News: Finance support gives soldiers peace of mind
Story by Sgt. Ruth Pagan
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Soldiers with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, can rest a little easier at night knowing their financial needs are being taken care of by the soldiers from the 33rd Financial Management Company, 7th Sustainment Brigade.
“We provide financial support through Eagle Cash Card, any other military pay functions—allotments, [thrift savings plan] and we disperse the cash throughout the battlefield,” said Staff Sgt. Stephanie Hawkins, non-commissioned officer in charge of the finance mobile office located at Forward Operating Base Walton.
The finance soldiers issue money out to units in order for them to pay Afghans.
“I usually draw [money] once a month,” said Staff Sgt. Philip Wynn, a non-commissioned officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 4th Infantry Division. “We draw money to pay local contractors who do work on Camp Nathan Smith.”
Being accurate when issuing money is crucial in the finance office.
“Attention to detail-in this job you have to be on point,” Hawkins said. “You’re dealing with the government’s money and they look at you as an overseer of that money, so you have to be able to trust each soldier and NCO. If you don’t have that [trust], there is no finance; so integrity really, really counts here.”
The five soldier team is currently operating a mission that would normally take about 25 soldiers.
“We’ve had to adapt and overcome a lot since we hit boots on ground,” said Sgt. Belinda Jones, a finance non-commissioned officer. “The missions we go on and the support we give soldiers is very important.”
The soldiers go on about eight missions a month to outlying forward operating bases around the Warhorse area of operations.
“We could stay in a place anywhere from two to five days,” Jones said.
The finance soldiers bring money, are able to load funds onto Eagle Cash Cards and help soldiers with any financial problems they may have.
Eagle Cash Cards are a secure way for soldiers to pay for things without businesses having direct access to a soldier’s account, Jones said.
“[When we go out to FOBs] we can load funds on the cards, change account information and unlock cards,” Jones said.
“The majority of our customers come from the missions we do,” Hawkins said. “Having finance is like a relief for soldiers. They might not ever have to come in here but to know its available that always makes their day go by a little bit better; it’s like a peace of mind.”