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Serviceman with local ties handles military finances

April 09, 2007|by Senior Airman Candace Romano

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq - For every T-barrier installed, aircraft taking off or printer toner cartridge replaced at Balad, a financial transaction goes unnoticed by most.

Tech. Sgt. Russ Martell, a 1989 graduate of Williamsport High School, is one of five airmen from the Kirtland (N.M.) Air Force Base finance office who is "paying the way" for the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. Martell's parents, Ronald and Betty Martell, live in Clear Spring.

While the finance office is best known for cashing checks and starting deployment entitlements, they also provide customer service, perform accounting transactions and fund mission requirements. The budget for fiscal year 2006 was more than $70 million, comptroller Maj. Bradley McDonald said.

The finance office facilitates the purchase of all mission-essential supplies, from toner cartridges to heart bypass machines, and helps with the budget for force protection.

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The finance office is financing combat airpower by taking care of servicemembers' finances and entitlements so they can support their families at home, and making sure they can finance combat airpower where it's needed.

"When we hear the planes take off, we know we've bought the fuel and equipment for them," Martell said. "You just tell us where to 'drop the dime.'"

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