353rd SOG FM best below major command team in the DoD

  • Published
  • By 1st Lieutenant Renee Douglas
  • 353rd Special Operations Group

The 353rd Special Operations Group (SOG) Financial Management (FM) flight, a small office of four personnel, earned the 2018 Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Financial Management Award for best Below Major Command Level Team for Contributions in Budget Execution.

“This award is validation not only of the impressive work that our tiny team does for the SOG, but more importantly it is a reflection of how important and challenging the SOG mission is within the DoD, not just the region, USAF or SOCCOM,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Vincent Colletti, 353rd SOG comptroller. “At all levels, FM funds the fight; the mission lives and dies with funding. We try our best to direct funding where and when it is most needed.”

Unlike most military finance offices that take care of financial matters for the entire base, the 353rd SOG has embedded financial managers that deal solely with special operations forces (SOF) appropriated funding.

“With 4 days left in the fiscal year we received over $4 million from our higher headquarters for the CV-22 stand-up at Yokota Air Base,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Duchesne, 353rd SOG FM flight chief.

While this is challenging enough, for two of those days the 353rd FM flight was sheltered at home due to a typhoon. 

“Due to intermittent power in each of our homes, we were working off of our laptops and cell phone data,” said Duchesne. “We coordinated 62 purchases through multiple agencies and vendors at Yokota and stateside to ensure every penny was spent before the end of year.”

Throughout the year, the FM flight was able to overcome the challenges faced with executing a budget in a complex area of responsibility. From policy changes to typhoon evacuations to humanitarian missions, the financial management flight has to ready for anything.

Readiness comes at a price; the Air Commandos of the FM team ensures that the SOG is prepared to respond when called, “Any Time, Any Place”.