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NEWS | Aug. 23, 2019

Deployed MN National Guard finance Soldiers take care of troops

By Sgt. Ashley Breland 184th Sustainment Command

While Americans volunteer to serve in the Armed Forces for a variety of reasons, none of them do it for free.

"Soldiers come to me when they have any type of issues with their pay...I enjoy helping them get their pay right, money is an important matter," said U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Rachel Fleisher. "Most people don't expect some of the pay issues they encounter, but we take their problems, solve them and get them their money. When you don't have your pay, you can't focus on anything else."

Fleisher is one of 25 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers of the 247th Financial Management Support Detachment staffing the Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, finance office.

FMSDs across the U.S. Central Command area of operations manage all physical cash disbursed and retrograded in theater, the EagleCash Card program, Savings Deposit Program, military pay inquires, and commercial vending services, as well as currency exchanges like changing from U.S. Dollar to Kuwaiti Dinar.

Many visits to the finance office center around leave and earnings statements, which details all pay earnings and deductions and often is a source of questions, said the 247th FMSD team. Finance Soldiers are able to explain all the codes on the statement, as well as initiating pay inquires into problems they can't resolve on the spot.

A unique program available while deployed is the Savings Deposit Program, and opening an account requires a trip to the finance office. Soldiers serving in an SDP-eligible combat zone can start their SDP account once deployed for a minimum of 30 consecutive days or at least one day in each of three consecutive months. While deployed, the account could earn up to 10 percent interest annually and will stop gaining interest 90 days after redeployment.

Being proactive with financial management will prevent problems in the future, said the 247th FMSD team. But, if anything goes wrong with the pay system, the Camp Arifjan finance office said they're willing to help.

"Our department is only a fraction of the finance world here at Camp Arifjan, but we are very important," said 1st Lt. Bridget Auch. "We want to take care of Soldiers, and one of the best ways to do that is to make sure their money is reaching their accounts on time."