IamA Army Veteran Financial Management Specialist AMA!
My short bio: I was in the Army from 2002-2010. The departments (sections) I worked in are In & Out Processing, Debt Management, Customer Service, Separations, Consumer Vendor Services, Travel Pay, Document Processing, and essentially a Bank Teller.
I was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Vicenza Italy (Caserma Ederele). I deployed to Mosul, Iraq 03-04. Tikirit, Iraq (FOB Speicher) 05-06. Lastly Kandahar, Afghanistan 08-09 (KAF Airbase).
Any juicy details are within my KAF deployment when I worked in Consumer Vendor Services (CVS). I processed a lot of EFT payments to contractors. I believe we did like $600 million dollars in payments that year. I personally cleared out a backlog of a couple million dollars during that CVS period. I ended up getting a Navy Achievement Medal, even though being in the army, for getting these payments done which stopped a possible riot on that small base.
My Proof: https://imgur.com/OgKslkw
Edit: I'm going to watch the Jon Jones fight now. I will answer any questions for as long as you keep them coming. I might be on WIFI, and if I am I will answer.
Ha, yes I was. Tim Hortons was the best. Garlic parmesan cream cheese bagel was the best. I got a sweatshirt from the German "px" that has the MLB logo on it but it says Major League Infidel on it with a guy that is holding an M4. The fast food is a horrible idea though. Not like the DFAC was any better but the convenience of getting fat is not a good idea.
Will you be reading / have you read Phil Klay's Redeployment? One of his protagonists is private contractor on a reconstruction team, and I idly wondered while reading how accurate some of the politics were.
Also, what was an average day like at work? What was your favorite and least favorite part of the job? What was your training like? Clearly, you can tell me whatever you want about your job and I would be interested....
I apologize that this is so long, but I can talk for days about this. I take a lot of pride in what I did. I became the best at what I did. I had higher ranking people coming to me to ask questions. I just never cared to get promoted. Ask away please.
I haven't and won't. I'm not sure what he said about private contracting but I wouldn't doubt it was that far off. You have to realized that when it comes to spending money, at the expense of tax dollars, the government doesn't care. Blackwater is a good example, although I didn't deal with them. They were a separate entity, just like KBR, at first at least.
The contracting office is who is in charge of creating these contracts. They put out what they need. Office chairs, desks, a fence built around a base, rebuilding a school we just blew up etc. A multitude of contractors place their bids. The lowest bid doesn't always win, and I learned that from dealing with one of the contractors. Politics still have a play.
My finance office bought a bunch of chairs for a stupid amount of money for what the quality was. I immediately regretted helping that company that provided those chairs. They treated us to a nice dinner, which was hard to come to by. At the time I didn't realize what was going on, but he definitely bought my compassion.
An average day at work depended on what the job was. It was very laid back, just be on time and in the right uniform and you are okay. I wasn't the guy in the corner, everyone knew me and liked me. So even though they were of higher rank, I still had some pull. The best part of my job was helping that individual customer. There was nothing more that I liked than sitting in front of that computer analyzing how the hell can I fix this problem.
Most of the people I ran into were shocked by this. I truly love customer service, and I was all about giving them the best service possible. I wanted to give them all the information I knew, that way they didn't leave questioning what was going to happen. I even memorized this guy's social security number because I worked on it daily hours on end. It freaked him out actually, but I was a numbers guy.
Training was a joke, it always is a joke. You learn hands on, that is the only way.
I've been in for 10 years and never invested in TSP...Is it too late to start? Or should I go ahead and put some money in TSP?
It is not too late, I was told that about 4 years in. It works just like a 401k. So it can be transferred if you get out. Do it. It comes off of your base pay I believe.
How is vicenza? Was there 1996 to 2000
It is a great small little town/city. The architectural design in some of the areas is breathtaking. It is very tight though. I did like the small community though. The base was very modern you could say. I can't say what it was like back then. I would go back, but I did like Germany better. I love Germany; I love Europe in general.
which one would you prefer? A horse-size duck or 10 duck-size horses?
10 duck sized horses
:) lol I know that name, I have to know you. PM me who are you?
That's not how it works... that's not how any of this works.
You asked them their name, which throws out all anonymity.
Oh, by means of pm of course. Its nice to connect with old acquaintances.
Using a money order doesn't make sense to me. I have never come across that. We use EFT payments. Someone should have given you better information. As a finance specialist you can make calls to make things happen.
I tried using my background knowledge when I got out but it didn't equate to much. The language barrier was a big issue. The software systems are completely different. I had to use my GI bill to get any real traction. So I suggest going to school while you are in. That is my only regret.
I make no where close to what I was making in the army. The government takes care of you very well. You do have the VA but they can be shitty. I even applied for my old job but got denied. Apparently 23 other veterans applied for the same job. Yet I had 8 years experience, I never did believe that the other person was more qualified than me. I still know the pay system like the back of my hand. I needed no training. Fuck the government, seriously. I was left to fend for myself.
If you know who to contact you can have that EFT'd. Not everyone knows what to do.
Is the disbursing MOS community really small in the Army? I basically work the same job in the Marines, that's one thing I've noticed, is there really isn't alot of us.
Disbursing doesn't have a separate MOS. It was usually some higher ranking NCO, or one lucky lower enlisted, with some civilians. Things may have changed now. It is relatively small though, that was the one job you would want to get into. That job would actually help you when you get out.
How does the army approach finding out about soldiers who get divorce and dont say anything?
Well monetarily they will have a debt. You can marry and divorce as many people as you want. Just make sure the paperwork is accurate and you won't have a debt.
Are young soldiers as bad as young Marines with their money? I couldn't believe all of the businesses right outside the main gate that were pretty much designed to take advantage of people with poor financial skills.
Yes, I was one of them. I bought a car that was not needed at an insanely high interest rate. It is really sad that these businesses take advantage of military members.
There was this MILES program, it was a guaranteed interest rate of 18% lol. Being 18 this sounds good because you have no credit, and they make it sound better than 22%. There should definitely be a finance class for new recruits.
What's it like being a PoG? Also why does the army pay system suck so hard?
When I was a POG it was great. I had a nice air conditioned office, most of the time. My greatest times were providing support for the infantry guys, maybe yourself? That is what I lived for; making sure you guys didn't have to worry about finances while you were under direct or indirect fire. I loved going out to the fobs/cobs that you guys operated. It gave me a taste of what I wanted to do but I couldn't do due to being colorblind.
I remember hoping I would get interviewed on AFN so I could give my appreciation, not to my family, but to you guys. The pay system doesn't suck, it is acutally a fairly easy operating system. We used a DOS based system for analyzing. We then used a very simple system to make changes. Don't hate me, hate the government for not upgrading their systems. Some finance people didn't give a shit, I on the other hand gave a shit. I treated combat MOS's with more respect. You got my undivided attention, even if you were an E1.
At KAF, did you ever go to the boardwalk?
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