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PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base | Florida

PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station. It is an official order to transfer to a military base for a long-term period, usually two to four years. Getting a PCS to any base, including Camp Blanding Army Base, can be complicated, especially considering the moving and house-hunting processes.

Fortunately, you can make the process easier by doing your due diligence - researching everything you need to know about how a PCS to your next base works.

Here is a comprehensive guide on what a PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base entails, including an overview of places to live near the base.

Understanding What a PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base Involves

The DOD, via the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), regularly transfers service members from one base to another. The transfers can be temporary (short-term) or permanent (longer-term). A permanent transfer to another base is a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

The DFAS issues PCS orders to more than 400,000 service members every year. PCS orders are usually issued during summer – between May and September 15th, and especially during July.

What is a PCS Order & Why Is It Important?

The DFAS will send you two documents if you are scheduled for a PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base:

  • An assignment notification.
  • PCS orders.

An assignment notification is a document informing you about your scheduled PCS. Assignment notifications are subject to change, meaning that the DFAS may cancel your scheduled PCS or change your destination. Overall, the scheduled PCS is not official until you get your official PCS orders.

PCS orders are official directives and guidelines on your scheduled Permanent Change of Station to your new base. Your PCS orders will contain information on the following subjects:

  • Personal travel and relocation.

  • Cargo transportation.

  • Incidental allowances (only for OCONUS PCS orders).

PCS orders are categorized into two types:

  • Accompanied PCS Orders – PCS orders allow you to relocate your immediate family members to the new base.

  • Unaccompanied PCS Orders – PCS orders barring you from relocating with your immediate family members (usually issued when relocating to a hostile region).

Base transfers are also categorized into two types, depending on your new base’s location:

  • CONUS – Transfers to bases located within the Continental United States.

  • OCONUS – Transfers to bases located outside the Continental United States.

It is essential to review all of the information in your PCS orders to understand what your move to Camp Blanding Army Base will entail. It is also prudent to seek clarification on anything you don’t understand.

How to Request Your PCS Orders

Your PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base is not official until you receive your PCS orders. This is why submitting a request for your PCS orders as soon as you receive your assignment notification is essential.

You should contact your servicing Dislocation Allowance HR office to ask for your PCS orders – the orders should arrive by September 15th.

What to Do Before & After Receiving Your PCS Orders

It is essential to start making the necessary arrangements as soon as you know you will get your PCS orders. Here are helpful tips on what to do before and after getting your orders.

Before Getting Your PCS Orders

Being proactive can help ease the PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base. You can prepare by doing the following:

  • Spring Cleaning - It is advisable to travel only with as much personal property as you need. You can offload the rest by spring cleaning and selling or donating it – selling the things you don’t need can also help you make some money to cover the moving costs.

  • Documentation - Accidents can happen when moving, and some personal property may get lost or damaged. This is why it is essential to document all your possessions, especially the most valuable ones. You can use the photographs as evidence to pursue and prove claims if something goes wrong.

  • Packing - Packing usually takes time, and you are bound to make mistakes if you do it in a hurry. This is why it is prudent to start packing before you get your orders.

  • Researching - How much do you know about Camp Blanding Army Base? Researching the base can give you an accurate idea of what to expect, preventing disorientation and helping you settle in nicely.

After Getting Your PCS Orders

You will have many things on your to-do list after receiving your PCS orders, including the following:

  • Use the Available Resources - The DOD provides service members with online tools and other resources to help them relocate to new bases (discussed later). Using these resources can help ease the relocation process.

  • Contact the Base Transportation Office - After getting your PCS orders, it is advisable to set an appointment with the base transportation office as soon as possible. The office will provide all the information you need about moving to the base. Transportation office titles usually vary depending on your department, so look carefully. For example, the Air Force calls it the Traffic Management Office, while the Army calls it the Installation Transportation Office.

