Air Station tops Corps’ credit records

28 Oct 2005 | Lance Cpl. Katina J. Johnson

Every Marine Corps command has a goal to have less than four percent of their government travel card accounts in a delinquent status.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort has reached that goal and exceeded it by maintaining a zero percent, 60-day delinquency status on all accounts for the past twenty-four months. Meanwhile, the Marine Corps’ average delinquency status over that period has been 9.74%.

“During the last two years every other command has stumbled (with the program) at least at some point,” said Maj. Michael R. Hodson, the Air Station Comptroller. “Beaufort has not; we’re the only command of our size in the Corps to go two straight years without a single delinquency.”

The government travel charge card program was designed by the Department of Defense to provide an effective way for travelers on official government business or orders to pay for expenses incident while traveling.

It also facilitates and standardizes use of the card by DoD travelers.

When a charge card is used, individuals have until the end of the billing cycle, which is the 26th of each month, to reconcile their bill.

“As soon as a billing cycle closes in EAGLS (Electronic Account Government Ledger System), a report is generated indicating all accounts that are past due,” said 1st Lt. Greg Grayson, the Air Station Agency Program Coordinator for government travel cards.

“Since no account has exceeded 60 days delinquent, all accounts that show up on the (Air Station) list are only 30 days past due. Our effort is to have all of these accounts paid in full by the next business  cycle to avoid a 60-day delinquency.”

When a card is reported as being 30 days delinquent, the travel Marines at the Air Station’s Disbursing Office work hard to make prompt payments to Marines so that they can focus more on the mission and not on the status of their travel card, according to Grayson.

Unfortunately, the system is not perfect and there will be times when a traveler might have a delinquent account because of orders that extend beyond 30 or 60 days, according to Hodson.

“That’s why it is so important for military members to use their card for purchases pertinent to travel only,” Hodson said. “Any other purchases are not only unauthorized and punishable by the UCMJ, but they can contribute a large balance to charge cards and cause them to become delinquent.”

To make sure government charge accounts aboard the Air Station are not delinquent, Grayson and Wanda St. Ann, the Air Stations alternate APC, monitors six reports from the EAGLS every month.

“(The Air Station) has an account activity report that shows all transactions for the last month,” Grayson said. “Wanda looks at the report to determine when and where charges were made and compares them to the date and locations of travel, as well as what items were purchased. This report helps to identify misuse of the GTCC (charge cards) and to identify delinquent cards.”

An important fact travelers should remember is that the government charge card is not an expense account, according to Hodson.

“It is a way of not making a member come out of the pocket to pay for things like lodging, gas and food when traveling on official government orders or business,” Hodson said. “Purchasing only items that are approved help keep users out of trouble and within budget.”

For more information about government travel cards, contact the Air Station’s Agency Program Coordinator at 228-6515.