By Sgt. Brandon CoxApril 4, 2019
FORT DRUM, NY -- Everyone had left for the day as Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Tate, the Bravo Detachment Sergeant for the 33rd Financial Management Support Unit was almost out the door when she noticed that two of her Soldiers were staying late to push out a last-minute project.
"I told them it was 6 p.m. and they needed to go home," said Tate. "It really shows how much dedication they have to this mission."
24 Soldiers from the B Det. 33rd FMSU are deployed in place to process all of the Commercial Vendor Services (CVS) contracts in support of the 18th Financial Management Support Center and the United States Central Command area of responsibility during a 9-month deployment from home.
"What we do is pay the vendors that provide services and products to our Soldiers overseas to include things like fuel, construction materials, and labor," said Staff Sgt. Clyde Torres, the Lead Certifier for the mission.
Cpl. Joshua Garcia, an Invoice Receiver for the mission, is one of the only Soldiers who have previous CVS experience, Tate said.
"If we do not pay out these contracts for goods and services down range, the mission cannot continue," said Garcia. "We play a critical role in that process."
Given these missions were commonly conducted in deployed environments in the past, the deploy-in-place model has some advantages.
Deploying in place drastically reduces the cost of mobilizing Soldiers and reduces the overall footprint on the battlefield, said Capt. Corey Livingston, the detachment commander.
"Currently we have completed 434 payments with a total value of 457 million dollars," added Livingston. "We expect to clear over 1 billion dollars by October."
Pvt. Zonelle Gumbs, the lead Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement Technician, has only just begun her career as a Financial Management Technician when her leadership noticed her outstanding professionalism and competence to now serve as the lead technician for the mission, said Torres.
"It's nerve-wracking, but I feel very privileged to be able to do this," said Gumbs. "It gives me a sense of purpose, knowing that I am supporting something so big."
"They have all taken this job very seriously," said Torres. "The level of performance is way beyond what we were expecting."
Several members of the detachment expressed their views of this mission when it came to their families.
"You get the best of both worlds," said Gumbs, a Soldier, and a single mother. "We work long hours, but it's refreshing to know that at the end of the day you can go home and hug your family."
"Last time I got deployed I had never been away from my children that long and it was tough," said Torres, a Puerto Rican native and father of two. "However, being able to do this mission and still go home is a plus."
"To deploy and go down range is a great experience in itself, but having a family in that situation makes it hard," said Garcia, a Texas native with two children. "It's nice to know you can still go home as well as being able to affect what is going on down range."
The Soldiers' diligence and hard work have not gone unnoticed by the Bravo Detachment's leadership.
In the beginning, I noticed it took the Soldiers a bit to get their minds wrapped around just how important this mission was without actually being there, said Tate.
Given where they started in February, you can really see how much the Soldiers have grown, added Tate.
"The Soldiers are the heartbeat of this mission, without them, this wouldn't happen," said Torres.