202. Community members can have their vehicle inspected at any of these POV inspection garages.
“After passing inspection, immediately contact your auto insurance company and ensure your proof of insurance is transmitted electronically. You’ll need to pre-arrange this prior to having your vehicle registered,” Mazi said.
After inspection, schedule an appointment at the vehicle registration office. To get your vehicle registered, Mazi offers these additional tips:
As with other units and services on post, the Bavaria Health Command medical clinics may also be affected by the PCS of staff and medical service providers. The clinics are working on contracting additional providers during the summer months to minimize the effects on patients and family members.
“You may see a slight increase in wait times or access to appointments, due to the PCS of clinic personnel and staff,” said Col. Amal Chatila, Vilseck Army Health Clinic commander.
Lt. Col. Shannon Shaw, Grafenwoehr Army Health Clinic commander added, “We appreciate your understanding as you and your family may also be reassigned to a different Primary Care Manager as a result of summer personnel moves.”