January 19, 2017 –
Soldiers deployed to Camp As Sayliyah enjoy half a work day on Saturdays after a full workweek, most use the extra time to catch up on laundry and speak with their families. The much-needed break gives Camp As Sayliyah troops a little rest and relaxation before returning to another week of work.
However, in one corner office behind an imposing desk buried in paperwork, a young corporal files reports, alone, while staring at a computer monitor framed in sticky notes and post-its. Her feet resting comfortably on her chair give the appearance that she has been focused on her task for quite some time.
"I don’t like to leave a task half finished," said Cpl. Masina Pua, a financial management technician with Charlie Detachment, 9th Financial Management Support Unit, from Joint-Base-Lewis-McChord, Wash.
"I like to start each week with a clean slate, and my team had a half day today," added Pua.
Pua is the non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of a small team of financial technicians whose mission is to handle Soldier pay in the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater), U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of operations.
"In the absence of a staff sergeant, Pua is our military pay NCOIC and has really stepped up to fill the needs of our team and she is doing a fantastic job," said Capt. Jonathan Evans, the commanding officer of C. Det. 9th FMSU.
The 9th FMSU mission in the Middle East is to respond to and address individual Soldier pay issues throughout the USCENTCOM AOR, which includes processing approximately 6,000 personnel, while managing the financial responsibility of Soldiers moving in and out of Qatar.
"My team and I are here to ensure Soldiers entering our operational area receive every pay benefit they are entitled to," said Pua.
Soldier pay in the U.S. Army is required to be coded at no less than a 98% accuracy rating and according to Evans, Cpl. Pua and her team of financial professionals have exceeded that standard every month that they have been in theater.
"Every pay related inquiry Cpl. Pua and her team process is required to be answered within a 72 hour deadline in order to prevent a hardship for our Soldiers and their families," said Evans.
"Cpl. Pua and her team have always met that standard," added Evans.
Financial technicians move as a team forward throughout the CENTCOM Theater to aide war fighters with any questions, complaints or concerns they may have with their military pay. Soldiers with pay issues or questions forward their concerns through those financial technician teams to Pua's team in the form of pay inquiries.
"We handle each pay inquiry on a case by case basis. It's our goal to correct each problem as quickly as possible," said Pua.
Soldiers entering a deployed environment are entitled to several benefits like a basic allowance for housing (BAH), as well as other entitlements like family separation, hardship pay and hazardous duty pay.
"Our mission here is important because we help to ensure that Soldiers are paid what they are owed, no more and no less. If a Soldier’s BAH is incorrect, they could incur a debt which would be negative for them and their families and I don’t want that to happen," said Pua.
Soldiers like Pua, and those found in the C Det. 9th FMSU, play a key role in the success of their higher headquarters the 316th Sustainment Command(Expeditionary), a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Coraopolis, Pa. The 316th ESC mission in Kuwait is to support the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) mission of providing logistics support throughout the USCENTCOM AOR.
"As the commanding officer of C. Det. 9th FMSU, I chose to place Pua into her leadership position because I trust in her ability to handle the responsibility and lead her team to success," said Evans.
"To me, mission success is leaving this area better than we found it and through Pua's hard work and efforts I feel that we are very well on our way to success having already received the highest ratings in theater on all of our Audit Readiness Inspections," said Evans.