Airmen have no excuse for GTC misuse. Published Feb. 21, 2008 By Airman 1st Class Patrick Cabellon 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., -- Searching for fallacies in the math, holes in the numbers and keeping financial paperwork in order is the purview of the 446th Airlift Wing's financial management office. They also keep tabs on how Reservists use their government travel cards and how accurately they file their travel vouchers. Both items seem to spawn a few problems for some Reservists. There have been instances of government travel card abuse by Airmen using it for their own personal interest and also failing to turn in their travel vouchers in a timely manner. Some past incidents of misuse included cash withdrawals from casinos and night clubs, according to Tania Otto, 446th Airlift Wing Financial Management, budget analyst. For those Reservists who don't know, the use of the GTC is severely limited. Airmen are allowed to use the GTC only when it pertains to their job while on temporary duty. If use of the GTC is found to be of a personal nature, it will not go unseen or unpunished. Personal use of the GTC can lead to getting the card revoked permanently, with no way to have it reissued, said Ms. Otto. Misuse can also lead to more serious military action against the Airman who misused the GTC. Often times, a lack of knowledge can lead to mistakes. "The most common errors (in use of the GTC) I notice are the younger Airmen not knowing what the per diem rate is for the duty station they are assigned," said Master Sgt. Patricia Martin, 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Support Flight superintendent. Per diem rate is a daily allowance for living expenses while on TDY. "I tell (the Airmen) 'Don't use the GTC unless it's for official government travel. If you can't be reimbursed for it, don't use it,' " said Senior Master Sgt. Mary Smith, 97th Airlift Squadron, chief of aviation resource management. Remember, the GTC program is constantly being monitored for any problems. "There are lots of different reports that the Air Force Auditing Agency conducts on the GTC," said Pamela Batayola, 446th FM, financial analysis officer. These reports will bring any misuse to light. Supervisors keep track of GTC use to make sure Airmen aren't abusing it and review Airmen's travel vouchers regularly. "I'll look over the travel voucher when the Airman does it for the first time to make sure there are no mistakes and that the voucher is filled out correctly," said Sergeant Martin. The travel voucher must be filled out accurately in order for accurate reimbursement to be made. Even if an Airman is on vacation, he or she must pay the government travel card bill in full and on time. "One reason why the GTC isn't being paid on time is since Reservists only work one weekend a month, there is a tendency to forget to bring in all relevant receipts. They will keep putting it off until 30 days roll by, then 60 days, then 90 days. That's when they get their card taken away," said Ms. Otto. A travel voucher should be filed within five business days of when the Airman gets back from TDY. If the Airman is going to be away from the local area following completion of TDY, the Airman can fax a voucher to his or her supervisor for submission. "Never submit your original claims," said Ms. Otto. "Keep it for your own sake." Originals should be kept for one's own personal records. If you are later required to produce a copy of a receipt from an earlier claim, you'll have the original. Receipts only need to be furnished for charges over $70. "Keeping track on a little notepad of every time you take out that card would really come in handy when filling out your travel voucher," said Mrs. Batayola. "When filling out the voucher, it is required that you use split disbursement," she said. Split disbursement automatically sends a portion of your voucher settlement to Bank of America for charges made on TDY. It's important to keep track of your expenses so you'll know just how much of your settlement to designate for split disbursement. Once that amount is determine, the remainder of your voucher settlement will be put in your personal bank account. Reviewing the "do's and don'ts" for using the card is important to cover when briefing new Airmen on the proper use of the GTC, said Sergeant Martin. Airmen can visit the Bank of America website at www.gov-eagls.bankofamerica.com/EAGLS/portal.do and log in to go over the regulations for use of the GTC. They can also to track any charges on the card and keep track of the balance.