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Mission success short-changed without CPTS

VANDNEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Money makes the world go round.

Vandenberg's mission is launching missiles and putting satellites into orbit around the world. Without the money budgeted by and distributed through the 30th Comptroller Squadron, nothing would leave earth to orbit the world.

"We fund the 30th Space Wing launch mission," said Debra Hart, the 30th CPTS budget officer

Funding the launch mission includes not only big ticket items required for launches, but also the military and civilian pay for Airmen working the launches.

"There are many different sections in the Comptroller Squadron, "said Maj. Tracy Watkins, the 30 CPTS commander. "Our most visible section is the financial services flight. The Airmen in this flight handle military and civilian pay as well as the Defense Travel System - they are the face of (30th Comptroller Squadron's) customer service."

The men and women of the financial services flight take their responsibilities very seriously and work diligently each day to not only provide quality customer service, but also rectify any pay issues that may arise.

"If your pay isn't right, you're thinking about that rather than our (Vandenberg's) mission," Major Watkins said.

Although the squadron is the first stop to ensuring Airmen are paid correctly, they are not the end of a system of checks and balances. In the event someone's pay isn't correct and the correction cannot happen locally, the 30th CPTS works closely with their counterparts at the Air Force Financial Services Center.

"I would consider it a true partnership between us, the military member and the Air Force Financial Services Center," Major Watkins said. "We are 100 percent committed to our customers; we are glad they are here. Nobody is going to care about their pay as much as they do."

Customer care is a driving force behind comptroller squadrons making huge efforts across the Air Force to create a more efficient way of managing military pay. However, any change of this magnitude might create some insecurity for those who are accustomed to the old way of doing business.

"We are making changes and we ask that people be patient as we work through those changes," said Senior Master Sgt. Alexia Brown, 30 CPTS superintendent.

The future of comptroller squadrons in the Air Force is much like those of military personnel flights. Airmen will have the capability to perform more actions online as opposed to physically going into an office, she said.

The hard work of the 30th Comptroller Squadron is no doubt a benefit to Team Vandenberg. However, the work performed by these Airmen, like many other Vandenberg professionals, has a global impact. On launch day, each unit has a part to play in the rocket igniting and carrying the payload to its destination. The men and women of the 30th Comptroller Squadron are integral to the process. Without their financial support, the rocket would never get off the ground and the payload would not reach its destination.