Any more realistic, and the U.S. Secret Service might come knocking.
The U.S. Army Financial Management Command’s Operational Support Team recently acquired more than $1 million in new training money, which it will use to train and evaluate Army finance and comptroller units around the globe.
“Having realistic cash in their hands gives Soldiers an extra dose of reality because it looks, feels and handles just like the real thing – just like they’ll see downrange,” said Shawn Crocker, USAFMCOM OST systems instructor. “It also gives us a chance to show them some of the things they should be looking for when handling real currency.”
Handling real money comes with real responsibility as finance and comptroller Soldiers have a fiduciary responsibility, meaning they are ultimately responsible for every single penny they touch.
“This definitely adds to the ‘pucker factor,’” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth F. Law, senior enlisted advisor, as he and Col. Paige M. Jennings, USAFMCOM commander, inspected the new cash recently. “I mean, you can hardly tell the difference between this and the real thing.”
The very few differences between real U.S. dollars and the new fake ones are a few markings and phrases cleverly integrated into the training currency.
“The company that produced this cash for us is one of the ones who produce cash for big-budget Hollywood movies and shows,” said Waylon Vinson, USAFMCOM OST deputy director. Vinson added that while the training currency amounts to exactly $1,004,400 in training value, it actually only cost a fraction of that amount to buy.
The need to replace the command’s outdated training currency was three-fold.
“We wanted something that was as realistic as possible; our old stuff had definitely had its day; and we still had old Afghanistan training currency as our foreign currency,” explained Vinson. “Since we’re no longer there, we wanted something to train our Soldiers for the areas to where they are now deploying, so we first started looking for Euros.”
Unfortunately, Crocker said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the companies producing foreign prop and training currency were no longer doing so, which led to the OST purchasing U.S. training currency.
“We ended up turning our old USAFMCOM training currency into our foreign currency, and using the new stuff as our U.S. currency,” added Vinson. “But, we are still working toward getting new foreign currency. That’s our next step for sure.”
With 22 years of firsthand experience in Army finance and comptroller operations, including moving millions of dollars in cash, Crocker said he’s excited about seeing how the OST’s future trainees handle and react to the new training currency.
“It sounds so small, but this will bring a whole new perspective to the students,” he concluded. “It takes us one step closer to training the way we fight.”
USAFMCOM conducts enterprise-level financial operations, provides technical coordination for finance and comptroller units and military pay support with commands across the Army, in order to ensure the effective implementation of policies and programs to support optimally resourcing the Army and supporting Soldiers.
The OST provides hands-on technical training and evaluation of Army active and reserve component finance and comptroller units and organizations. It also conducts pre-deployment financial management operations and resource management training to Army Reserve and National Guard units to prepare them to support contingency operations.
The OST provides subject matter expertise and support to finance and comptroller units throughout their entire deployment cycle and evaluates their ability to meet their standards for training proficiency and prepare for multi-domain operations during large-scale combat operations.