She Makes Sure Our Dollars Go Into The Right Pockets

A finance job in Qatar may seem to pale next to that of a trigger puller, but when a soldier has a pay problem that finance NCO becomes the most important person in the world.” U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kileigh Gard of North Dakota is that person. She is the non-commissioned officer in charge, NCOIC, of commercial vendor services and handles other financial issues including military pay, travel and disbursing.

Gard previously served in an Army engineering company and retrained for her recent deployment in finance. Having worked through college, she earned a political science degree in 2004. She believes her education and deployment to the Middle East will prove helpful in her future career. She called from Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar and spoke with Tribune correspondent MyLinh Shattan.

Can you start off by telling us about your assignment? I’m currently with 395th Finance out of Salt Lake City and I work in a finance office in Qatar. I have been here since November 2006 and it’s technically my second deployment. My first was with my old unit, 461st Engineer Company. I’ve retrained for this mobilization.

Our office handles everything, different sections of finance, vendors, invoices and paying all the different functions throughout the post. I work there and I’m the NCOIC here. We also have inquiries, travel, vouchers, and a disbursing office.

What were your expectations of this deployment in finance? It’s kind of different being finance from engineer before. I was happy to take that challenge and surprised at how many different places are involved and how it all kinds of works together.

We’re in contact with finance offices in Iraq, Afghanistan. It seems like the theater has matured quite a bit. We take care of all the service members better than before, especially with all the people coming in and out. It’s nice to help.

The contactors that we have over here are locals and some are back in the states. That has been a challenge and a great learning experience: the way their invoices are in foreign currency and written in Arabic. I had to learn how to read and understand them. When they call, we have a language barrier. The more we deal with it, the more you learn how to understand. I was nervous initially, but more comfortable now.

What challenges have you experienced? With the vendors, one of the issues we have, there’s a certain process in how the Army pays a contract. Sometimes they turn in their invoice and they think they should get paid the next day. We have to send it to Kuwait and follow a process. Dealing with the government is different for them. They may be new vendors and they get frustrated. Sometimes you have to explain it to them then they understand how the process works.

What’s the best part for you? Within in the office, seeing all the service members come in and being able to take care of their pay problem. If they’re not happy, the family is not happy. When they come back in, they have a big smile on his face. My primary responsibility is commercial vendor services but we’re cross-trained and we do know enough to answer basic questions.

What’s the worst aspect of this deployment? I think what gets me down is the monotony of the days. It sometimes feels like 365 Mondays and you have to ask what day it is. Being away from family, not being in your comfort zone. We’re very fortunate in hard buildings; we don’t have to be outside wearing all our gear all the time. There are challenges. Sometimes it’s mentally draining.

The Tribune arranges the Voices From The Front interviews with service members through U.S. Central Command. Tribune correspondent MyLinh Shattan can be reached at mylinh@mylinh

shattan.com. Keyword: Commentary, to read other recent Voices From The Front stories.

Apr 15, 2007

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

Stay Up to Date

Become a better reader and writer today and try the TreeHouseLetter for free. Always learning with a bit of fun.

Latest Posts

New Year, New Habits: THL on Instagram

2 min read Writing community Marketing platform 4 Instagram posts * It's a New Year with new habits: I am on Instagram! I know, it's hard to contain the excitement but please take a minute to check the posts below before you click over. They are drawn from...

How to Capture a Life in 400 Words

3 Min read The Obituary AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify iTunes * Writing an obiturary is a sobering task. I'm not sure if it is harder to write one for someone you know, because I haven't had to do that. My husband wrote his parents' obituaries and my father had written...

Punch In, Punch Out: the Profession and the Side Hustle

3 Min read 1 Book rec Writing Originality and Passion AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify iTunes * So you want to write? Do you like words? I finished reading Murakami's book Novelist as a Vocation which was published in 2015 and translated to the English in 2022. As of the...

“Pithy and Practical” – Time in Memoir

4 Min Read Time as a Literary Element The Divided Self Christmas and the Solstice Readers Call to Action AVAILABLE IN PODCAST Spotify iTunes * Not to toot my own horn, but I'll let my cousin do so. She wrote in her Christmas card that she loved the TreeHouseLetter...

Which Part of Speech Makes Up Most of the English Language?

4 Min read Toolbox, Parts of Speech 1 Book rec, grammar guide Word nerd alert Ages 9 to 99 * Let's talk about the parts of speech. As for the seven words in that sentence, the first two-- let's talk--are a sort of conundrum. They're not spoken at all, though I am...

Giving Thanks for Dissent and Cookies

3 Min read True Story On Gratitude and Dissent 1 Cookbook rec AVAILABLE IN PODCAST SPOTIFY APPLE PODCASTS * Giving thanks this time of year is a practice in gratitude. Gratitude is vogue, hip, lit. It's handy and eternal, an ever-ready virtue, making an appearance at...

On Perfect Love and Longing

4 Min read 2 Book recs True story AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify Apple Podcasts E-Bar in SONO's Nordstrom * The espresso and warm froth quicken the senses, which I need for what I'm about to hear. I'm sitting at the E-Bar on a Tuesday with my mother. I like it here and...

Topics

Become a better reader and writer today and try the TreeHouseLetter for free. Always learning with a bit of fun.