[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         June 27, 2008
Training

Finance exercise boosts Soldiers' 
skills for deployment

By Capt. Angela King-Sweigart, The Real McCoy Contributor

      FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- The Army's largest finance exercise began its second phase here June 10. Diamond Saber gathered approximately 700 finance Soldiers in a multicomponent, real-world two week training exercise designed to simulate conditions Soldiers will encounter when they deploy.

Photo: Cashier Spc. Angela N. Macklin, 210th Financial Management Center Military Pay NCOIC Sgt. Everett T. Smith, 230th Financial Management Company, and Military Pay Spc. Natasha P. Lindsey,  230th, submit pay inquiries during the Diamond Saber exercise. (Photo by 1st. Lt. Chris Dunphy)
Cashier Spc. Angela N. Macklin, 210th Financial Management Center Military Pay NCOIC Sgt. Everett T. Smith, 230th Financial Management Company, and Military Pay Spc. Natasha P. Lindsey,  230th, submit pay inquiries during the Diamond Saber exercise. (Photo by 1st. Lt. Chris Dunphy)

      "This training is a snapshot for what a Soldier experiences in a finance deployment cycle," said Army Reservist Maj. Douglas Ottenberg, S3 (training officer) for the exercise, 398th Financial Management Center (FMC), Fort Belvoir, Va., and a veteran of two finance deployments.

      Diamond Saber was organized in two phases designed to mirror the phases in a deployment, a technical train-up, and an exercise phase, he said.

      The first weeklong  phase was the technical train-up, simulating a premob training, Ottenberg said.

      Classes covered a range of financial topics including disbursing operations, commercial vendor services, resource management and military pay, he said.

      The second phase of Diamond Saber was the exercise. During this phase, Soldiers went through theater-like scenarios conducted by observer-controllers (OCs) to see how they react and handle certain  situations.

      The scenarios covered lessons learned in the previous week, he said.

      Staff Sgt. Travis Alexander, senior military pay NCO, Headquarters 230th Financial Management Company, Fort Carson, Colo., is one of the OCs for Diamond Saber.

      Alexander, who recently returned from a deployment to Iraq, said the scenarios are not meant to be easy, so as to give the Soldiers a feel for what to expect overseas.

      As the exercise phase began, Alexander said he was pleased with the Soldiers' efforts.

      An added benefit to the training is the full integration of all three components of the finance corps: active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

      Maj. Floyd Lacey Jr., commander, 374th FMC, Wilmington, De.,  said he was looking forward to the opportunity to train with Soldiers from all components.

      "Diamond Saber allows us the chance to learn and leverage off each others' skill sets and experiences," he said.

      Capt. Brian Slagle, commander, 395th Financial Management Detachment, Salt Lake City, Utah, agreed, adding the real-world setup of the exercise will greatly enhance Soldiers' deployment readiness.

      "It's definitely a benefit," he said. "A lot of times our training involves SRPs (Soldier Readiness Programs), ranges or APFTs (Army Physical Fitness Tests)."

      "Here we have real, financial-specific training, with handpicked Soldiers fresh from deployments to train and provide us real lessons learned from the field," Slagle said.

(King-Sweigart is a member of the 326th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

 

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