Medical Officer's Guide to the Navy

Congratulations, you are about to finish residency and are figuring out where you will be next year.  If you are on active duty, the first place to look is to those around you.  Talk to your attendings and corpsmen to find out about different duty stations and what their impressions are.  The next place to go is to the detailer and specialty advisor. Their contact information can be found at http://www.npc.navy.mil/.  n.b. You may not be able to access this website if you are not logging in from a '.mil' computer.

In order to obtain detailer's contact information, you must log into the website using your 'bol' log-in.Once logged in, look under "officer assignments" which is found on a pull-down menu across the top of the page.You will be looking for"Pers-44" (RL/ Staff Corps).  ALL medical programs(MC, DC, NC, and MSC) can be found under "Pers-4415". 

It is also perfectly acceptable to call commands you may be interested in directly.  Information about bases throughout the world can be found on the internet by searching for the individual base or on this government http://www.dmdc.osd.mil/You will need to set up accounts on both the 'npc' and 'dmdc' websites.  It is easy to do, though.

Currently, surgeons graduating from residency are being sent to aircraft carriers, fleet surgical teams, and hospitals conus/oconus.  Billet availability is variable.  You must submit awishlistto the detailer. You will then work with the detailer and the specialty advisor in deciding where to go.

The detailer sends your orders to you and your receiving command.  Once receiving your orders, it is a good idea to contact your new department head and the surgeon you are relieving by telephone (or e-mail). It is customary to send a letter orintroduction to your new commanding officer (Addendum).  Your new command will assign a sponsor to help you and your family get situated at your new duty station.  Your sponsor will likely be the person you are relieving.  They can be an invaluable source of information.

Navy Travel and Navy Moves

The DoD has a great FAQ page located here.

After receiving orders, you must make arrangements to move.If you are going to a sea command, you will need to undergo a sea duty screening physical.This entails a thorough chart review, updating all immunizations, physical exam, dental exam, and verification of HIV testing.You need to be “cleared” by medical to go to sea. 

If you are heading overseas, you and your family (spouse and children) will need to go through an overseas physical, which is essentially the same as sea duty screening. 

Once physically cleared, you can set up your navy move.The navy doesn’t actually perform the move,they contract out local, national, or international moving companies.You will set up an appointment with a department called "Household Goods". Your local Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) can help you contact the closest one. Oftentimes, you will use the "Household Goods" department from a different service (i.e. army). They will arrange the date(s) of the move.  Household goods will need 5-10 copies of your PCS orders to make all necessary arrangements for you. 

Alternatively, you can use the internet to set up your move.  Follow this link to the Smart Web Move website.   This website has all the information you need for a smooth 'navy move' (e.g. weight allowances, individual responsibilities, etc).

House hunting is uncharged leave that you can take at your current command’s discretion in conjunction with PCS orders to look for a place to live at your new command.  It is recommended that you have a receiving address for the moving company; else your belongings will go into storage.

Typically, the move will be over two days- the first is packing up,the second is loading the truck.  Priot to the packing day, the moving company typically sends out an estimator to look at your belongings. There is a government quality assurance (QA) inspector that may stop by either day.  If there is ANY problem with the movers, call the QA inspector immediately.

As an alternative to a government move of your household goods (HHG), the Personally Procured Moved Program was designed (formally called Do It Yourself Move- DITY).  You may move your HHG yourself using rental equipment / POV or by hiring a commercial mover. Under this program, you can receive reimbursement up to 100% of the Government Constructive Cost (GCC) or an incentive payment of 95% of the GCC. An advance operating allowance can be authorized to defray the out of pocket moving expense (rental equipment, HHG mover charges, packing material, etc.). Self moves can be complete or partialClick here for the 'pdf' source document on self moves.

Overseas moving is a little different.  There are two shipments.  The first is the express” shipment that is limited to 600 pounds and takes 60 days to arrive.  The second shipment is the rest of your household goods.  It is important to remember, however, housing in other parts of the world is somewhat smaller than here in the US.  The navy will pay for storage if you don’t ship everything.

The navy will ship one motor vehicle overseas for you.  In order to do so, however, the vehicle must be clean, you must present the title or a letter from the bank authorizing use overseas, and you must present proof of overseas insurance.  Some people prefer to purchase vehicles once arriving overseas- this is a good topic to discuss with your sponsor. 

n.b. You may NOT be able to ship autos to all overseas destinations (e.g. Japan).  Be sure to check with your sponsor and/or PSD upon receipt of orders to allow enough time to make appropriate arrangements for your automobile(s).

Now that your household goods have been shipped, you must get to your new command.  Most people drive, however, the navy will pay to fly if that is your wish.  Your orders will tell you how many days of travel and how many days of proceed time you are authorized.  Both of these are uncharged days of leave. 

Travel days are computed by dividing the total number of miles by the maximum the navy feels you can safely drive in a day (350 miles).  You will receive per diem for this number of days for you and each member of your family (service member - $116 / day, family member 75% of service member rate if 12 years or older, and 50% of service member rate if younger).  You will also receive mileage reimbursement at a rate determined by the number of people making the move at a rate of $0.165 / mi.  In the past, the mileage rate increased with each additional person traveling, however, I could verify this for 2010.

Lastly, you may receive dislocation allowance (DLA).  The purpose of DLA is to partially reimburse a member, with or without dependents, for the expenses incurred in relocating the member's household on a PCS, housing moves ordered for the Government's convenience, or incident to an evacuation.  See DLA FAQs for more information. The rates are grade dependent.  For 2010, the rates are based on this table:

Rank               With Dep     Without Dep

0-3               $ 2673.48      $ 2251.64

0-4               $ 3231.44      $ 2809.56

You may be eligible for Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE) re-imbursement.  Please see the TLE section on the Defense Travel website for details.  There are q number of criteria that must be fulfilled to qualify-  TLE FAQ. 

Finished Travel for PCS or Training?

Once you finish your move or finish TAD (Temporary Additional Duty) travel, you have 10 days to fill out a travel claim (DD 1351-2).  The form is quite easy to fill out.Just follow the directions on the second page This is the only way you will get paid for your travel!If you need more space, fill out the continuation form (DD 1351-2C).  Make sure you turn in receipts (keep copies for your own records)!

n.b.  When arriving at your temporary duty site (for meeting, training, etc.), write in 'TD' in the 'reason for stop' column.