Personal property personnel keep Airmen, families moving

  • Published
  • By Airman Ashley J. Cass
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Assisting an average of 6,400 customers a year, and servicing all branches of the military and Department of Defense civilians in the state of South Dakota, the 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron Traffic Management Office staff plays a critical role in the permanent change of station process for Airmen and their families.

Staff Sgt. Monica Herrera, 28th LRS Personal Property NCO in charge, oversees all of the personal property moves to and from Ellsworth, as well as other locations in the state.

"A typical day for me involves a lot of customer service," Herrera said. "We deal with everything from members PCSing to and from the base, to people retiring and separating. Everyone has a unique situation, depending on their rank, where they're coming from, and whether or not they have any dependents."

The three Airmen who make up the office are responsible for an estimated 275 customers every month, with that number increasing to nearly 350 in the summer.

"In July, we processed 39 DITY (do-it-yourself) moves by the 19th," said Lisa Culham, 28th LRS transportation assistant. "The summer period is definitely a busy time for us."

Culham said servicemembers complete the majority of their paperwork through the Defense Personal Property System website, but may have issues that require face-to-face interaction.

"A lot of people have questions, and want to be able to talk to someone who really knows what is going on," Culham said.

Aside from top-notch customer service, the office also provides other resources to families who are preparing to complete a military move on their own.

"We have a scale that people can use to weigh their vehicle," Culham said. "It's very convenient, especially for families who already live on base, and it's free. Many people don't have a computer, or are unable to access the Internet on their phone, so we also have two computers in our lobby and more in our briefing room that can be used to complete the DPS process."

Herrera, a native of Abilene, Texas, said that, in a deployed environment, TMO personnel mainly facilitate cargo shipments, but they can also complete other tasks.

"When I was deployed during 2007 and 2008, I worked on the Redistribution Property Assistance Team for the Army," Herrera said. "We would ship out weapons, supplies and vehicles that had been damaged in battle, and release them back to their squadrons once they were repaired and sent back to us."

Herrera said Ellsworth's TMO is the only one in the state, which puts her and the other staff in a unique position.

"I think it's great," Herrera said. "We get the experience of looking at different sets of orders and we get to learn about different regulations."

Herrera said she enjoys navigating Airmen and other servicemembers through the variety of challenges they face as they begin the next phase of their career, or begin their new life as a civilian.

"Without this office, members can't really PCS in and out smoothly," Herrera said. "My favorite part is that there are a lot of different situations. It makes the days go by fast, and it keeps us on our toes."