Fort Riley, Kansas



Finance Soldiers return home to cheers, proposal

By Sgt. 1st Class Manuel Torres-Cortes | 1stSustainmentBDE | December 21, 2012

Family, friends and fellow Soldiers with the 1st Sustainment Brigade rear detachment, 1st Infantry Division yelled in excitement as Soldiers passed through the doors of the Fort Riley Redeployment Center Dec. 4, falling in ranks for their final formation of the deployment.

Soldiers with Company C., 230th Financial Management Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sust. Bde., returned to Fort Riley shortly after midnight Dec. 4, following a yearlong deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Our team was incredibly strong," said 1st Lt. Ashley Coutant, executive officer, Co. C, 230 Financial Management Co. "Our team supported the higher echelons in Kandahar, (Afghanistan), to backfill positions that are of critical importance to a finance office, including a disbursing agent and deputy disbursing officer position."

As a finance company, Co. C's mission was to provide financial support to all Soldiers, Department of the Army and Defense civilians and contractors in the form of cash disbursements, handling of pay issues and Eagle Cash Card management.

"It was a challenging experience, where I learned and grew a lot," said Cpl. Jeremy Yee, customer service noncommissioned officer in charge, Co. C, 230th Financial Management Co. "Customer service is a very hard and challenging area. There are so many varieties of cases that can happen, so we are constantly learning."

With the constant change in mission and direction, the finance company supported various missions throughout the deployment. At the same time, the company's Soldiers managed to continue to progress themselves professionally in their career.

"Our team handled the various hurdles that came our way very well," Coutant said. "We were well trained, with over half the detachment on at least a second combat tour as finance. Many of the Soldiers received promotions throughout this deployment."

The company handled three cash-holding sites in Afghanistan. They served more than 8,000 Soldiers and civilians with pay-related issues, and handled more than $2 million at each individual site.

"We feel ready to contribute to the garrison mission and are willing to lend our expertise to the units on Fort Riley that may need help with finance related issues," Coutant said. Shortly after Family and friends greeted the Soldiers who just returned from deployment, Yee wanted to express his gratitude a different way.

"Ladies and gentleman, may I have your attention please," Yee said, as he yelled through the crowd of hugs and embraces and began to place his knee on the floor in front of his girlfriend. "I want to take this opportunity to just say how much I appreciate my girlfriend, April, for helping me through this deployment and my life. I want to show her how much I love her and appreciate her (and) to ask her if she would want to spend the rest of her life with me."

"Yes, yes I will," said April Smith, Yee's long-time girlfriend. "I love you."

As that moment ended, everyone congratulated the couple and their Family for their accomplishment and their next phase in their relationship.

"You don't know how hard it was to keep that a secret," Coutant said. "I'm so happy for them.

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