435th CPTS supports USAFE, proves best in AF

by Airman 1st Class Scott Saldukas
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Supporting multiple wings and two numbered Air Forces might seem like a difficult task, but the 435th Comptroller Squadron is “money” when it comes down to it.

The squadron is made up of more than 60 civilians and Airmen who ensure military and civilian personnel get paid correctly and on time.

Not only does the 435th CPTS support a large area with a lot of diversity, they were proven to do the best job in the Air Force for 2008.

The squadron won the 2008 Air Force Financial Management and Comptroller Organization of the Year Award.

“I am extremely proud our Airmen were recognized for their knowledge, dedication and the long hours they work to ensure Team Ramstein remains the gateway to Europe,” said Maj. Brian Kehl, 435th CPTS commander. “The 435th CPTS stands ready to support, enable and deploy in support of our nation’s national security objectives.”

Although their financial expertise is broken down into two flights, it was a team effort that won them such a prestigious award.

The Financial Services flight embodies the customer service and customer support portions of the organization.

Relocations, separations, travel and military pay are all a part of
customer service. The Airmen working in customer service are the people everyone associates with the CPTS, Major Kehl said.

“They managed 53,000 customers via e-mail, phone call and 130,000 walk-ins. Also, they handled 20,000 pay and travel documents while having a 50 percent cut in staff,” Major Kehl said.

The Financial Management flight deals with the budget portion of the squadron and offers decision support to wing leadership in their areas of financial expertise.
The squadron disbursed $4.4 million to 84 paying agents. Additionally, $305 million was executed to support three wings, two numbered Air Forces and Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, said Chief Master Sgt. Angelica M. Johnson, 435th CPTS superintendent.

The 435th CPTS is among approximately seven financial squadrons in the Air Force that support more than one wing.

Their mission provides accurate, timely and comprehensive financial services and decision support to their customers, the chief said. 

“We give everything to get the mission done, but there are strict laws that not everyone is aware of,” Major Kehl said. “That’s when we apply our decision support and say, ‘We think the money would be best spent here.’”

Applying their financial expertise while at home base is crucial to the mission, but many may not understand the impact the CPTS also has on the mission downrange.

“While downrange, our people pay bills on hand for landing fees, gas and even pay money to get weapons off of the street,” Major Kehl said.

A CPTS member is one of the first people to arrive on a bare base, Chief Johnson said.

“When we arrive at the location, we begin working with the embassies and try to find where we can get the best interest rates, security and availability,” she said.
Applying their skills in a deployed environment is a part of their duty, but winning the award exceeded their normal expectations.

“I think we won because we have an awesome team,” Chief Johnson said. “Our FMers (financial managers) are the best in the Air Force because of their dedication and commitment; they are 100 percent focused on taking care of our customers every day.”

We won because they provide outstanding pay and travel support to the largest concentration of Americans outside the United States, Major Kehl said.

This year, the 435th CPTS will be able to call itself the best in the Air Force while continuing to strive for excellence and try to earn the 2009 Financial Management and Comptroller Organization of the Year Award.