Financial managment begins at Keesler

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stephan Coleman
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
As a training base, Keesler is the birthplace of many Air Force careers. The 335th Training Squadron instructs the beginnings of financial operations to Airman fresh from basic military training in a 51-day course.

The course is broken into 10 blocks. Blocks 1-5 are dedicated to accounting and budgeting and Blocks 6-10 are focused on military and travel pay.

"The hardest part of navigating the course is that you don't choose your students," said Staff Sgt. Kimber Anson, 335th TRS financial instructor. "Group dynamics can be strenuous when trying to get students to maintain focus on the material."

The course covers a lot of information in a short amount of time, but the most challenging part also doubles as the most enjoyable, said Anson.

"The different personalities of the people that take the course changes each time," she said. "Getting to meet people and talk about what I love all day is really rewarding."

Small groups of students are taught to maintain accounting records, commercial services, and review costs and military pay of an operational base in the span of roughly 13 weeks. Students say the density of the workload is balanced by the student-to-instructor ratio.

"It's easier than a college course because of the one-on-one time we get with the instructors," said Airman First Class Brandi Graves, 335th TRS student. "The hands-on work and the availability of instructors gets the information across better than a lecture from a college professor."

Although the course is consolidated and leaves little room for error, it provides students with the stepping stones toward a degree in financial management. The information they learn is vital to any finance job, in the Air Force or otherwise.

"The truly challenging part is the language," said Senior Airman Talaya Scott, 335th TRS student. "The lingo of finance is unique and failing one test could easily mean the end."
After completing the course, students travel to their first duty station to work and learn in a specific niche of the finance career field. What they learn at Keesler travels with them and affects the Air Force everywhere.

"I really like finance, because we touch everything," said Graves. "We run the base; no money, no mission."