September 29, 2016 –
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – For over a decade now, Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 374th Financial Management Support Unit (FMSU) have received real world training at Ft. McCoy’s Exercise Diamond Saber exercise.
Diamond Saber 2016 took place from Aug. 8-28, and the exercise is known as one of the largest culminating military training exercises with the Army Finance Corps as the primary training audience.
The specialized training available at Diamond Saber is considered essential when put in the context of low-density Military Occupational Training (MOS) utilization for daily operations throughout the calendar year.
Spc. Edward S. Hardy, pay specialist from the 374th FMSU Detachment 5, headquartered in Cumberland, Pa., explained, “we are an Army Reserve unit that has skills that are specifically only going to be used during a deployment, so, other than the training here at Diamond Saber, the only opportunity we would have to sharpen our readiness would be during an actual mobilization prior to deployment.
“But then it’s crunch time, not the time to pick up new skills,” said Hardy.
Hardy is on the disbursing team for the term of the exercise, handling cash transactions such as “casual pay,” or payments to Soldiers in theater, as well as vault security, and cash accountability.
“The Soldiers in our unit are broken up into two different groups, MILPAY and disbursing,” continued Hardy, “personally, I’m on the disbursing side, so we handle anything that is actually in and out cash, or any kind of negotiable instrument.”
“I handle everything from pay issues down to disbursements of cash, and processing statements of charges,” said Hardy.
A large part of Diamond Saber’s ability to provide quality training for the Finance Corps Soldiers of the 374th FMSU lies in the use of realistic training scenarios reflecting updated finance guidance and policies.
“We use realistic roleplayers here, to simulate the Soldier customers that we would have on a deployment,” said Hardy, “they’re doing a great job of giving us a mix of different types of transactions that are required under the new finance guidelines, so it’s not the same scenario over and over.”
“The trainers at Ft. McCoy have updated policies from in Theater now, so we are able to put those in action with our unit to stay abreast of the current state of operations,” said Hardy.
“In an actual deployed environment, with systems working properly, we’ll see anywhere from 60-80 customers per day,” continued Hardy.
As Cpt. Douangmaly D. Wenrick, detachment commander for the 374th FMSU, Detachment 6, headquartered in New Cumberland, Pa., explains, Exercise Diamond Saber gives the unit a picture of their status in accomplishing the Army Finance mission under stresses similar to actual battlefield conditions.
“Operationally, Diamond Saber will give the unit a true mirror of what they will be doing in theater,” said Wenrick.
“The importance of Diamond Saber is training leading to readiness, continued Wenrick, “so the training available for our Soldiers participating in these key finance operations is going to keep them sharp, and build their skill level towards deployment.”
The value of the specialized training at Diamond Saber also assists the unit in recruiting and receiving new members.
“The Soldiers taking part here will be able to build their skills and leave for home station as part of a group that collectively received the experience necessary to network and train new Soldiers coming into the unit,” said Wenrick.
Wenrick considers Diamond Saber to have proved to be an invaluable training experience for the 374th FMSU, exposing the Soldiers in the unit to specialized, real world training, something that they may not have the opportunity to experience for the rest of the training year.
“For each team involved with Diamond Saber, you had the military pay, you had the certifiers, the cashiers,” explained Wenrick, “but what the Soldiers of the 374th FMSU got the most out of was the experience that they can apply of working as a group-Teamwork,” said Wenrick.
“The different scenarios that the role players threw out at them are the typical things that they’ll most likely see during deployment, and now they’ll be able to respond to that successfully,” said Wenrick.