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I learned the language of finance and the Air Force at Scott

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Chiora Waters
  • 375th Comptroller Squadron
At the end of June, the 375th Comptroller Squadron received a new Commander, Maj. Shay Edwards. She has since mentioned her first impressions and how impressed she is with the work being done here at Scott Air Force Base. As we all know, first impressions are crucial as sometimes they are the only impressions that another individual receives from you. Two years ago I stepped foot here at Scott AFB, my first Air Force base, and was flooded with first impressions--much of which was unfamiliar. As I walked into the office I realized that I had stepped into a foreign land where people used systems that I had only seen in movies, everyone spoke different languages, and abided by a culture that encompassed their entire lives.

The language was called acronym and went something like this: DTS, TMO, ORE, LES, IMA, NAF, DFAS, AFAFO, UTC, UCC, CED, and GSU. In fact, I documented five pages worth of this language before I was able to listen and speak it semi-fluently. The financial systems were surreal to see on a daily basis and I was impressed with the deeper set of language skills required by the Airmen who worked with these systems. However, the largest impression that I received from the squadron was how supportive and patient the people were towards me. They not only answered all of my LT questions, but they taught me the ways of finance as well as the Air Force. The people in the office, regardless of rank, assisted in my development and engrossed me with our mission to provide world class customer service to everyone on this base from general officers to airmen freshly out of basic.

Many lessons have since been learned and experiences have been gained. Finance plays an important role in every individual's life, in every unit's purchasing abilities, and in each mission's success. We can be found at the center of every operational undertaking by establishing and maintaining a peace of mind for military members and their families. We are at the forefront of each mission that takes place. In essence, we span the globe--without troops being paid or units having the funds to purchase equipment, no mission could occur. When you walk into our office you will be able to see and hear the pride we have in being able to serve our customers, our Wing, and our Air Force.

With closeout around the corner, it's vital that we continue to provide support so that Scott AFB can complete the mission. With the increased separations and retirements, at the height of PCS season, and with the Air Force-wide BAH recertification, this finance unit continues to live and breathe the explicit goal of taking the time to mentor Airmen and provide customers with this world-class customer service. Although we are here to assist the customer, there are times where we need you to help us. One of the most important things that a traveler can do is to remember to file their voucher when they return home. This is important so you get the money you are entitled to, as well as to ensure funds are not held up at the end of the fiscal year.

Typically, customers only consider entering our office when they have a finance issue. This is hardly ever good news and often times is very destabilizing for our customers. When people are worried about their finances, their mind is not with the mission at hand. The best customers are usually the ones that, no matter how annoying or complicated their financial issues, always come in with a positive attitude and a smile. A smile from outside the office makes the world of a difference to us and permeates the rest of our office. As Thomas Paine wrote in the 1700s, "I love the man that can smile in trouble, gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection." Thus, I invite our customers to create a positive impression upon us by coming in with the simple gesture of a smile.

As I prepare to PCS and enter another foreign world with a new finance language, systems, and people, I will remember the first impressions pressed onto me here at Scott AFB. The high expectations to serve our customers with world class customer service, to continually strive to better oneself, and to improve the status of the organization are but a few of the foundational mindsets I have taken away from my time here. Everything we say and every action conducted leaves a long-lasting impression on those around us and 375th CPTS has and will continue to establish positive impressions on those around us.