V CORPS FINANCE SPECIALISTS KEEP CASH FLOWING AT HOME OR IN SOUTHWEST ASIA
Release Date: 7/31/2003
By Spc. Shauna McRoberts 1st Armored Division Public Affairs Office
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Behind every great combat unit there are support elements: supply clerks, mechanics, postal workers, and food service specialists. Take all of these services away, and you can't run an army. But if you REALLY want to stop an operation cold and get soldiers screaming in a hurry, take away the finance specialists.
Money, money, money. It's all about money. That's just as true in combat as it is at home station. At Baghdad International Airport the 8th Finance Battalion of V Corps's 1st Armored Division keeps division soldiers' cash flowing with a variety of financial services, including answering questions about pay entitlements, setting up allotments, and handing out casual pay.
"We're here to help soldiers," said Lt. Col. Stan Brown, 8th Finance commander.
Though its headquarters is located at the airport, the battalion rolls out as needed, to serve soldiers of the division's 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams, as well as the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Finance soldiers work at brigade, battalion and company level to make sure every soldier's needs are being met.
"Finance is not static office work," said Brown. "We like to get down to the soldier level."
The battalion also helps National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers with their financial matters, whether or not they are attached to 1st Armored Division. In all, 8th Finance helps approximately 70,000 soldiers here.
"Everyone in Task Force Baghdad comes to us," said Brown.
The finance soldiers are also in charge of funding paying agents; Brown says it's their biggest mission. A paying agent is a unit representative trained by 8th Finance to handle money used to buy supplies for his unit on the Iraqi economy.
"It's important to make sure soldiers are getting what they need," said Brown.
"These paying agents are a tremendous help to us."
To keep life interesting for 8th Finance's soldiers, the unit has to operate on two fronts. Spouses, family members and non-deployed soldiers in Germany also need their services.
"We run a split-base operation," said Brown. "We have finance soldiers back in (Germany) to help people there, too. The communication back and forth is very important."
While the unit does have scheduled hours here, it has to be like an automated teller machine -- up and running whenever you need cash. Brown says soldiers can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Finance is always available," said Brown. "We'll be here whenever a soldier needs us."
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