Subscribe

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Shortly after graduating from boot camp in 1989, Duane Adams discovered that bad news sometimes comes wrapped in a miniskirt.

While exploring San Diego, Adams was approached by two beautiful girls who talked him into purchasing a lifetime supply of camera film.

Adams had been scammed.

Years later, Adams was shocked to discover his lifetime of film had morphed into a $5,000 debt that prevented him from getting a loan.

“We didn’t have command financial specialists back then,” he said.

Adams, now a petty officer first class, doesn’t want to see any of the 85 sailors working for him make the same mistakes he made.

As a recent graduate of the Navy’s Command Financial Specialist program, Adams feels he is better prepared to help his sailors address concerns before they become problems.

Last year, the Navy mandated financial education, training and counseling for all its servicemembers to prevent personnel finance problems from detracting from overall mission readiness.

Each command is instructed to maintain a ratio of one CFS for every 75 members assigned.

The weeklong CFS course trains sailors to educate and counsel others about such topics as credit cards, identify theft and investing and saving.

“About 61 percent of Americans carry a monthly credit card balance from month to month,” Collin Schriver, an accredited financial counselor at Yokosuka’s Fleet and Family Support Center, said to a recent CFS class.

All too often, they find they have “too much month at the end of the paycheck,” Schriver said.

CFSs are taught how to be the first line of defense when a servicemember encounters financial difficulties and how to conduct regular training sessions to prevent issues in the first place.

Participants learn how to create a comprehensive “family spending plan to assess a client’s current fiscal situation,” FFSC certified financial planner Alisa Gray said.

CFSs can help clients prioritize their needs and explore options to get back on the road to financial independence, Gray said.

USS Kitty Hawk’s Lt. Randy Broussard said he attended the course to gain a better understanding of the financial issues that sailors face every day.

“It’s been a real eye-opener,” Broussard said.

Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan-based Petty Officer 1st Class Kenya McKee said the CFS program is one of the best courses she has taken during her 13 years in the Navy.

“It covered so much useful information,” McKee said. “I wish I had attended something like this years ago.”

For more information on the CFS program, contact the FFSC at www.nffsp.org.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now