ISSUE 1 Friday June 5, 2009
THE BUCK STARTS HERE: DIAMOND SABER 2009
Photo by Sgt. Chris Pisano
DIRECT FR OM THE DIRECT OR
MESSA GE FR OM THE SGT. MAJOR
I am pleased to see Diamond Saber 2009 is off to a good start. As I visit the various training sites, I see that our finance Soldiers are hungry to tap into the knowledge of our LTC instructors, who CRAFT have "Been There, and Done That". We've added a number of enhancements to this year's Diamond Saber, to include improved accounting training increased emphasis on DDS in disbursing training, improved cashier-level business for the STX, improved mechanisms for feedback to units, improved training scenarios to address the new modular structure, and FM SPO training. As many of you know, no one finance unit/agency is resourced to be able to run an exercise of this magnitude, so we will always be a "pick-up team" of Soldiers/civilians from many units/agencies to run the exercise. The silver lining is that this makes Diamond Saber an excellent forum where Soldiers from all components can network with each other. Personally, my favorite part of Diamond Saber is that it gives me a chance to see fellow Soldiers who I worked with in theater but haven't seen in a while. Developing and reinforcing these relationships is important, because in theater, we "win or lose as a TEAM.â€? Lt. Col. Robert Craft Commander, 336th FMC
This year's Diamond Saber 2009 was truly a team effort by the finance management community. To put a training event together like this required input from the U.S. Army SGM Reserve, National REYES Guard, Active duty, DFAS, U.S. Finance Command, and many other participants. I would like to personally thank all the instructors and staff members for their contributions. Our goal is to ensure the individual and team member technical training we are providing will make the Soldier and their unit mission ready to go to war. Throughout this two week training exercise confidence and proficiency will be branded within the Soldiers of the finance corps. The improvements we made to this year's training make it relevant to the ever changing climate our troops will encounter down range. This training will be intense and focused and will have a ripple effect through the units as they go back home and continue their training. A multi-component exercise such as Diamond Saber truly makes every participating finance warrior Army Strong - No matter if it's the Army Reserve, Army National Guard, or Active Duty Army. Good luck to all and do good things. Sgt. Major Mario Reyes, Sergeant Major , 336th FMC
S TA F F OIC 1st Lt. Carlos Agosto NCOIC Staff Sgt. Adam Navarro Published for the Soldiers of Diamond Saber 2009 by members of the 361st Public Affairs Operations Center, Fort Totten, NY.
For more info log onto www.diamondsaber.info
DIAMOND SABER NEWS
Editor/Designer Sgt. Chris Pisano Photojournalist Sgt. Joseph A. Morris
Diamond Saber â€˜09 is on the money Story by Sgt. Chris Pisano 361st PAOC FORT MCCOY, Wis. - The Military's premiere multi-component financial management training exercise began here Monday. Over 600 Soldiers from 45 different units comprised from Army Reserve, National Guard and Active duty components of the Finance Corps gathered to participate in Diamond Saber 2009. And these finance warriors are on the money. "Diamond Saber provides realistic training for financial managePhoto by Sgt. Chris Pisano During Diamond Saber 2009 extensive classroom training, ripped straight from the ment warriors of all components battlefield, is being conducted by seasoned instructors with deployment experience. incorporating lessons learned to support the finance corps' mission: training this year has also been assist in their preparation for Disbursing, military pay, vendor improved to reflect this new era . deployment to a theater of operapay, and resource management. The 336th FMC was the first unit tions," said Lt. Col. Robert Craft, deployed overseas to actually use commander of the 336th Financial The first week is comprised of troops in classrooms being taught the modular system in the real Management Center (FMC) from by instructors rich in finance expe- world. When they came back from Lake Charles, La., and exercise rience. The second week consists deployment they deposited a director of Diamond Saber 2009. of Soldiers participating in scenarwealth of knowledge withdrawn The training also provides comios that simulate actual finance straight from the battlefield and manders of units the chance to conditions in theater. completely rewrote the Diamond assess their Soldiers' capabilities However the chance to hone in Saber training to more accurately and preparedness for deployment on finance specific skills not exereflect how things are actually and then to help determine what cuted often is what really pays off. being done in the sand box with additional training is needed back "These are highly perishable the modular structure. home, he said. skills," said Craft. "For example, "Actual deployment experience "Diamond Saber gets the troops we don't do disbursing in the states has helped to refine the Diamond in battle-sync," said Sgt. Major. Saber experience. These skills are Mario Reyes, sergeant major of the anymore, but in-country you have to know how to. Diamond Saber battlefield tested," said Craft, a 336th FMC and senior finance gives the Soldiers a chance to veteran of three deployments and operations advisor for Diamond two Diamond Saber exercises himSaber 2009. "Our goal is to have a practice these skills they are self. "The majority of the finance mission-ready Soldier by providing expected to know when they go overseas." Soldiers here have been deployed classroom and hands on training. The U.S. Army has restructured at least once." We will train as we will be expectto a new modular system where Another addition to this years ed to perform in theater." finance elements are now placed exercise is the increased emphasis The extensive training concerning military money matters covers directly under the sustainment (Continued on page 7) brigades on the ground, and the the four core competencies that Issue 1 Friday June 5, 2009 3
