By Pfc. Bailey Anne Jester
1st Cavalry Division public affairs
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Soldiers from the Detachment B "Blackhawks," 208th Financial Management Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division are currently embedded with the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Joint Security Station War Eagle, north of Baghdad, to provide soldiers financial services.
"Our primary goal is to provide money for soldiers and to solve any pay issues that they may have," said New Orleans, La., native Staff Sgt. Colbie Jackson, disbursing manager assigned to the "Blackhawks" Detachment.
The finance soldiers are the only "Blackhawks" Detachment soldiers at JSS War Eagle. The "Ironhorse" Brigade has provided for them and helped them feel welcome.
"Being attached and taken in by the "Ironhorse" Brigade as if we were their own has been a great experience," Jackson said. "They have provided for us, so we are proud to provide for them."
On average, about 30 to 40 soldiers per day use the financial services that the Blackhawks provide which include offering withdrawals, also known as casual pay, helping to set up a savings deposit plan and solving pay problems, like correcting entitlements errors, are a few examples.
"I go to finance about once a month," said Elgin, Ill., native Spc. Bradley Rosborough, command security clerk for the "Ironhorse" Brigade. "I haven't had any problems with them."
The finance office is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In order to be helped, soldiers must have their military identification card, and the minimum withdrawal amount is $50.
About once a month, the finance team travels to their home base, Camp Liberty, to restock their funds from the previous month's transactions.
Other responsibilities of the finance office are to provide financial aid briefs, cash checks and to advise the commander on current theater finance policies.
Helping soldiers does not stop after work hours. Behind closed doors, finance has even more responsibilities: balancing funds, certifying documents, uploading these documents into the system, where it is then sent to their command.
"Seeing the smiling faces of soldiers every day, knowing that we are helping them is very rewarding," said Greensburg, Ky., native Sgt. Jonathan Campbell, certifying officer for "Blackhawks".
The finance support team is made up of five members. They have one disbursing manager, two certifying officers and two cashiers.
The disbursing manager, Jackson, is accountable for the currency, both domestic and foreign and overseeing the day-to-day operations.
The certifying officers, Campbell and Cpl. Daniel Valoaga, Fort Riley, Kan., native, make sure all payments are legal, accountable and correct.
The cashiers, Spc. Josh Lee, a Memphis, Tenn. native and Spc. Emily Pelchat, who hails from Tavares, Fla., work at the front window dealing with the soldiers. They are responsible for distributing money, cashing checks, setting up savings deposit programs and transaction inputs.
"They have provided us with a source of receiving funds," Rosborough said. "They are awesome people."
The team has traveled to the other JSS's in the "Ironhorse" operating environment to provide the other installations the same financial services.
"We like to take care of our soldiers," said Jackson. "The last thing we want is for them to worry about their finances while (in Iraq)."