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Land Vehicles Veteran Assignments

If you've received a new assignment and have decided to leave your personal vehicle (or POV as they say in the military) at home, there's a few insurance options available to you (see this article for more details). But if you're keen on taking your car with you to your new duty station, or bought a POV overseas while stationed there and want to ship it home, get familiar with the rules below — you may be able to ship your vehicle at no cost to you.

Hot Links:

https://www.pcsmypov.com - Official site for checking on the status of your POV during shipment

POV Shipping Checklist and Forms - Our rundown of important details to keep track of during the POV process, and links to important forms.

1. The Rules:

You are eligible to ship a single POV if:

  • you are a member of the U.S. armed forces;
  • you are a DoD civilian and your orders authorize shipment of your POV; or
  • you are a retiree authorized to ship a POV.

The entitlement to ship a single POV is limited to a permanent change of station to, from, or between places overseas; or upon official change in homeport of the vessel to which you are assigned.

Only one POV owned or leased by you or your dependent and for your personal use may be shipped to your new duty station at government expense. If you want to ship an additional POV commercially, you should check with your sponsor and transportation office for any restrictions. You may have to pay an import duty on a second POV.

2. Vehicle Limitations

Only self-propelled, wheeled motor vehicles can be shipped. This includes automobiles, station wagons, jeeps, motorcycles, motor scooters, vans, and pickups. Other passenger-carrying, multipurpose motor vehicles designed for overland ground transportation not specifically listed above may qualify, but may require written certification stating the vehicle is for personal use as a passenger-carrying vehicle. POVs that are modified to be "low riders" must have at least 6 inches of clearance to prevent damage to POV during car carrier load/download. Also, POVs may not have a lift kit higher than 3 inches.

Note: Host-country restrictions may apply; see your transportation office for details.

You can ship a POV up to 20 measurement tons (exceptions could be granted for medical reasons). A measurement ton equals 40 cubic feet. Just for reference, a compact car averages about nine measurement tons and a full size car, about 15. If you ship a pickup truck with a camper, a recreational vehicle, a panel truck converted to a camper, or similar vehicle that exceeds 20 measurement tons, you'll be liable for extra transportation costs.

Tip: Exterior dimensions are included in the size of a vehicle, so remove truck mirrors and other attachments that extend from the vehicle to help cut down on the vehicle's size.

3. Insurance and Licensing

Returning to the United States: In some U.S. states, armed forces or host-nation vehicle registrations, license plates, and licenses either are not valid or are valid for only a very short time. Arrange to obtain these items prior to taking delivery of your POV. Most state motor vehicle divisions will accept registrations of POVs by mail.

If you are returning from overseas, make arrangements before leaving your old duty station for the continental United States. You should insure your POV before taking delivery. Coverage must meet minimum requirements prescribed by the state where your next duty station is located. Prior arrangements may save you money, as you will be able to compare prices offered by various insurance companies.

Shipping Overseas: Insurance, taxes, and licensing vary from country to country overseas. The best sources of information are your local transportation office and your overseas sponsor. Remember, you're responsible for obtaining insurance and licenses and paying any taxes. Be sure to check on these items well in advance of making your shipment. Insurance is often much more expensive overseas, so be sure to do your research before making your shipment.

4. When to Ship Your POV

Army and Air Force personnel:

  • POVs will be accepted for shipment if delivered to the port within 90 days after the member or dependent has departed for an overseas tour of more than one year, or within 30 days after the departure of the member on an overseas tour of duty of one year or less.
  • When delivery to the port is delayed beyond 90 days, the POV may be shipped only with the approval of the overseas commander. For overseas tours of more than one year, you must have a minimum of one year to serve on the current overseas tour when the POV is delivered to the port.

For Navy/Marine Corps personnel:

  • POVs will be accepted when at least 12 months remain to be served at the servicemember's current overseas duty station at the time the vehicle is delivered to the loading port. An exception is allowed if the overseas area commander or your commanding officer certifies the vehicle is necessary in performance of official duties.

5. What You Can and Can't Ship in Your POV

Only authorized personal articles can remain in your POV when it is turned in for processing. All household items and camping equipment must be removed.

What you can ship in your POV:

  • Tools under $200 in total value
  • Items such as jacks tire irons, tire chains, fire extinguishers, nonflammable tire inflators, first aid kits, jumper cables, and warning triangle/trouble lights
  • One spare tire and two snow tires with wheels (either mounted or unmounted)
  • Portable cribs, children’s car seats, and strollers
  • Luggage racks and supports
  • Small items such as thermos bottles, bottle warmers, and car cushions if they can be packed entirely within one carton provided by the Vehicle Processing Center (VPC). If your POV is going to be containerized at the port, these articles can be placed in the trunk without a carton
  • Factory or non-factory stereo, speakers and audio/video equipment in POV or trunk must be bolted down or permanently fixed as part of the POV

What you can't ship in your POV:

  • TVs, VCRs and DVD players, except factory or permanently installed
  • Accessories not permanently installed
  • Flammable or hazardous substances such as waxes, oils, paints, solvents, or polishes
  • Any liquids (i.e., antifreeze or air fresheners) that may be spilled and leave stains
  • Any pressurized cans
  • Citizen Band (CB) radios — importation and operation of CB radios are prohibited in most overseas areas

Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in your POV being held at the port of discharge until such equipment has been removed and shipped out of the country. All costs associated with removing your CB radio from your POV and shipping will be at your expense.

For more details and to get your shipment process started, contact your nearest Vehicle Processing Station:

Tracking Your POV

You can track your POV through the PCSMyPOV website. Just enter your name, Social Security number, and order number and you can find out just where your vehicle is in the moving process. Directions and maps to the vehicle pick-up centers and more detailed information on shipping a vehicle can be found on this site, as well.

