Diamond Saber 2021 exercise held for Army Finance Corps at Fort McCoy

BY MARK ORDERS-WOEMPNER
U.S. Army Financial Management Command Public Affairs

Diamonds are refined and hardened by pressure, just like those who proudly wear the diamond emblem of the Army Financial Corps on their uniform.

To refine and prepare these finance and auditor soldiers through a range of real-world stresses and scenarios, the Army’s Diamond Saber exercise was held at Fort McCoy August 8-20.

Diamond Saber is a U.S. Army Reserve-led exercise that involves all component participation and joint services. It prepares finance and control soldiers for warfare functions such as

“As I’ve spoken to all of the Diamond Saber alumni – the Diamond Saber veterans, if you will – they say it’s going really well,” said Col. John Trevino, director of the 336th Financial Management Support Center and Diamond Saber trainers, during the start of the exercise. “Although our majority comes from the reserve side, we have a lot of active soldiers and soldiers from the National Guard here, and that rounds off this overall force, a team-one combat concept.

“I am really grateful for all of the support we received from the US Army Financial Management Command, and I am really impressed that they made this a priority to ensure we get the support we needed,” added Trevino, while the success was also due to a lower ratio of instructors to participants in 2021.

In total, more than 480 soldiers participated in the exercise at Diamond Saber, including Army Reserve Sgt. Brett Herdman, a 395th Financial Management Support Unit in charge of disbursement.

“As of this morning, I’ve already seen all three types of transactions,” Herdman said of his first day. “We received our foreign exchange transactions, withdrawal transactions, and recoveries, and they were all different.”

According to the exercise planners, the goal is to introduce realism and pressure through unexpected exercise injections.

“They have a good five or six customers in line who are putting realistic pressure on these soldiers,” said Captain Timothy Bowler, training planner for 84th Training Command Diamond Saber. “What we do in our own units is give them a list of transactions to process, so it’s a whole different feeling we can get and that’s always a great thing.”

“They haven’t had any substitution scenarios like the one we had in a class,” Herdman explained. “They actually threw some curveballs that were really beneficial to my soldiers – it got them thinking.”

One such scenario was that from the start, a soldier delivered a sealed captured currency to the financial offices near Fort McCoy, with a memo instructing not to open the package.

“We couldn’t find the right procedure (standard procedure) so we went back and went through the rules to see what we had to do,” recalls Herdman, who was one of the first teams to look at the scenario. “We were able to learn spontaneously and I didn’t expect things to be so interesting, especially on the first day.”

To create a realistic atmosphere, the exercise planners worked on creating realistic props, including the sealed cash noted above, stacks of pegged foreign and US currencies, treasure checks, gold and jewels, and even currencies that appear to have been covered in mold would be contaminated.

“When you hand someone this prop, you can watch them think about how they’re going to use it,” Bowler said. “The most fun is when we see the soldiers take on the scenario and work like, ‘Hey, I’m on duty here, running financial operations in an emergency environment.'”

And, as the training planners say, there will be more unexpected things to come.

“We have some great injections over the next few days that are going to make some people scratch their heads,” explained Bowler. “It starts the critical thinking process, and these elements really train the mind that goes beyond“ Control-F ”in a PDF. That is what makes the exercise so valuable. “

Many of the Finance and Auditor Soldiers will also be on a mission from the Financial Management Support Team that will involve moving cash down in a convoy while providing security and doing their job in a competitive battlefield.

“In the environment provided, you never know what’s going to happen in your office,” said Bowler. “Most of these injections are the things that we have seen on the lower end, that we have experienced, and unless you have already experienced it, you will be at a loss.”

Despite all of the hard work and critical thinking it takes to be successful at Diamond Saber, Herdman said it was worth it.

“This is my first Diamond Saber, and I’m actually learning so much more about the financial world than in all of my six years in the military,” said the sergeant. “I’ve learned all of these cashier roles, I honestly didn’t know them.

“We worked them through in (individual training) and went through them here and there, but the opportunity to get into the system, make transactions and actually do my job made me appreciate my (military professional specialty) so much more “, he said.

Recording date: 09/09/2021
Release Date: 09.09.2021 16:19
Story ID: 404825
Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, USA
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