Warriors learning skills to pay bills Story by Sgt. Joseph A. Morris 361st PAOC FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- During the first week of the two week Diamond Saber 2009 exercise, finance Soldiers will be refreshing their core fundamentals while incorporating advanced technology and updated classroom instruction based on current battlefield conditions and designed from recent deployment experience. "The four main competencies that make up the finance field are disbursing, military pay, resource management, and commercial vendor services," said Maj. Donna Beaulieu, 336th Financial Management Center (FMC) from Lake Charles, La., and training operations officer here at Diamond Saber 2009. "Each of those four cores are big missions in their own right, which is why we are covering them all at Diamond Saber." And big missions they are: Disbursing involves cashing checks, issuing of casual payments, paying contracts, physical accountability of money, cashier training, and counterfeit currency. Military Pay (MILPAY) covers all financial entitlements of the Soldiers including pay issues. Resource Management deals with accounting records, financial obligation execution and allocated funds. Commerical Vender Services (CVS) ensures that everything that happens on a post is processed for payment to include meals, supplies and maintenance. A key point to the success of this exercise will be that the training classes are being taught at different levels of difficulty based on particular experience of the individual Photo by Sgt. Joseph A. Morris Soldiers. The Computerized Accounts Payable "Diamond System (CAPS), an Army finance system Saber has been used worldwide, is trained on during the CVS classes. constructed to DIAMOND SABER NEWS 4
Photo by Sgt. Chris Pisano
Sgt. 1st Class Michelle Applebee (center), 376th FMCO, reserve Soldier from Wausau, Wis., and Diamond Saber instructor assists an enthusiastic Sgt. Ralph Garren (right), 159th FMD, Arizona National Guard, during cashier training.
accommodate finance Soldiers of all different skill abilities," said Beaulieu. "Knowing that different Soldiers have different capabilities, the training here had to be constructed to allow each individual to train up on their weaker areas of knowledge and get the maximum training experience." During the year, some Soldiers are involved working in one area of their field more than other areas. This training at Diamond Saber has been designed to take those Soldiers out of their comfort zone and expose them to the areas where they may be weaker. "The unit commanders identified Soldiers for their block of training based on the unit's needs," said Beaulieu. "Prior to Diamond Saber, the participating units were required to send in a battle roster picking what Soldiers they were sending and what training they wanted those Soldiers to hone up on." A major advantage of Diamond Saber is that it allows key leaders to evaluate their unit's level of proficiency to see where their Soldiers stand. And that helps determine what training must be continued upon arrival back to home station. The training materials used in the classrooms consist of hard copies drawn from power points that give the students the option to move ahead at their own pace. Also used are comprehensive manuals and practical exercises from the finance school -- Soldier Support Institute, Fort Jackson, S.C. And most importantly, personal experience and first hand knowledge on how business is currently being conducted on the
battlefield from troops who have been there. "This is the top refresher and learner course I've been to," said Spc. Joey Wilcox, 249th Finance Management Detachment (FMD), Texas National Guard from Austin, Texas, and finance warrior for over 6 years on active duty. "Anyone who didn't know anything about finance could take knowledge away from here and know what to Photo by Sgt. Chris Pisano Sgt. 1st Class Francisco Pacheco, 469th FMC, AGR Soldier from New Orleans, La., and Diamond do out there.” With constant changes Saber 2009 instructor, shares his recent deployment experience to students in a MILPAY class. in motion, the Soldiers The Diamond Saber training allows the troops to here must adapt. But in order for them to build on work with the manual process and build up to using new knowledge a solid foundation is needed first. The computer programs, some of which are only used training here is designed to set Soldiers up for future over seas. success by giving them a good basic level of knowlAs Beaulieu said, a lot of reserve Soldiers in the