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United StatesMilitary RecordsWorld War IIFinding Veterans Records

Use this guide to find information in military records about a man or woman who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II.

Home Sources

If the veteran is still alive, ask his or her help finding records. Gather facts from sources at home,and talk to relatives. Look for discharge papers. Look for clues about where he or she lived and served.

Wiki Articles

Use the research wiki articles at World War II United States Military Records, 1941 to 1945.

Family History Library Sources

The Family History Library has only a few World War II records, mostly selected unit histories. They contain rosters, brief biographies, and usually photographs of men and equipment. To find unit histories use Places Search in the FamilySearch Catalog under United States and the topic Military History or Military Records, followed by the topic World War, 1939-1945.

In the Family History Library you may find a few other World War II sources found by using a Places Search for the servicement's home state, county, or town, followed the topic Military Records.

Social Security Death Index

Veterans who died since 1962 may be in a index on the Internet at http://searchgenealogy.net/SSDI.html . The index provides the deceased person's birth date, social security number, state where the social security card was issued, month and year of death, and sometimes the residence and zip code where the death benefit was sent.

Discharge Papers

If you know a serviceman's hometown, inquire about his discharge papers at his county recorder's office. Servicemen were asked (but not required) to register their separation form DD-214. This paper gives their rank, unit, service number, separation date and place, birth date and place, physical description, pay, assignments, and awards. Many veterans kept a copy athome. Call directory assistance to get the phone number and address of a veteran's county recorder's office. For an example of a discharge paper (a .pdf file), see http://blog.mlive.com/news/baycity_impact/2009/04/schurrecord.jpg .

Veterans Affairs Records

Many veterans received a G.I. Bill educations, veterans' hospital or health benefits, or housing loan benefits. If you know the veteran's name, birth date, death date, and Social Security number, you can request information from the nearest U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. They may be able to provide insurance, birth date,service number, service entry and separation dates, service branch, pay grade, or claim folder location. Veterans Affairs offices are in the U.S. government section of the telephone book.

Veterans Associations

Contact organizations like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, or American Ex-Prisoners of War to ask for a vetera's application, or to find people who might have known your veteran. VFW applications include a copy of the discharge papers form DD-214. A local post of the association is more likely to have applications and other records than the national headquarters. Look in the telephone book for phone numbers or the Internet for address directories.

Personnel and Medical Records

A typical personnel file has information about service dates, marital status, dependents, rank, salary, assignments, education level, decorations, service number, birth date and place, death date and place, and sometimes a photo. For an explanation of how to apply for a personnel file using the National Archives form SF 180 and Internet links to the form, go to http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html. Also use SF 180 to request a "complete" military medical file, which is in separate archives.

Message Boards and Queries

Use the Internet to contact people who may be able to tell you more about your veteran, his military unit, or its history. Post queries on the "Military Search Bulletin Board" at http://tracksomebody.com/?tag=military-search-bulletin-board or at http://boards.ancestry.com/topics.military.wwii/mb.ashx.

Cyndi's List of genealogy sites on the Internet has two categories linking you to relevant resources, repositories, people, societies, and records:

Internet Search Engines

Use search engines like Google to search for information about the history of World War II battles, military units, and individuals with unusual names. Use the ARC search engine at www.archives.gov/research/arc/ to help find World War II records preserved at the National Archives.

Casualty Lists

Army and Army Air Force Casualty Lists are on the Internet at http://wwwarchives.gov/research/arc/ww1/army-casualties/. Within each county they are slphabetical by name and only include those who died  from wounds received in the line of duty. They show name rank, serial number, and type of casualty. Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard Casualty Lists are at http://wwwarchives.gov/research/arc/ww2/navy-casualties/index.html. Each state list is alphabetical divided by the casualty type, including wounded and recovered. Also shows next of kin address. For a guide to the National Archives record groups on this topic, see:

Benjamin DeWhitt. Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: American Military Casualties and Burials; Reference Information Paper 82. Washington, D.C.: NARA, 1993. At various libraries (WorldCat). (FHL Book 973 J53da). This guide describes the military casualty reporting system and related papers.


The National Archives Register, World War II Dead Interred in American Military Cemeteries Overseas  is available online at Ancestry.com for a fee. Free access to the collection is available at the Family History Library U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945. It lists name, state, rank, service, plot, and burial date.

Prisoner of War Records

For National Archives sources and a guide, see the United States World War II Prisoner of War Records  Wiki page.

Draft Registration

A typical card will list name, address, telephone, birth date, and place, next of kin, employer, and physical description. Draft Registration Cards are indexed and digitized at FamilySearch World War II Draft Registration Cards

Finding a Living Veteran

Internet People Finders. The Internet has several sites that help locate living people.

For a book about finding military people, see:

Richard S. Johnson, and Debra Johnson Knox, How to Locate Anyone Who Is or Has Been in the Military: Armed Forces Locator Guide, 8th ed. (Spartanburg, SC: Military Information Enterprises, 1999). At various libraries (WorldCat). (FHL Book 973 M27j 1999). Includes chapters about service and Social Security numbers, active duty, Reserve and National Guard, retired, veterans, how to obtain military recirds, locating anyone, reuntions, state government records, deceased, and family history information.

For Further Reading

  • United States Military Records Wiki article.
  • George Forty, US Army Handbook 1939-1945  (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1998). At various libraries (WorldCat). (FHL Book 973 M27f). Discusses training, organization, units, staff, arms, services, vehicle markings, insignia and patches.

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