MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
Our financial management and comptroller specialists manage the long list of financial responsibilities of the 167th Airlift Wing.
From paying Airmen to paying the bills, they are busy ensuring unit funds are being utilized responsibly and efficiently.
Typically, this means long hours in the office squinting at line items on a computer monitor.
Since July, however, the comptroller staff have been taking turns taking their skills on the road to serve as paying agents for the wing’s bi-weekly mission to Africa.
The 167th AW’s C-17 Globemaster III aircraft routinely deliver equipment and supplies to Nigerian Air Base 101 in Niamey, Niger.
All flights into the air base are coordinated through the local commercial airport which provides services for the aircraft such as parking or fuel.
Payment for those services are arranged by the paying agent when standard payment methods are not accepted, or on the occasion they fly into another airfield in the region.
Maj. James Domenico, the comptroller flight commander, said his staff jumped at the opportunity to travel with these missions on a regular basis.
“We love doing this. We had the entire year scheduled within a few days,” Domenico said.
As paying agents on these missions, they join a team of pilots, loadmasters, mechanics and security forces.
Senior Master Sgt. Donna Sliger, the comptroller flight superintendent, said that in the 21 years she has worked in 167th AW’s finance office she could only recall a few times, prior to this current mission, that a paying agent from the comptroller flight was required.
Sliger has supported four of the recent missions into Africa and said the comptroller flight’s participation helps them understand some of the things the aircrews encounter.
“On one mission, we spent 23 hours in the aircraft and then 13 hours on the ground before getting back in the air. We’ve flown through multiple time zones in one day. Being part of that helps us make sense of the travel vouchers we see. It gives us new perspective,” Sliger said.
Niger, a counter-terrorism partner for the United States, is surrounded by countries with terrorist strongholds. U.S. forces operating in Niger work within the U.S. Africa Command, formed in 2007, to neutralize transnational threats and build African partner defense capability.