edge that can be incorporated into their unit’s follow- finance field perform their jobs in the Army and the on training back home. civilian world. But some computer programs, such as "A big push this year is advancing the technology the Deployable Disbursing System (DDS), are only and letting the Soldiers experience both ends of the used overseas and not in garrison stateside. spectrum: The old fashioned way, and the more mod"Finance elements stateside don't do disbursing so ern way," said Beaulieu. "We begin with the basics they never use the DDS unless it's at training like because you don't know what you will experience this. I haven't used it since I was active overseas, so when you go down range.” this is great to put hands on it again," said Wilcox. "The Soldiers definitely need to know how to do Getting a taste of what to expect when the boots hit their job using pencil and paper first before they can the ground abroad is a major advantage the training start processing information into the computer," said here allows. Whether active, reserve or national Sgt. 1st Class Michelle Applebee, 376th Financial guard, the skills learned here are used downrange so Management Company (FMCO), reserve Soldier the training truly levels the playing field. from Wausau, Wis., instructor and veteran of two previous Diamond Sabers. The training simulates the progression to advanced technology in the field. "When infrastructure does not exist in theater you have to build it up from ground zero," said Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Cottle, readiness Non-Comissioned Officer with the 249th FMD. “Immature locations may not have internet or phone lines when you hit the ground. So as a theater matures then you would incorporate the use of computers. It’s important that the Photo by Sgt. Joseph A. Morris Soldiers know this in case we execute in another Soldiers go back to the front and work with pencil and paper location that goes hot.” forms to get grounded in the fundamentals of finance. Issue 1 Friday June 5, 2009
"Diamond Saber is very accurate in keeping up with the changes in the Army. The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) came straight from overseas," said Applebee. “Lessons learned from in theater have been crucial to this exercise.” "I just came back from deployment in February and was asked to come help train Soldiers on the new modular structure,” said Sgt. 1st Class Francisco Pacheco, from the 469th FMC, active-guard reserve (AGR) Soldier from New Orleans, La., and instructor. “And I have to say that Diamond Saber has very accurate manuals on what’s happening over there, so this training is a great benefit for those who haven't been deployed." "This is my first Diamond Saber, and I can truly say that my deployment experience from Iraq in 2006 has definitely helped here," said Spc. Dennis Santiago, 389th FMD, reserve Soldier from Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, and instructor of one of the military pay classes. It’s a huge opportunity for the Soldiers to not only refresh and revise their personal finance proficiency, Photo by Sgt. Chris Pisano but to also meet and get accustomed to their compoAlthough a Texas National Guardsman, Spc. Joey Wilcox, 249th FMD, actively engages the updated course materials nent counterparts. while drawing from his own personal bank of experience. "Diamond Saber is a great overall training experience. I learned a lot of my job the hard way while Steven Brantz, commander of the 249th FMD. "This deployed, so it's great to put that knowledge to use is relationship building that helps make different units and be able to help out fellow Soldiers in the other more organic when they work together down range." components,” said Santiago, who is a finance student Wilcox can attest to that. He said he’s bumped into in the civilian world. a large number of familiar faces here that he met durThe content covered in the classes is condensed ing his time on active duty. with real case scenarios, keeping the students ener"This has been a reunion for me. Diamond Saber is getic to listen and a good atmosphere and opportunity to not only learn not only from refresh your skills but to bring back camaraderie to the instructors but the finance corps as a whole," said Wilcox. collectively from Support from all components gives and gets the everyone else in the best training for the Soldiers. Diamond Saber is only class. successful because it's been a joint endeavor. "Diamond Saber "The finance corps is built on trust and integrity. is exceptionally And that trust and integrity is built here at Diamond valuable because Saber," said Brantz. you get to feed off The Soldiers will have trust in these classes during the experience of the second week when their skills are put to the test working with multi- in scenarios that replicate their jobs when deployed. ple units with multiThere will be no room for error. ple experiences, and “In finance the passing score is 100 percent," said Photo by Sgt. Joseph A. Morris you see there's defiLt. Col. Robert Craft, commander of the 336th FMC, Lessons conducted via computer Diamond Saber 2009 director. “We cannot afford to courses strenghten the training tools nitely a common being used at Diamond Saber 2009. thread," said Capt. make mistakes. No pun intended.”
DIAMOND SABER NEWS
But whoâ€™s counting?
