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February 19, 2014
Mrs. Melissa K Buckley (Leonard Wood)

A permanent-change-of-station move, commonly know as PCS, can be overwhelming, especially for new Soldiers. The Total Army Sponsorship Program is designed to lessen the anxiety.

"Each Soldier, colonel through private, will be appointed a sponsor and beginning Feb. 20, all Soldiers will be monitored through Army Career Tracker," said Jesse French, Human Resources director. "They will be able to integrate smoothly into their gaining unit with compassion and less stress."

Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Blakely, is Fort Leonard Wood's Sponsorship Program liaison. He said the program is especially useful for new Soldiers.

"Me as a sergeant first class, I have already PCS'd two or three times. But, (Soldiers) straight out basic training -- usually it's their first time away from home and they need some guidance," Blakely said.

"The program will really help young Soldiers on their first PCS. It will give them input on what they have in store. For new Soldiers leaving post, before they even leave Fort Leonard Wood they will know if the unit they are going to is deploying, what housing is like and things like that."

According to Blakely, the program has been in the military for a while, but the new part is that is now mandatory for each Soldier who is leaving Fort Leonard Wood to have a sponsor.

Blakely said before leaving post, Soldiers will have the contact information for the sponsor at their new duty station.

"We send a form out to the next duty station, and they pick a sponsor to show the Soldier around at their new duty station," he said. "Soldiers take training at the Military OneSource website to become sponsors. Once they receive a certificate, they are certified to become a sponsor."

French has a reminder for Soldiers getting ready to leave the fort.

"As soon as they get assignment instructions (they need to) start initiating and preparing DA Form 5434, requesting a sponsor," he said.