News: Finance fuels money matters
Story by Senior Airman Bahja Jones
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION – Personal distractions can damage a service member's mission effectiveness, especially while deployed. One distraction many deal with daily centers around personal finances, and that's where 379th Expeditionary Comptroller Squadron airmen here step in.
“Our mission is to support the wing in executing the air and space tasking order by providing sound financial advice to wing leadership and excellent financial customer service to deployed service members for pay and entitlements and disbursing services,” said Maj. Shannon Jackson, the 379th ECPTS commander here on a one-year short tour and a Mount Clemens, Mich., native.
Open seven days a week, comptrollers provide customer service to deployed service members offering assistance in matters of military pay inquiries, entitlements, savings deposit plan, and provide monetary exchanges between U.S. and host nation currency among other financial services.
“As the sole processing site in the Air Force Central Command area of responsibility, we process all active-duty Air Force deployed entitlements here and throughout,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Meyer, a 379th ECPTS customer service technician deployed from Grissom Air Reserve Base, IN., and a Fort Wayne, IN., native.”
The comptroller squadron serves approximately 250 customers per day. Some days, they can exceed their average when a rotator brings an influx of new arrivals.
While finance’s doors are open to all service members, some inquiries require actions that cannot be resolved here, Meyer explained.
“One of our biggest challenges is we have limited capabilities here,” Meyer said. “We won’t turn anyone away; if we can’t assist a customer on our end, we will do what we can to get them pointed in the right direction.”
Meyer added in some cases, finance will liaise on behalf of the member to ensure the issue is resolved in a timely manner.
The dispersing agent in conjunction with the cashiers is responsible for keeping enough U.S. and local currency on-hand to support the entire base populace. Together they are liable for ensuring all of the cash is accounted for each day and making runs to the local bank as necessary.
“Forty-five percent of the AOR’s cash transactions are from here,” Thompson said. “We are required to balance [account for funds] on a daily basis.”
The dispersing agent also works in tandem with the contracting office to ensure all of the bills get paid, Thompson added. This includes providing funds for housekeeping items such as electricity in all of the facilities.
They also advance funds to different agencies who may require funds for operations.
“Pilot paying agents are advanced money to pay for aviation fuel and other ground service fees including landing, parking, navigational and aircraft servicing fees,” Thompson said.
Additionally they also maintain the nine Eagle Cash machines located throughout the installation. The Eagle Cash card is a cash alternative deployed U.S. military members use to purchases here.
“The Eagle Cash card helps us to reduce the amount of U.S. currency in the AOR,” said Master Sgt. Mark Thompson, the 379th ECPTS dispersing agent deployed from Charleston, S.C., and a Willingboro, N.J., native.
Another measure taken to reduce the cash footprint here is limiting the amount of U.S. dollars which can be withdrawn over a 30-day period, added Senior Airman Carlos Mancebo, a 379th ECPTS cashier deployed from Travis Air Force Base, CA., and a Mays Landing, N.J., native.
Finance fuels the mission by providing customer support and supplying missions with the funds to function.
“It's sometimes hard for our Airmen to see how working in finance supports putting bombs on target,” said Senior Master Sgt. Nyle Smith III, the 379th CPTS superintendent deployed from MacDill Air Force Base, FL., and a Richmond, VA., native. “But I always remind them that if we keep our customer's pay straight, Airmen will be focused on their mission and not worried about their paycheck.”
Date Posted:08.30.2013 06:15
Hometown:FORT WAYNE, IN, US
Hometown:MAYS LANDING, NJ, US
Hometown:MOUNT CLEMENS, MI, US
Hometown:O'NEILL, NE, US
Hometown:PHILADELPHIA, PA, US
Hometown:RICHMOND, VA, US
Hometown:TALLAHASSEE, FL, US
Hometown:WILLINGBORO, NJ, US