Table of Contents
· TAG's Message
· Family Appreciation Day
· Wing Welcomes Back Airmen
· 50th Opens Bank
· Mobilization Page
· Acting Governor Salutes Troops
· Saluting the Troops
· Class 48 Wins No-Bell Prize
· Town Holds Parade for Soldiers
· A Word from the Chief
· 108th Participates in Exercise
· Four Changes of Command
· Short Rounds
· GSAB & DSAB Deploy
· Army & Air Enlisted Promotions
· Last Round: Somewhere over Iraq
· Family Assistance Centers & Family Readiness Centers
· Guardlife Homepage

Guardlife - Volume 30, No. 3

50th Finance Opens New Bank in Iraq

By Capt. Aaron Seas, Diamond Points, photo courtesy Maj. Angelo Capolupo, 50FB

Click to EnlargeWhat holds $400 million, is located in Iraq, and just celebrated its Grand Opening ceremony on Sept. 15?

It’s the Central Funding Facility operated by the 50th Finance Battalion - the only dedicated Central Funding facility in Iraq. It ensures fund support to soldiers for check cashing operations and casual payments. Contracting support is greatly enhanced through this mission with funds being received by vendors very quickly. Overall, Central Funding supports the strategic goals to reconstruct Iraq.

Central Funding, which was originally located in Kuwait, was conceived by Col. Maurenia Wade, Commander, 336th Finance Command (FIN-COM), to reduce costs
and resources needed to provide finance support in Iraq. With the office based in Iraq, units can be served more effectively using less time, money, and resources. “In Kuwait, it was logistically burdensome,” observed Maj. Angelo Capolupo, Commander, 50th Finance Battalion. “Here we’re at a logistical hub.”

Maj. Gen. Paul Mock, Commanding General, 377th Theater Support Command, Col. Wade and Maj. Capolupo spoke at the ceremony. Distinguished visitors included Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, Chief, National Guard Bureau.

Col. Wade explained what happened: “ From the onset, FINCOM was faced with logistical problems of moving soldiers, money, and paperwork over great distances. When I met with these folks from the 50th, learned of their skills, as
CPAs, bankers, and accountants, I immediately knew they could do the job and selected them for the mission. The fit was tailormade.” Col. Wade’s decision transformed the 50th into a forward element of the 336th. She also moved the
Central Funding’s physical presence from Kuwait to Iraq.

Maj. Capolupo commented that his unit arrived in Iraq with not much more than a mission and a group of very motivated and educated Soldiers. “The greatest challenge,” said Maj. Capolupo, “was locating a building to house the money and troops. I never had any concerns about our Soldiers’ ability to get the job done.”

The 50th's Command Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Kraemer spearheaded the renovation of the rundown Iraqi office building. “ At first, there were more than 300 building-related items that needed to be fixed, modified, or built,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kraemer. “I delegated these tasks to both contractors and our soldiers. After nearly five months of working seven days a week, dealing with contractor turnover,
continual mortar-related interruptions, and 140 degree heat, the building was ready to move into.” Several of the New Jersey Guardsmen put their civilian-acquired
building skills to use modifying the building and transforming a room into a state-of-the art, 750 square foot vault.

Sgt. 1st Class Berto Diaz, Vault NCOIC, said “We’re located in the most centralized place for the finance battalions we serve. Our location makes it easier for them to
get here, plus the fact that they can fly here makes it safer.”

Despite being on the front lines and receiving fire, 1st Sgt. Vivian Byrd is proud of her Soldiers. “It would be enough if they did this in a peaceful environment. But under constant fire, it’s really impressive. I’m very proud of the job they’re doing.”