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

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

Rise above the tedium with the TreeHouseLetter. Always learning with a bit of fun.

Latest Posts

How to Improve Your Writing – Part 1

9 min read 1 English textbook 1 Book rec 1 Style Guide 4 Writers: Tolstoy to Grohl (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters) Improve writing immediately, ages 9 to 99 Toolbox AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * I doubt whether we are sufficiently attentive to the importance of...

Superior to Saint, Scientist, Philosopher, and Poet?

8 Min read 1 book rec Improve and enrich your life 3 books that damaged the prestige of Communism AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * The novel provides "truths of an important kind unavailable elsewhere." Joseph Epstein Who is superior to the saint, the scientist, the...

An Alabama Road

3 Min read Music Writing for the senses Songwriting AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY Each singer stepped towards the front of the stage, put a hand on the mike, and burst into five-part harmony. There are stars in the southern skySouthward as you goThere is moonlight and...

Town Mouse and Country Mouse

9 Min read 3 book recs 1 film rec True story: Coffee with "Josh" The Music in Prose: Willa Cather on town and country Wordnerd special AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * The town mouse and the country mouse. Distress and agitation of the town mouse. Meditations, Book...

Living Outside the Page

5 Min read Pickleball 3 short books by prize-winning authors Historical fiction, fiction, nonfiction AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * If I don't write things down, they haven't been carried through to completion, they have only been lived. Annie Ernaux * Happy 2024! I...

Books for the Casual or Serious Reader

7 Min read Gift list 15+ Books Contemporary Fiction and Nonfiction Books on Writing Classics AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * I read because to not read is to live one life. To read is to live many lives. Then, I ask, what should I read and with whom should I spend my...

Involved and Implicated: Narcissism and Poetry

6 Min read Poetry on a December afternoon 1 Book rec Word nerd special AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify If you're like me, you can use a bit of poetry. I've had a few days to consider this collection, its after shocks, surprised at my evolving response. Tony Hoagland's...

Topics

Inoculate yourself against the absurdity of life with a dose of the best ideas and writing. Always learning with a bit of fun.

TreeHouseLetter

Always learning with a bit of fun

 

 

Readers receive one to two letters a week, with 2 to 10 minute read time. Includes regular features:

 

The Music in Prose
Poetry for Emergencies
Toolbox

 

 

Be inspired by the best writing and ideas, and become better readers and writers in the process.

Thank you for joining! Please check your email for a confirmation.