JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Nov. 7, 2014) -- The second wave of financial management Soldiers who arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, in April are wrapping up their developmental assignment tour this month but not without having made a significant impact in the closeout of more than 1,300 contracts.To date, the financial management Soldiers have closed out 1,353 contracts valued at $255 million with the lion's share coming during fiscal 2014 end-of-year closeout operations - 1,284 contracts worth $238 million, according to Capt. Jason Brotherton, the 919th Contingency Contracting Battalion operations officer at Fort Bliss.Soldiers in the financial management military occupational specialty began arriving at select Mission and Installation Contracting Command offices as part of a U.S. Forces Command tasking in November 2013 to build upon their skills and experience related to acquisitions.The five-member team at Fort Bliss consists of Staff Sgt. Martial Tchimou, Sgt. Frisnel Simprevil, and Specialists Naiana Sales, Steven McCune and Ignacio Santana Ramirez from the 4th Financial Management Support Unit. Tchimou departed in September for a follow-on assignment.Simprevil said Soldiers arrive with a foundational understanding of various financial management systems tied to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service but greatly build upon their experience with the acquisition-centric applications.Dormey Blankmann, a contracting officer who served as mentor for the team, said the limited understanding of contracting proved a bit of a challeng upon their arrival, but the knowledge gap was quickly eliminated through ongoing training. Group and one-on-one training was provided to the finance Soldiers weekly and as needed until they had a basic understanding of acquisition processes.Soldiers received training in Procurement Desktop Defense, Wide Area Workflow electronic document access, Virtual Contracting Enterprise acquisition management module, paperless contract file, Contracting Tactical Operations Center database, General Fund Enterprise Business System, and Computerized Accounts Payment System. These financial, asset and accounting management systems shares data across Army components and integrates enterprise-wide procurement management capabilities in use at contracting offices throughout the MICC."Working at the MICC as a contract specialist opened up new options for financial management Soldiers who have learned to utilize these systems," Simprevil said. "The amount of knowledge learned could have never been possible outside of this experience."Simprevil added that the seven-month assignment also allows Soldiers FMSU to develop their professional skills."Working in the contracting office gives us a broader understanding of resource management as a whole, which requires more in-depth analysis and enables us to develop a new set of skills that will help each of us in the future," Simprevil said. "More importantly, the contracting mission also developed leadership skills in each of us, allowing us to grow as Soldiers."Blankmann said the 4th FMSU Soldiers were a key factor in the contracting office accomplishing its mission."With the excessive backlog of overage contract closeouts and an increasing number of personnel turnovers, they provided a critical contribution to our workload," she said.Blankmann added that most critical was their assistance in reconciling more than $13.7 million in unliquidated obligations, including $4.8 million for fiscal 2009 and $4.1 million for fiscal 2010, over the last seven months.Brotherton explained that the majority of the military workforce at Fort Bliss is new to the contracting career field and needs to focus on learning their craft. He said the addition of the 4th FMSU Soldiers allows that to occur."The Soldiers are a definite blessing to our organization. MICC-Fort Bliss lacks personnel with finance backgrounds and the expertise to navigate the finance payment systems to review the disbursement of vendor payments," Brotherton said. "Their prior experience dealing with financial issues has allowed them to take on and complete some of the toughest contract close-out actions."Blankmann agrees that attachment of finance Soliders could not have come at a better time."The Soldiers completed as much as they could every day, always giving 100 percent and leaving people amazed on what they accomplished," she said. "They were an asset to MICC-Fort Bliss and will truly be missed."Another three Soldiers in the finance MOS are projected to arrive for their developmental assignment in mid-November.