  • Contact the Family Center - The base’s family center provides information about the moving process from a family’s point of view. It helps ease the family stressors of relocating to a new base.

  • Contact the Finance Office - Relocating to a new base can be expensive. The finance office can help you save some money by educating you about the relocation benefits for which you are eligible. It also offers financial advice on minimizing your moving costs.

Claiming Reimbursements for PCS-Related Expenses

Relocating to Camp Blanding Army Base can be expensive. Fortunately, the DFAS can refund some of the PCS-related expenses. However, you must submit an official reimbursement claim after settling in at Camp Blanding.

Claiming reimbursements is a relatively straightforward process, but it involves some paperwork. You can submit your claim by completing and filing Form DD 1351-2 Travel Voucher.

However, Form DD 1351-2 Travel Voucher doesn’t cover civilian vouchers, which can be a problem if you are relocating your family to the new base. In this case, you should send the vouchers to the DFAS via the following channels:

  • Fax - 216-367-3422

  • Email -

  • Mail - DFAS Rome, Attn. Travel Pay, Civilian Relocation, 325 Brooks Road, Rome, NY 13441

You should also attach copies of the receipts and other documents related to your PCS expenses. Some of the refundable expenses include transportation costs. However, certain personal expenses (including meals and accommodation) are non-refundable. The review process takes about two weeks, but mistakes in your reimbursement claim can cause delays.

A soldier hugging his family outside home

Getting Help with the Moving and Relocation Processes

Moving to Camp Blanding Army Base can be logistically complex, and you are bound to suffer complications. Fortunately, the DOD provides resources to help you with the moving and relocation processes via several internal departments.

Here is an overview of resources to help you with the PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base:

Military OneSource Resources

The Military OneSource online platform contains the following resources to help you organize your move to Camp Blanding:

Plan My Move

Plan My Move is an online tool that automatically generates customized and personalized checklists on everything you need to do when moving.

The checklists cover packing, finances, transportation, and housing. Your checklist will be based on how you answer the tool’s questionnaire, so it is advisable to provide detailed and accurate information.

Moving Your Personal Property

The Military OneSource website contains a page titled ‘Moving Your Personal Property. This page offers tools to help you measure and manage the crucial aspects of packing and transporting your personal property. The tools can help you manage aspects such as estimating your cargo’s weight and scheduling shipments.

Military Installations Page

The Military OneSource website also contains another page labeled ‘Military Installations’. The page contains essential information about all military bases, including Camp Blanding.

The information on the page covers many subjects, such as housing and amenities, and it can help give you a preview of how the base works and what to expect when you get there.

Human Experts

The Military OneSource platform also has a dedicated support team to help you with all aspects of your PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base. The team is friendly, respectful, and resourceful.

You can call the support desk 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Alternatively, you can use the live chat portal available on every page on the website.

Relocation Assistance Program

The Relocation Assistance Program is designed to help you through all phases of the moving and relocation process. It provides resources such as education, counseling, and sponsorship training. Overall, it can help you and your family manage the stressors of relocating to Camp Blanding.

Military Sponsors

The DFAS will assign you a military sponsor to help guide you through the PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base. The military sponsor is another service member from your unit.

A Brief Overview of Camp Blanding Army Base

Camp Blanding Army Base is located in Clay County, about eight miles from Starke. It is named after General Albert H. Blanding, who commanded the 2nd Florida Brigade during the 1916-1917 Mexican Border War. The camp has a long and exciting history – it was initially designated as a Naval Air Station in the 1930s before the Army leased it as a training center in 1940.

The camp covers approximately 73,000 acres and is the primary training base and military reservation for the Florida Army National Guard and Florida Air National Guard. The base can host up to 3,000 service personnel at one time.

Camp Blanding is a training center for many Army and Navy ROTC units. The camp has several weapons ranges, including a crew combat range, 50 live fire ranges, five automated ranges for handguns and minor arms qualifications, and four platoons and squad movement to contact ranges. It also has several training areas, including three Major Maneuver Areas covering approximately 55,000 acres.

