National Guard finance detachment receives praise upon return from Iraq

Written by  //  November 3, 2011  //  Feature Stories

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2011) –The 1153rd Financial Management Detachment may be a small unit, but they received large amounts of praise upon their return home from Iraq today.

Soldiers from the Florida Army National Guard's 1153rd Financial Management Detachment greet family members after returning home from a year-long deployment to Iraq, during a ceremony at the Mark Lance Armory in St. Augustine, Nov. 3, 2011. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Twenty-five Soldiers from the St. Augustine-based unit returned home to the Mark Lance Armory, and were praised by their leaders during a morning ceremony before being reunited with their families.

“You’ve done a remarkable job in theater,” Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw said to the 1153rd Soldiers shortly after they stepped off the bus and marched into the armory. “You’ve exceeded the standard that was set; you outperformed the other eight finance detachments that were in theater.”

During the year-long deployment to Baghdad the unit handled a multitude of finance operations for U.S. Army forces in Iraq, including helping to resolve pay issues for other Soldiers serving under Operation New Dawn. According to Titshaw the unit had a 98.8 accuracy rate in all of their missions while supporting 35,000 Soldiers, contractors and civilians.

“Awesome job!” the adjutant general said.

Detachment Commander Capt. Charlton Matthews said he attributed much of the unit’s success to their family members who stayed behind and supported them from during the deployment, but if he could use “one word” to describe his unit it would be “Perseverance.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Enrique Mendez of the 50th Area Support Group – the 1153rd Detachment’s major command – noted that he also received praise about the Florida National Guard financial experts from those units they supported in Iraq.

“The work they did was absolutely superb,” he explained. “There are a tremendous amount of accolades coming from the brigade and corps level they supported.

“Every time the 153rd Finance goes ‘downrange’ we get tremendous accolades,” Mendez added. “I’m extremely proud of them.”