|By Spc. Darryl L. Montgomery, 319th Mobile Public
More than 600 Soldiers from throughout the
United States gathered at Fort McCoy for two weeks in late May and early
June to take part in the seventh annual Diamond Saber exercise.
Diamond Saber is the Army’s premier annual financial management training
exercise. It provides realistic training for financial management
warriors of all components and incorporates lessons learned to enhance
readiness and to assist in preparation for deployment to a theater of
operations, according to Maj. Bill Keltner, the operations officer for
the 469th Financial Management Center (FMC), a down-trace unit of the
143rd Expeditionary Support Command (ESC), based in New Orleans.
Finance Soldiers participate in
the Diamond Saber exercise at Fort McCoy. The training helped
enhance Soldier readiness.
Photo by Spc. Scott D. Matheson
The first week of the two-week exercise was classroom training
designed to get the Soldiers proficient in the many skills required for
the second week of the exercise.
During the second week, the Soldiers set up a mock finance center and
began operations. Some challenges Soldiers encountered during week two
were assisting role players seeking to cash their checks, funding Eagle
Cash cards, and resolving pay issues.
Though this is the seventh year Fort McCoy, has hosted this exercise,
Keltner says that it continues to improve each year by adding different
classes and scenarios for Soldiers to gather hands-on experience.
“Unique to this year’s exercise was enhanced training and scenario role
play for all resource-management and financial-management support
operations participants,” the Mobile, Ala., native said.
“The objectives of the resource-management and financial-management
support operations portions of the training are not only to increase
expertise and skill levels,” he continued, “but also to merge all our
finance, resource-management, and sustainment team members into a
capable force ready to deploy for full-spectrum financial-management
“Diamond Saber is the only multi-component financial-management exercise
in the Army that realistically depicts the structure and up-to-date,
theater-based scenarios that provide our financial-management Soldiers a
unique training opportunity prior to their next Operation Iraqi Freedom
or Enduring Freedom deployment,” said Col. Matthew Sims, the director of
both the 469th FMC and Diamond Saber 2010.
Sims said it is no easy feat to bring together all the personnel
involved in making Diamond Saber 2010 possible, but said it is worth the
effort because of the value it brings to the Army and the
financial-management warriors. According to Sims, more than 25
financial-management units comprised of more than 500 participants and
200 supporters were involved in the exercise this year.
One of the financial detachments at this year’s Diamond Saber was the
24th Financial Management Company’s Alpha Detachment. While most of the
Soldiers in this detachment have attended Diamond Saber in the past, one
Soldier in the detachment has not and says he feels the experience here
Capt. Paul Waldoff, the commander of the 24th FM Company, Alpha
Detachment, will deploy with his detachment this year for the first
Although he has deployed twice before to Iraq as a cavalry officer, this
will be his first time to Afghanistan, and his first time in a finance
Waldoff, a Hattiesburg, Miss., resident credits Diamond Saber for
getting him ready to go overseas and operate in a combat zone. He said
it has specifically helped his Soldiers gain more confidence in their
skills and grow stronger as a team.
“Between classroom training and the following week of technical
scenarios, Diamond Saber has afforded me the opportunity to assess my
detachment,” said Capt. Jon Phillips, commander of the 33rd FM Company,
Bravo Detachment. “This, in turn, will allow my sergeants and me the
opportunity to utilize our most precious resource, training time.”
On the second day of the scenario training, distinguished visitors had
the opportunity to visit the training site. Col. Michael Mann, deputy
commander of the 143rd ESC, was one of those visitors.
“Having been to Afghanistan before, I have a real appreciation for what
these Soldiers are learning here and what Diamond Saber is doing to help
prepare them for a deployment downrange,” Mann, an Arlington, Va.,
resident, said. “It’s a priceless event.”