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24th Finance brings cash to outlying posts

Dec 10, 2009

By Spc. Justin Naylor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq- For Soldiers at small outposts in Iraq, buying movies, hygiene products and luxury items isn't as easy as just going to a store and swiping a credit card.

Fortunately for these Soldiers, the finance troops from Charlie Detachment, 24th Finance Company, are always ready to bring much needed cash to small outposts throughout Kirkuk province.

"You can't get anything out here without cash," said Spc. Jacob Sanchez, a Norwalk, Calif., native and a human resources specialist for 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at Joint Security Station McHenry in Kirkuk province, Iraq. "There are no ATMs, and you can't use credit or debit cards at the stores."

So once a month, the finance troops restock the Soldiers at this and other bases in the province with cash.

"We give financial support to the Soldiers that don't have the option of coming in to the main finance office," said Sgt. Philip Smith, a Camarillo, Calif., native and a financial management support team noncommissioned officer in-charge with Charlie Detachment.

Sgt Smith and other Soldiers from his detachment at Forward Operating Base Warrior in Kirkuk, Iraq visit three different outposts-Forward Operating Base Zaytun, Joint Security Station McHenry and Patrol Base Doria-for several days each month.

"We support about 1,200 Soldiers at these bases," said Sgt. Smith.

For the Soldiers at these out-of-the-way locations, there is an added benefit to having the finance Soldiers come by.

"If anyone has any questions or concerns about their pay, we can answer their questions, or we can take their paperwork back to fix their pay," explained Sgt. Smith.

"If a Soldier has messed up pay, it hurts them and their families, so we try to fix that for them," said Spc. Blaine Berquist, a Puyallup, Wash., native and a cashier with Charlie Detachment.

Although traveling to remote bases throughout the province once a month can be quite a challenge-rides aren't always easy to find here-the rewards of helping Soldiers have the money and resources they need outweigh the trouble involved with the travel.

"I just like helping the Soldiers," said Sgt. Smith. "My job is to support the Soldiers with what they are doing here, and that is the biggest reward for me."

"I am always very happy to see them come out here," said Spc. Sanchez.

And he isn't the only one. The lines outside of the finance tent often stretch out hundreds of feet.

"They hate our lines, but they love the end product," joked Spc. Berquist.

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