353rd SOG FM flight earns DOD award

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
  • 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs
The 353rd Special Operations Group Financial Management flight from Kadena Air Base, Japan, was recently named the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller 2015 Financial Management Award recipients for contribution in budget formulation and execution below major command level.

The team shared the honor with the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Resource Management Financial Management Analysis Team. This award was one of only 16 DOD-level comptroller awards.

"Many of our support elements at the SOG are small, so I depend on quality over quantity when it comes to manpower. The 353rd SOG FM flight provides the quality service we need to ensure we execute the mission to the Batcat Standard," said Col. William Freeman, 353rd Special Operations Group commander. "I am proud to see them earn the recognition they deserve."

As a flight consisting of only four personnel, the 353rd Special Operations Group FM flight provides resource management and decision support for the only Air Force Special Operations unit in the Department of Defense’s largest area of responsibility.

“Many processes within the FM community are fairly standard and can seem redundant,” said Capt. Vanessa Gomez, 353rd Special Operations Group Comptroller, “but the special operations mission in itself makes financing complex. There are scenarios which are new, and you have to apply various congressional and Air Force policy to ensure the mission is accomplished within the proper boundaries.”

With the retirement of the MC-130P Combat Shadow and the arrival of the MC-130J Commando II, 2015 was the year of change for the 353rd SOG. As a flight, FM was able to properly track expenses during the recapitalization process, so the SOG received reimbursement.

In addition, the FM flight was also able to ensure training between the Japanese and U.S. Air Force was funded. If the financial support wasn’t executed before the fiscal year ended, the training would have been lost.

The mission requirements may present a challenge, but the close-knit special operations community helps these comptrollers provide first-class support.

“We are a small team, and we cover a lot of ground.” said Gomez. “Since we are embedded within the SOG, the close relationship we have with our customers, at all levels, allow us a great understanding of the organizational mission and what is needed to accomplish that mission. Because of this relationship, it also allows Airmen the ability to come to us with questions. We can walk them through things one-on-one. They may not have that opportunity in other units.”

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.

“I'm extremely proud of this team. They definitely have earned it,” said Gomez. “It’s amazing to see people receive recognition when they put the time and effort into doing their best. At the end of the day, we want any product with our name associated with it to reflect that high level of professionalism and expertise. Even if they didn’t win an award for doing all of these great things, they would continue to do their best because they know how important their job is to the SOG.”