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Silver Eagles test new cash system aboard Truman

18 Jun 2004 | Lance Cpl. Justin V. Eckersley Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

In an effort to solve the logistics problems of having paper money on the USS Harry S. Truman during their current deploymen, the Marines of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 are testing a new cash system.

The Silver Eagles will be the first squadron in the Marine Corps to use the new system, which will replace cash with smart cards. The Navy and Marine Cash program eliminates the need for paper money aboard ship, which caused a logistics nightmare previously, according to Cpl. Matthew A. Taylor, disbursing clerk, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115.

Automated Teller Machines would cause problems frequently, according to Staff Sgt. Bryan K. Crawford, admin chief, VMFA-115. The paper used by the machines to issue receipts would run out early on deployments, and constantly refilling them was difficult.

“Every time one of those ATMs ran out of money, you had to have a whole group of armed guards come by to guard it while it was being refilled,” Crawford said. “The ATMs just caused more problems and were high maintenance.”

The new cash cards are simple and efficient, according to Taylor. They only contain as much money as a servicemember needs, change is never a problem, and they are the size of a credit card.

When a Marine or Sailor signs up for the cash card, a new account is opened for them. After putting money into the account, they can use a K-80 machine, which looks and operates similarly to an ATM, to put money from that account onto the smart chip on the card.

The chip is used on ship to purchase items from the ship stores or snack and soda machines. Without a cash card, it is impossible to pay for anything on ship. The chip only works on Navy ships, according to Taylor.

“It’s a lot easier on the disbursing side of the house,” Crawford said. “Before, they had to deal with counting the money, sorting the money, storing the money. With the cash card, all of that goes away.”