By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

Chances are when you have a question about moving, duty stations, deployment, TriCare etc., you turn to the best source you know….your fellow military families. Who better to assess an off-base neighborhood, base housing, or a REALTOR® than our fellow military families who pick up every couple of years and move; lock, stock, and barrel at the whim of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard? These are the people who understand the unique issues that can arise when trying to move a family of four with two pets across country. A fellow military spouse knows what it’s like to have the military member absent during a move because of a change in orders or a delay in a return from deployment. A fellow military family understands the need to find a “military” friendly neighborhood and school so the family can settle in quickly in their new surroundings.

At the heart of are the reviews left by the Armed Forces community. While a lot of great information is available in the review section of any neighborhood listed on, sometimes you might have an additional question not evident in the current reviews. Your family likes to bike so you might be wondering if there are any bike trails close by. Maybe your student is currently on the crew team at your east coast high school and you are wondering if any local high schools in your new Midwest duty station have a crew team.


Pose a Question!

Now the answer is as close as your computer! PCSgrades’ interactive messaging system allows you to pose questions to fellow military and veteran reviewers. The beauty of this service is that it’s completely anonymous! The communication stays within the PCSgrades website with PCSgrades acting as the “go-between” for both parties.

Instead of placing the two parties in direct contact, the system sends messages to PCSgrades administrators who in turn relay messages back-and-forth to each party. It’s really the best of both worlds, allowing the two sides to openly communicate while providing a protective firewall between the two parties.


Personal information such as full names or email addresses stay hidden during the entire interaction! You can ask a question of a fellow military or veteran reviewer or answer a question without sharing any personally identifying information. The reviewer also remains in full control to decline response or to respond under their username through the messaging system. This is a great way for military families to connect and share valuable information without giving up any privacy.

“We are really excited to offer this opportunity for military and veteran families to interact in such a meaningful and secure way,” says Todd Ernst, PCSgrades co-founder. “Networking has always been the way to get anything done within the military and veteran community. This interactive messaging system is a great way for families to connect and share valuable information without compromising their privacy or security to do so.”

Changing your info

Is your username not anonymous enough? You can change it! Just log into your account and click on your email address in the top right corner.  Then click on “Profile” in the drop-down menu. Go to the “Username” slot where you can change your personal username.

Check out the Interactive Messaging System by logging into your complimentary account. Go to an off-base neighborhood or base housing review and click on the reviewer’s username. A message box will pop up and you are on your way to figuring out the best place for your family on your next PCS adventure!

Read Next: How We Are Making the PCS Process Easier

Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Coordinator previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, and their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.