Life at the 'Lik: PCSing with pets

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Veronica Pierce
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This article is part of a series designed to provide in-depth information to both current and future members of Team Incirlik about topics specific to Incirlik and Turkey. The goal is to assist Airmen and families in making informed decisions about their move to the area and to provide guidance about local policies, procedures and quality of life matters.

There are many things to consider when preparing for a permanent change of station, and what to do with four-legged friends is no exception.

Making sure members' pets are well taken care of during their move requires early planning, especially when moving to or from an overseas location such as Incirlik AB.

Weather traveling by commercial air or military air (known as "the rotator" or "Patriot Express"), there are considerations pet owners need to make before flying with pets.

"The number one thing is that pet shipments are the member's responsibility," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Rudder, 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of passenger travel. "The PAX office is responsible for booking on an Air Mobility Command Patriot Express mission on a first come, first served basis as well as creating a commercial request through the commercial travel office."

When taking the rotator here, travelers will now stop at an additional location before their final stop to Incirlik Air Base. The rotator for bases in Europe will typically stop in Germany and Italy before arriving to Turkey.

"There are three bases competing on a first come, first served basis for a few pet spaces to and from Baltimore every week," said Rudder. "Pet space is limited to two spaces per family and only one cabin pet allowed per person."

It is important to communicate desired travel dates and acceptable alternatives with both the PAX office and the Incirlik Veterinary Treatment Facility to ensure all requirements are met for departing and gaining stations, explained Rudder.

Something else to think about before moving is pet health care. The VTF here is available to ensure each pet has the proper care and documentation before departure.

"Leaving Turkey with a pet can be easy if the proper paperwork and procedures are followed," said Army Capt. Hayley Ashbaugh, Incirlik Branch Veterinary Services chief. "Restrictions differ depending on where the pet will be transferred, so owners must check the animal regulations at their gaining base prior to outprocessing."

Some non-U.S. destinations require planning from six to nine months in advance, so members need to contact the VTF as soon as they know their next duty location, explained Ashbaugh.

"For all pets, rabies vaccines must be current and are only valid 30 days after given; a health certificate must be provided for air or road travel; and a temperature acclimation statement is needed for airlines," said Ashbaugh. "Health certificates are only valid 10 days for air travel and 30 days for road travel, so pet owners must plan accordingly."

Pet owners who receive PCS orders should contact the VTF to ensure all paperwork is correct and to allow planning for the Turkish endorsement process.

Here is a list of pet health care document that may be required for a move:

- DD 2208 (Rabies vaccination Certificate)

- DD 2209 (Veterinary Health Certificate)

- European Health Certificate (for European countries)

- FAVN-OIE Rabies Antibody Test form (needed for many non-U.S. destinations)

- Immunization Record

- Turkish Health Certificate for Export of Pets (if leaving Turkey via commercial aircraft)

"Good communication and early planning is key to ensuring a smooth PCS with your pet," said Ashbaugh.

For more information on pet shipment visit the Headquarters AMC "Helpful Hint" link here.

For information on pet health care call the Incirlik VTF at DSN 676-3119.