F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
Sept. 30 is closeout: the end of the fiscal year and the financial Super Bowl for Comptroller and Contracting Airmen. This year carried special significance for comptroller Airmen at F. E. Warren, as it not only capped off Fiscal Year 2021, but also the incredible 37-year career of Ms. Trudy Fralick, the Wing’s Chief of Budget. With the books now scrubbed and closed on the year’s $109 million budget, it was quite a sendoff. As significant as that sounds for Team Warren, closeout is still a confusing subject for many Airmen around the Wing.
When a lot of Airmen think of finance, they picture personnel computing paychecks and travel vouchers, social media debates over customer service hours and down days. Unbeknownst to them is the closeout process and how critical it is to the wing. In times of shrinking budgets and ever expanding requirements, the gap between what Airmen need and what units can afford only seems to grow. To close that gap, units follow a financial road map, identify the equipment and projects they need, and prepare unfunded requests that the finance office fights to fund during end of year. In fact, this is a primary avenue many bases use to fund cold weather gear, building repairs, office and dorm renovations, and computer refreshes. Sept. 30, 2021, the Airmen of the 90th Comptroller Squadron buckled down for the final push of the Fiscal Year.
The month of September and especially the final week of the fiscal year are intense for our Airmen. Major Commands identify money that bases cannot spend and redistribute it to wings that can “execute” that money immediately. Executing those funds means receiving the money from Command, loading it in the financial systems, working with resource advisors to input and certify purchase requests, and finally coordinating with Contracting and the vendors to contract the goods or services. This process routinely takes days to even months to do; however, during closeout, these funds need to be executed in a matter of minutes.
For Ms. Fralick’s team, Sept. 30 started off like most other days. Finance Airmen came into the office, hunted down food and caffeine, and dove into status of funds. One difference is that on this day, almost all of the money was spent. The team is on standby for funds to “drop,” or become available.. It is tense because if the money cannot be executed quickly, it will be pulled back and the wing could lose the opportunity to purchase needed items. By lunch, the CPTS office was packed with resource advisors from around the wing, logged in and ready with purchase requests to execute. It was a good thing, too, as this year did not disappoint. In the final days and hours of Fiscal Year 2021, team F. E. received $3.3 million dollars for unfunded requests. Between potluck lunches and dinners, Squadron Airmen were able to defend requirements and secure money for cold weather gear, tech refresh and fitness equipment for missile alert facilities. They bought down Munitions squadron safety items and IT equipment for the Communications Squadron. On the support side, they funded critical building and road repairs, fire alarm upgrades, dorm security initiatives and adventure park activities. Even as the seconds counted down to midnight, the team was hard at work trying to secure the very last items.
With Sept.30 and a $109M dollar year in the books, team F. E.’s comptrollers are dug in for Fiscal year 2022’s mission. Already, Ms. Fralick’s team is finalizing the financial roadmap that allowed us to have a successful year. Units will be spending money and the mission will move forward, out of view for most of the wing Airmen. When next September rolls around, she’ll be well into enjoying retirement and Mr. Angelo Gonzalez and the 90 CPTS team will continue her legacy, fighting to fund our Wing and our Airmen’s requirements.
Special Thanks to the 90 CPTS closeout team Ms. Trudy Fralick, Mr. Angelo Gonzalez, Capt. Tyler Ginger, Ms. Sharron Skinner, Ms. Sherry Duggan, Ms. Cheryl Lunt, Ms. Emily Dyer, Staff Sgt. Saiomy Santiago, Staff Sgt. Jason Urie and Senior Airman Tyler Bratton and Airmen 1st Class Brianna Aguilera and Kamila McLoughlin. Without your hard work and dedication, the wing would not have executed such a successful closeout.