On-Base Housing Options at Camp Blanding Army Base

Camp Blanding Army Base has limited housing options. This is understandable, considering it is a training ground for dangerous weapons.

The primary accommodations are tents and barracks – ultimately, service personnel moving here with their families have no option but to seek off-site housing options from the surrounding communities.

Off-Base Housing Options at Camp Blanding Army Base

Fortunately, Camp Blanding is surrounded by some of the best and biggest cities in Florida, providing plenty of housing options. Here is an overview of the five best communities to live in when you get a PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base.


Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida and is ranked among the best cities for veterans (it is even named after a veteran). The city is about 42.5 miles (50-minute drive) from Camp Blanding.

Jacksonville has thousands of houses listed for sale or rent, giving you many housing options. The median listing home price is about $320,000, while the average monthly rent is about $1,700. The city has numerous schools across all levels, including universities and elementary, middle, high, and private schools. Some of the best communities in the city include Riverside, Beach Haven, East Arlington, and Chimney Lakes.

Jacksonville offers many fun and productive things to do, including job opportunities for your spouse. Popular attractions include Jacksonville Zoo & Garden, Castaway Island Preserve, the Museum of Science and History, and Friendship Fountain.

Orange Park

Orange Park is a small town in Clay County with a population of about 9,000. The town is about 22 miles (37-minute drive) from Camp Blanding Army Base.

Orange Park has hundreds of houses listed for sale or rent. However, house prices are slightly higher here than in Jacksonville – the median listing home price is about $370,000, while the average monthly rent price is about $2,000. The city also has good amenities, including several schools across all grades. Some of the best neighborhoods include Cedar Hills, Jacksonville Heights, and Julington Creek.

Some of the most popular attractions at Orange Park include The Clarke House Park and Orange Park Farmers’ & Arts Market. Popular activities include biking and hiking.

Green Cove Springs

Green Cove Springs is a small city best known for its evergreen trees, hence the name. It is located about 18 miles (23-minute drive) from Camp Blanding.

Green Cove Springs has a population of more than 5,000 people, and there are many housing options. The city has good infrastructure and sufficient amenities, including good schools, shops, restaurants, hospitals, and entertainment places. The median home listing price is about $364,000, while monthly rentals go for about $2,000.

Green Cove Springs is a popular destination because of its warm weather and many attractions. Some of the most popular attractions include the Military Museum of North Florida and the Clay County Fair Grounds.


Middleburg is a large town, essentially a suburb of Jacksonville, with a population of about 12,500 people. It is located about ten miles (13-minute drive) from Camp Blanding.

Middleburg has a robust infrastructure system and offers many amenities, including two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and three private schools. The median listing home price here is $375,000, while the average monthly rental price is about $2,000. Some of the best neighborhoods here include Mandarin and Jacksonville Heights.

Middleburg is a calm and quiet alternative to the big cities. Some popular attractions include petting animals at the Amazing Grace Family Farm and outdoor activities such as hiking at the Jennings State Forest.

Fleming Island

Fleming Island is one of the best places to live in Florida for various reasons. The island has about 30,500 people and is located about 20.7 miles (29-minute drive) from Camp Blanding.

Home prices are slightly higher in Fleming Island – the median listing home price is about $460,000, while the average monthly rent price is about $2,300. The island has some of the best amenities in the region, including many good schools and public amenities such as parks.

Some of the best communities on the island include Del Rio, Ortega Hills, and Chimney Lakes. Some of the popular activities here include fishing and camping.

Make Your Move to Camp Blanding Army Base Easy!

Finding a house that can comfortably accommodate you and your loved ones is one of the significant steps of settling in at Camp Blanding.

A PCS to Camp Blanding Army Base doesn’t have to be complicated. Using the resources discussed in this article can make it a more accessible and more productive experience.

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