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Financing the fight: 78th Comptroller Squadron makes payday possible

Airmen talking

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Senior Airman MaKaila Cooper, 78th Comptroller Squadron financial operations technician troubleshoots a problem for an Airman at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, July 20, 2021. The 78th CPTS provides a wide spectrum of financial services to individuals, commanders and fund managers, which includes dispersing military pay, entitlements and ensuring taxpayer dollars are accounted for and appropriately distributed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kisha Foster Johnson)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

When Airmen report for duty day-in and day-out at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, they expect to be compensated.

The mission of 78th Comptroller Squadron is to ensure that happens.

Two Airmen talking
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. - Master Sgt. Crystol Cotton, 78th Comptroller Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge Financial Operations reviews a report with Tech. Sgt. Cory Thompson, 78th CPTS Financial Operations supervisor, at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, July 14, 2021. The 78th CPTS provides a variety of financial services to individuals, commanders and fund managers, which includes dispersing military pay, entitlements and ensuring taxpayer dollars are accounted for and appropriately distributed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kisha Foster Johnson)
Two Airmen talking
Financing the fight: 78th Comptroller Squadron makes payday possible
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. - Master Sgt. Crystol Cotton, 78th Comptroller Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge Financial Operations reviews a report with Tech. Sgt. Cory Thompson, 78th CPTS Financial Operations supervisor, at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, July 14, 2021. The 78th CPTS provides a variety of financial services to individuals, commanders and fund managers, which includes dispersing military pay, entitlements and ensuring taxpayer dollars are accounted for and appropriately distributed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kisha Foster Johnson)
Photo By: KISHA JOHNSON MW167
VIRIN: 210720-F-MW167-1830
“Our job is very important,” said Master Sgt. Crystol Cotton, 78th CPTS noncommissioned officer in charge of financial operations. “If we don’t do our job, right an Airman may not get paid correctly or not paid at all. And that in turn could impact an Air Force mission because that person is thinking about their financial situation and not the mission at hand.”

Cotton said there is a misconception that all Air Force money matters fall under the 78th CPTS.

“Sometimes we get blamed for things we have no control over,” she said. “There are occasions where we have customers who are expecting more money in their paycheck and want to know why it isn’t there. Often times it is regarding re-enlistment bonuses, and that’s handled in the personnel office.”

However, concerns about entitlement pay are handled in Cotton’s section.

“Things such as hardship duty pay, eminent danger pay, family separation allowance, leave, stopping military deductions or starting housing allowance are situations we can help with,” Cotton added. “We are here to help, and we care about doing our job right.”

‘Financing the fight’, is the motto of the 78th CPTS, and the mission reaches far beyond Airmen’s paychecks.

Maj. Trevor Miller, 78th CPTS commander, said his unit ensures taxpayer dollars are accounted for and appropriately distributed.

Airmen at desk
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Maj. Trevor Miller, 78th Comptroller Squadron commander, prepares for an upcoming budget meeting with his staff at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, July 14, 2021. The 78th CPTS provides a variety of financial services to individuals, commanders and fund managers, which includes dispersing military pay, entitlements and ensuring taxpayer dollars are accounted for and appropriately distributed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kisha Foster Johnson)
Airmen at desk
Financing the fight: 78th Comptroller Squadron makes payday possible
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Maj. Trevor Miller, 78th Comptroller Squadron commander, prepares for an upcoming budget meeting with his staff at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, July 14, 2021. The 78th CPTS provides a variety of financial services to individuals, commanders and fund managers, which includes dispersing military pay, entitlements and ensuring taxpayer dollars are accounted for and appropriately distributed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kisha Foster Johnson)
Photo By: KISHA JOHNSON MW167
VIRIN: 210720-F-MW167-1831
“We certified $12.5 billion worth of funding last year in our office,” he said. “Whether it’s the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, 5th Combat Communications Squadron, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Team or 78th Air Base Wing every single thing they want to buy comes through our Accounting and Budget Division for review to make sure it is a proper use of funds.” 

The squadron consists of several divisions: Financial Services Flight, which handles military and civilian travel pay; Financial Analysis Operations Flight, which oversees the 78th ABW budget, encompassing spending plans and requirements the wings execute; the Financial Analysis Flight, which includes the accounting section that reviews all funding documents for proper usage and certifies available funding for all of Robins’ 54 mission partners.

Quality Assurance is responsible for independent quality control of the 78th CPTS financial operations. Non-Appropriated Funds Oversight ensures NAFs are distributed appropriately. NAFs monies come from sales of goods and services to the Department of Defense military and civilians and their family members, such from use of the base bowling alley or golf course. 78th Wing Staff Agencies Commander Support Staff: Provides HR support for the comptroller squadron and the wing staff agencies to support both military and civilian personnel

Miller said juggling facts, figures and an array of personalities is a mixed bag of fun and stress.

“I like problem solving and dealing with people,” he said. “And this is definitely a career field where you will deal with a lot of people and solve a lot of problems because a lot of problems come our way. But, at the end of the day, our job is to keep Robins up and running to help the Air Force.”