News: 126th Financial Management Company celebrates mission success
Story by Spc. Jennifer Spradlin
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Soldiers from the 126th Financial Management Company celebrated the completion of their mission in Afghanistan with an awards presentation and the official transfer of authority to the 4th FM Company during a ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 17.
As the headquarters element of Task Force Treasure, the 126th FM Company expanded the financial management office from one location at KAF to nine throughout the region and also opened three Special Forces distribution sites. This allowed the Task Force to support more than 50 forward operating bases.
“There are lots of units that are active, but what really sets the 126th FM Company apart, and what has made them great, is how they accomplished that activity. They did it with real excellence,” said Lt. Col. Craig Simonsgaard, 43rd Special Troops Battalion commander and guest speaker. “They found a way to say yes.”
Simonsgaard recounted receiving numerous e-mails from units throughout Regional Command-South expressing gratitude for the level of support and problem-solving capabilities demonstrated by the 126th FM Company.
The modern battlefield could not be successful without the presence of financial management soldiers who work directly with commercial vendors to provide everything from equipment to living quarters for the warfighters.
“The troopers of the 126th have much to be proud of. What happens here at KAF and in Afghanistan is important to the history of the United States, and the 126th has made its mark,” said Simonsgaard. “Some of their accomplishments are easier than others to quantify, and the numbers are staggering.”
During their yearlong deployment, the 126th FM Company dispersed more than $50 million dollars in foreign currency, $20 million dollars in U.S. currency to soldiers, and $100 million dollars to vendors. Despite the amount of money the unit was responsible for, the 126th FM Company had the lowest number of accounting discrepancies across Central Command and decreased payment timeliness to vendors from 60 days to 30 days.
“Words cannot express how proud I am of our soldiers,” said Maj. Catherine Black, 126th FM Company commander. The unit faced the additional challenges associated with standing up and ultimately deploying with little more than a month’s notice. Once arriving in country, the unit had no workspace and three additional detachments scheduled to arrive soon after. Black complimented her soldiers on establishing the necessary infrastructure and showing determination beyond what was expected.
“We had a bunch of junior soldiers that were straight out of AIT, (advanced individual training), and instead of falling on a thought process that says ‘I’m a private, I’m a junior soldier, and I can’t do this,’ they stepped up to the challenge. Our junior NCOs (noncommissioned officers) all had to take a step forward and fill positions beyond their typical rank,” said Black.
As the unit prepares to redeploy to Fort Riley, Kan., Black also thanked the countless family members, friends and charitable organizations that tirelessly contributed to their mission success.
“We’re all excited about seeing our families and friends. Our FRG (Family Readiness Group) has been great. We’ve had an incredible amount of support from lots of patriots. We’re looking forward to going home and celebrating with them,” said Black.