Even though the United States military is a massive institution, many of its personnel have one thing in common: heartbreaking tales of wartime tragedy. Military personnel and their families often have to deal with shady moving companies when they are ordered to move across countries or continents. These companies may steal their belongings, let them be damaged by water, or force them to sleep on the floor because they are running days behind schedule.
A military wife has learned to fight back, however, It was Valerie McNulty, a military veteran who had relocated four times herself, who had had enough. She hid an Apple AirTag, a Bluetooth-powered monitoring device, in one of the boxes containing her family’s belongings before moving from Fort Carson, Colorado, to Fort Drum, New York.
According to Military Times, “You hear so many horror stories when it comes to PCSing,” she said. In light of the things I’d heard, and after reading about others attaching AirTags to some of their belongings, I decided to test the notion.
A box of toys for her son was marked with the tag, and the McNulty family of four set out for the east coast. To her family’s surprise, she told Task & Purpose that they had only had to wait approximately a month for their belongings to arrive. It can take months for some people to obtain their things, she said.
It was meant to be delivered on Friday, January 7, but when it didn’t, a moving firm informed McNulty that the things would arrive on Sunday, January 9. Truck driver transporting their stuff called to tell them that he had just picked it up in Colorado, and it would arrive on Monday at the earliest.
McNulty was well aware of this. Using her AirTag, she discovered that the driver was actually in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a mere half-trip day’s away from Colorado.
In retrospect, McNulty recalls that when they brought up the fact that they knew exactly where he was, “he hung up on us.” If you’d like it by Sunday, he called back several minutes later and said so.
Because neither the move coordinator nor the driver knew where the AirTag was, the family would have had to wait much longer for their possessions if it hadn’t been for the AirTag’s alertness. Additionally, the driver was either unable to reach Elizabeth or had a medical problem that prevented him from doing so. In fact, McNulty says he merely said, “to see his woman.”
Most of the belongings have arrived at the new residence, and McNulty says the moving turmoil is beginning to subside. There is, however, a page’s worth of inventory missing from her family’s possessions, including a number of valuable goods.
We hope to hear back from them before the weekend, she said. As a result, these things cannot be tracked because I only hid one AirTag.
McNulty learned the hard way that moving firms aren’t always who they claim to be.
According to a post on her Facebook, “People don’t care about your property, people who can’t help because they are the middle man, and people who try to abuse the system by lying and stealing” exist. “The Army needs to improve. During the entire PCS process, military families require the assistance of a military advocate or point of contact.
This isn’t only a sentiment shared by McNulty. On Facebook, her post received 4,400 likes.
One user remarked, “We played this game when we moved to California.”
Another person commented, “Sounds like our move lately.” In addition to our couches, a great deal of other property has been damaged or stolen. “It’s very depressing!”
The military’s top brass is also aware of the issue. Moving businesses have been forced to complete background checks on all their staff since last year. Moving businesses’ track records can be found on a military website launched in October. US Transportation Command chief Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost has PCS reform on her radar as well.
It’s expected that by the end of 2022, customer service will be improved, as will the claims process. In response, “We’ve heard you, and we’re leaving.”
The PCS process, however, still has a long way to go if McNulty’s narrative is any indicator. Get the AirTag while you can, according to her recommendations.###