MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As personnel evacuated MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, to escape Hurricane Irma, 12 Airmen assigned to the 6th Comptroller Squadron elected to stay behind to process advances on travel vouchers for junior enlisted service members who had not received their government travel cards.
Between Sept. 8 and 9, 2017, nearly 3,000 on-base residents evacuated MacDill AFB due to weather projections forecasting that Hurricane Irma may directly impact the Tampa Bay area, which would be the first time since the 1921 Tampa Bay Hurricane.
“We were processing more than $140,000 in advances while the winds were picking up,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Duncan, the financial services flight commander assigned to the 6th CPTS.
While most MacDill service members made their final preparations prior to Irma making landfall, the 6th CPTS’ work proved to be far from over.
“We’ve been working extra-long days and nights while also working weekends, even before the storm passed through Tampa,” said Duncan.
Despite the longer hours and lack of free time, the 6th CPTS’ morale continues to remain strong.
“I think from the outside looking in, a lot of people might think we are stressed out or tired,” said Senior Airman Christopher Williams, the special actions team lead assigned to the 6th CPTS. “But in the finance career field, it is exciting to do something that we get to see an immediate impact on.”
This immediate impact will positively affect MacDill service members and their families, as well as demonstrate that developing and caring for Airmen and their families is a top priority.
“When we stay late or come in on weekends, we are all working on one thing and we get to see the progress, we see the end goal,” said Williams. “I think we have all come together and not noticed how tired we are because we are focused on the bounties of our work.”
To assist with the workload caused by Hurricane Irma, Airman 1st Class Bralen Vaulx, a financial services technician assigned to the 43rd Comptroller Flight at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, volunteered to perform a temporary duty assignment at MacDill AFB.
“So far, I’m enjoying the experience and meeting new people,” said Vaulx. “Generally, everyone attending the financial briefings are happy to be receiving some sort of money back.”
Vaulx added that some of the expenses travel vouchers cover are standard TDY entitlements, such as mileage, airfare, hotel cost, parking fees, toll fare and even a locality rate for smaller expenses like food and toiletries.
“Right now, we have about 1,500 travel vouchers being processed and we expect that number to be around 2,000 by the end of the week,” said Duncan.
Currently, the 6th CPTS cannot confirm when the entitlements will be dispersed, but they are actively working to ensure it happens as soon as possible.
“Every voucher is unique as was everyone’s evacuation situation and combined with the sheer volume of vouchers we have received, members should remain patient for their vouchers to payout,” said Duncan.
To receive entitlements, MacDill personnel must attend a finance briefing and fill out a travel voucher. Those who haven’t, can still attend Monday, Wednesday or Friday at building 147 starting at 1:00p.m.