A C T I V E D U T Y N AT I O N A L G U A R D
These are the units here making Diamond Saber 2009 a success AR MEDCOM (G8), FL 3r d MEDCOM (G8), G A 412th TEC (G8), MS 85th DIV (T) (G8), IL 100th DIV (T) (G8), KY 143r d ESC (G8), FL 310th ESC (G8), IN 31 1th ESC (G8), CA 326th FMC, CA 336th FMC, LA 398th FMC, VA 469th FMC, LA 368th FMCO, KS 374th FMCO, DA 376th FMCO, WI 389th FMD, PR 395th FMCO (De t 1), UT 41 3th FMD, PR A/324 ITSB, SC 335th SIG CMD, G A 912th HR C, FL NGB (G8), VA 361 PAOC, NY JF-HQ, DCARNG (G8), DC 50th FMCO NJARNG, NJ 130th FMCO, Det 1 NCARNG, NC 113th FMD NCARNG, NC 112th FMD NCARNG, NC 159th FMD AZARNG, AZ 220th FMD MSARNG, MS 230th FMD MSARNG, MS 249th FMD TXARNG, TX 250th FD NJARNG, NJ 350th FD NJARNG, NJ USAFINCOM US Army Finance School, SC 126th FMCO, KS C DET, 24th FMCO, GA A DET/82nd FMCO, NC D DET/82nd FMCO, NC B DET/126th FMCO, KS 4th FMCO, TX 1st SB (SPO) 15th SB (SPO) 82nd SB (SPO)
(Continued from page 3) on working with the Financial Management Support Operations officer (FM SPO), who acts as a liaison between the finance Soldiers and the sustainment brigades. "The concept has changed, but the mission is still the same. Diamond Saber 2009 is the first time the new structure is being replicated and the first time the FM SPO concept is being fully implemented in training," said Reyes. While the 336th FMC may be the unit hosting this colossal event, it's truly a multi-component exercise and effort with an extensive number of other units volunteering to help out. "This Diamond Saber is a year in the making," said Craft. "With out the support of all the units involved it could not have happened." "It's like a jambalaya with a lot of ingredients in it," said Reyes. "And we got a lot of cooks stirring that jambalaya. So by the end, we're gonna have a nice taste of jambalaya." Originally an Army Reserve only exercise, Diamond Saber has grown over the years to include contributions from the national guard and active duty components. "There are approximately as many finance Soldiers here as there are in Iraq. And the finance community is really small. So multi-component training like this really facilitates networking, which pays dividends," said Craft. Camaraderie definitely plays an important part of Diamond Saber, according to Reyes. "Here you get to meet other finance elements and get to work with them and then when you see them again down range you have already established a working relationship," he said. "It facilitates the getto-know-you factor. You can cut down on that meet and greet and just get to business." And these days business is good. With new innovations in place for this year's exercise the training is hard like a diamond, but the Soldiers are sharp like a saber. It only reinforces the importance of the U.S. Finance Corps' vital role that it plays in the U.S. Army's overall mission. "You canâ€™t afford to go to war without us," said Craft. "Diamond Saber helps prepare finance Soldiers to go to war." Issue 1 Friday June 5, 2009
soldier spotlight sPC ASTRID SANDOVAL UNIT: 149TH Financial Detachment from Austin, Texas
Compiled by Sgt. Chris Pisano and Sgt Joseph A. Morris
PFC carlos murrell UNIT: 82nd Financial Management Center from Fort Bragg, NC COMPONENT: Active Duty Army
COMPONENT: Texas Army National Guard
HOMETOWN: Raleigh, NC
HOMETOWN: Austin, Texas
EXPERIENCE: Joined Army Reserve in 2006, after 5 months switched to Active Duty for the full-time Army lifestyle.
EXPERIENCE: 4 years in Active Duty, Joined National Guard in 2006,Deployed to Kosovo from March‘08 to April‘09.
AT DIAMOND SABER: Learning the differences on how the Reserve and National Guard get paid.
AT DIAMOND SABER: Instructor for Commerical Vendor Services class.
ARMY GOALS: To get a deployment on his sleeve, then become an officer.
ARMY GOALS: To make a career out of the Army and get her stripes.
MESSAGE: Have purpose and be effective in what you do.
MESSAGE: Give everything in life your best effort.
AT DIAMOND SABER: Getting his first taste of finance training, hasn’t attended Advanced Individual (AIT) Training yet.
PV2 Scott weiksner UNIT: 374TH Financial Management Center from Cumberland, PA COMPONENT: Army Reserve
HOMETOWN: Harrisburg, PA
EXPERIENCE: Joined Air Force in Nov.‘08, 4 months later went to Warrior Transition Course and joined Army Reserve to become a finance Soldier.
ARMY GOALS: To jump into AIT with his Diamond Saber experience. MESSAGE: Be high speed and walk out better than you walked in.