By Sgt. Christopher Schmiett, 1st AD RSSB Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, Aug. 10, 2017)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – About 35 Soldiers assigned to the 159th Financial Management Support Detachment, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, help provide financial support to about 30,000 Soldiers, contractors, civilians and local nationals from their headquarters here.
The detachment travels to austere environments throughout the Combined Joint Operation Area-Afghanistan to provide financial assistance.
“The finance mission is to provide financial management support to Train Advise Assist Command-North, TAAC-South, TAAC-East, TAAC-West and TAAC-Capital,” said Capt. Janet Baca, commander, 159th FMSD. “Financial management support includes military pay, disbursing and paying agent support to all service members, Department of Defense civilians, contractors and local vendors. The 159th FMSD promotes e-commerce initiatives such as eagle cash cards, point of sale devices and eagle cash card kiosks management, while enhancing partnership with host nation banking and vendors to facilitate a near cashless battlefield.”
The 159th FMSD is contributing to the financial stability of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as well.
“We also provide substantial support to the economic pillar of the ongoing operations, which is critical to the future success of the independent Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” Baca said.
The financial mission is not only important to the Soldiers of the 159th FMSD, but also to the Soldiers of the CJOA-A who depend on them to correct any financial decencies.
“Our mission is important to Soldiers, as our unit ensures all Soldiers are receiving proper pay and deployment entitlements,” Baca said. “We boost the morale of several forward operating bases by ensuring the Soldiers have a method of paying the local vendors for the goods they sell.”
Assisting Soldiers and their financial needs, the 159th FMSD also provides financial support that aids humanitarian support.
“We fund paying agents throughout the CJOA-A,” Baca said. “This money allows these paying agents to make mission essential purchases from the local economy that cannot be made by a government purchase card, as well as support the commander’s emergency response program by providing funds for humanitarian projects.”
Along with pay distribution, the 159th FMSD conducts financial rodeos. The financial rodeos allow Soldiers to travel to other bases and forward operating bases that do not have a financial office.
“The 159th FMSD conducts rodeos at 15 different locations that support the five regions in Afghanistan,” Baca said. “These allow us to provide financial management support throughout the entire country to more than 30,000 Soldiers, contractors, civilians and local nationals despite our relatively small footprint of about 35 finance Soldiers in country.”
Ultimately, the 159th FMSD is here for the Soldiers and civilians of the CJOA-A.
“When I arrived in country I had pay issues that my unit could not assist me with, so I went to the 159th FMSD to receive some help and to get it corrected,” said Master Sgt. Shelia Cooper, public affairs noncommissioned officer in charge, assigned to the 1st AD RSSB. “They were able to look up my financial discrepancies and provide details as to how to get them fixed.”
With these Soldiers providing financial support across Afghanistan, Soldiers, civilians, contractors and local nationals are able to fix pay issues at their location.