No money, no mission
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Whether deployed to Afghanistan fighting insurgents, running combat operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or staying constantly vigilant with a fight tonight mindset here on the Korean Peninsula...worrying about your paycheck shouldn't be a concern.
But things do happen and when they do the head over to the 51st Comptroller Squadron's financial services office with pay-related concerns or questions.
"When members are getting paid, they are able to really focus on the mission regardless if they work in the hospital or on the flightline," said Staff Sgt. Richard Ellstrom, 51st Comptroller Squadron NCO in charge of relocations. "Many times we identify issues for customers who are not exactly sure why their pay isn't correct."
Additionally, the financial relocations section is responsible for assisting members with travel vouchers when they first arrive.
"We begin their station-gain transactions to have their pay adjusted to be Osan-specific. This ensures the member is receiving the correct pay and entitlements," said Ellstrom.
The comptroller team manages travel vouchers and disbursements, allotments, pay changes, and other financial needs for about 5,500 personnel assigned to the 51st FW, Headquarters 7th Air Force, and other Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps units.
"We are responsible for assisting all Team Osan members and anyone who may be here on temporary duty orders, it can get confusing for customers which is where we come in to assist," said Ellstrom. "We contact higher headquarters when necessary and sometime that can mean delays, which we try to avoid unless the problem is out of our control."
Ellstrom explained that Airmen spend time researching the other service regulations to do their best in assisting every customer.
"We want to reduce issues for them but it's important they bring in the documents we will need like receipts for airfare, lodging, vehicle-inspection forms and of course official military orders," he said.
While there are unique challenges for Comptrollers, one Airman explained how he remains motivated to do his best each and every day.
"I really enjoy working and interacting with our customers," said Senior Airman Derrick Davis, 51st CPTS cashier. "As a cashier, I get a lot of people who have never seen foreign currency or been outside the United States before and when they have that cash in their hands their faces just light up."
Members of the finance office understand each individual is unique and will have a unique issue.
"I think it's important for customers to understand that we are here to assist them," said Senior Airman Laticia Moss, 51st CPTS customer service technician. "Financial problems or issues happen at times and require patience to fix. We understand that money is extremely important and will work with each individual who needs assistance. We really care about our customers and the quality of service they receive."
The bottom line is that CPTS finance Airmen are here to assist, ensuring all members of Team Osan are ready to fight tonight.
Basic Allowance for Housing:
Members can only change their BAH if their dependents are authorized to move to the follow-on or designated location. This means, that the government moves them at the government's expense. If a member wished to change the BAH based on a move at personnel expense, they will forfeit their follow-on assignment.
Temporary Lodging Allowance:
Temporary lodging allowance is a military pay allowance for overseas locations and pays out on a member's leave and earnings statement. Temporary lodging expense is a travel entitlement for continental United States locations that pays out on a member's permanent change of station voucher. This means that member has to manually pay their government travel card when the TLA hit's their LES.
Change to Advance Security Deposits Payments:
In the past, finance would give member's cash (won) through their cashier's cage to pay their security deposit. Effective June 15, advances will be paid via electronic fund transfer. The advance security deposit payment policy is changing to match that of the current advance overseas housing allowance payment process.
So a member will come to our office and apply for the advances and receive payment in their bank accounts 2-3 business days later. For the collection of the security deposit once the member vacates the property: With the old policy, member's would have to bring in the security deposit once it is returned from the landlord. With the new process the collection will automatically be deducted from the member's pay 12 months (or tour length) later. The member will then keep the security deposit received from the landlord when they depart. This saves the member time from having to come in and have a collection voucher processed.
If you Permanent Change of Station to Osan and occupy single-type gov't quarters (the dorms); you are not authorized DLA. If you move off base within 60 days of arrival or live in the family towers, you will be authorized DLA.
Basic Allowance for Sustenance:
If you are an E-6 or below and occupy single-type quarters, you will being paying the majority of BAS back in what's labeled on your LES as "Meal Deductions". There are some Air Force Specialty Codes that are exempt from this policy due to mission requirements.
Check LES every pay period to avoid large overpayments and other hardships. If a member has any questions whatsoever on their LES or need an explanation, contact the 51st CPTS finance office at DSN: 315-784-1851, or commercial at 0505-784-1851.
Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!
Follow us on social media!