167th Airlift Wing Airman Spotlight January 2024

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  • 167th Airlift Wing

Jade Zagarella is a Title 5 financial management technician for the 167th Comptroller Flight (CPTF) and the 167th Airman Spotlight for January 2024.

As a financial management technician, Zagarella, is responsible for ensuring the wing’s military members are paid accurately and timely, and she serves as a Defense Travel System approving official.  She also serves as a master sergeant with the 175th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard.

Zagarella’s supervisor, Jonathan McCullough, 167th AW Title 5 Financial Manager, said her contributions to the flight in the two years that she has been in the position are immeasurable.

“She is often tasked with the most complex pay issues that no one else had the expertise to resolve,” McCullough said. “Jade understands pay systems and has worked very closely with QA for process improvement.”

Zagarella is the 167th CPTF lead for the National Guard Bureau directive ‘Data Cleansing’. She spearheaded and led her co-workers to pay out over $450K worth of leave payouts dating back to 2009 and she oversaw BAH recertifications where she created a cache of documentation to streamline the process in the future.

“Jade Zagarella is irreplaceable in Finance and if she doesn’t know the answer, she will find it,” McCullough said. “As a new Finance Manager, I’m extremely fortunate to have Jade - you always want a Jade on your team.”

Hometown: Shepherdstown, WV

Job Title: Financial Management Technician

 How long have you served in the unit? I served in this unit for 6 years (2005-2011) in Supply within CES and then transferred to the 175th in Baltimore, MD (2012-present) in the Finance office.

My job here is important because: I hate to be another cliché, but as the slogan goes “no money no mission.” I’ve learned how much of an impact Finance really does have on any unit. Over the past 12 years, I’ve worked in almost all positions within finance (excluding Budget and the Comptroller positions) and the Finance office does keep most of the base working like a well-oiled machine. Currently I work in the military pay and travel pay sections which are the gate keepers for member’s pay operating smoothly and with minimal interruptions. Members depend on pay for daily living so our office really does “take care” of our airmen to the highest degree.

Civilian job: Financial Management Technician here at the 167h. I am a traditional guardsman in LRS at the 175th in Baltimore, MD

Education: Graduated from Jefferson High School, obtained my CCAF in Logistics Management and Financial Management. Plan on completing my bachelor’s degree at Shepherd University in the Spring.

Hobbies: anything outdoors, spending time with my doggos, swimming, puzzles, crafting, shooting pool, all card games (Uno is my fav), and laughing uncontrollably

Goals: Militarily my goal is to eventually become a Chief and give back to the airmen what I have been given and more.  I want to educate the future airmen not only on Finance related information since that is my passion, but also on life and career information. Along the way I lacked some guidance and was given some incredibly amazing guidance and I really want to be the latter for anyone I possibly can.  I’d like to spread the wealth of knowledge that I have been given over the past 18 years and help develop the future of the Air National Guard.

I am proudest of:  being a SNCO and a mentor. There are so many very important jobs in the military and none can be done independently without the of all collaboration of all components including the background jobs of just being dependable teammate and coworker. I’m extremely proud of my individual accomplishments; working for recruiting and retention at NGB, being nominated for various awards; promoting to MSgt etc, but nothing really gives me more pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment then to have your less seasoned and less experienced airmen be able to depend on you as a supervisor and teammate.

People may be surprised to know this about me: my brother and I enlisted at the 167th together June 5, 2005, and attended basic military training together in a brother/sister flight. I was a student at WVU at the time and enlisted solely because of him and his desire to join the military-I had zero desire to join the military but here I am 18 years later.

 The most exciting thing I've done in the military is: traveling! I haven’t been to as many places as others, but I’ve traveled to places I definitely wouldn’t have if the military hadn’t taken me (British Columiba, Italy, Hawaii, San Diego, Knoxville, Mississippi, Texas, Florida) and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities and the memories!

One/Some of the most valuable lessons I've learned throughout my career: Your career is what you make of it. During your career, you’ll have great leaders and not so great leaders but ultimately what you get out of your career is what you put into your career. This seems to be a very simple concept but as a young airman, I didn’t put as much effort or initiative into my career as I should have and therefore, I made the decision to ETS at the end of my first enlistment. I didn’t ask questions and make moves for personal and professional gain and was therefore stagnant in my career. 

 My advice to the newest Airmen in the Wing: Develop a plan for your future, establish a mentor, ask questions, get involved, be present don’t just go through the motions.

 The best thing about working with my team is: being a family. We work together, struggle together, celebrate together, commiserate together, support each other and succeed together. They truly are an incredible group of individuals who make up an ever more incredible family.