History of the Army Finance Corps: 16 Cool Facts

No matter what your employment is, whether you are a janitor, a secretary or a private in the United States Army, you and your family rely on the paycheck that feeds and supports your lifestyle. It is the Army Finance Corps who makes sure you receive that paycheck if you are a member of the regular Army, the Army National Guard or the Army Reserves.

In today’s post, we are going to take a look at 16 cool facts about the history of the Army Finance Corps. The Army Finance Corps are the ones who make sure Army personnel are paid, and also are responsible for many other aspects in regards to financial subjects within the United States Army.

1: Smallest

The Army Finance Corps is the smallest branch in the United States Army. But, even though they are the smallest, they carry a large load of responsibility.

2: The Beginning

Before the United States gained independence, the Army Finance Corps had its origins. In June of 1775, the 2nd Continental Congress appointed a Paymaster General of the Army. This person integrated key personnel to make sure soldiers were payed for their services.

3: The First Paymaster General of the Army

The first Paymaster General of the Continental Army was James Warren. James was a member of the Sons of Liberty, he fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. He worked closely with General George Washington.

4: 1816

In 1816, the Pay Department became a separate department to control the dispersion of soldier’s payrolls. The Paymaster at Army Headquarters would compute monthly payrolls, and he would then leave with a guard and a lock box of gold to pay the soldiers in the field.

5: 1912

In 1912, the system was changed. The Pay Department became attached to the Quartermaster Corps. World War I proved that this system was not good. The Quartermaster Corps could not keep up with all the responsibilities it was given with the Pay Department joining the ranks. Pay was late or not at all. So in 1918, Congress authorized the Finance Service.

6: 1920

Because of the many problems of payroll during World War I, the Finance Service became a separate branch within the War Department. The Commander was Brigadier General Herbert Lord.

7: More Than Just Payroll

Before 1920, only payroll was handled by the Pay Department. When the Finance Service was instituted, it also took on many more responsibilities. With payroll still a duty, they also handled travel expenses, budgeting for the War Department, auditing and dispersing. During World War II, the Finance Service also handled the sales of War Bonds and Life Insurance for service personnel.

8: Army Organization Act of 1950

In 1950, the Army Organization Act re-designated the Finance Service as a basic branch of the Army and became the Finance Corps. They kept many of the same responsibilities along with more being added.

9: Fort Benjamin Harrison

For many years, the Army Finance Corps were headquartered at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana.

10: Move

In 1994, Fort Benjamin Harrison was closed. The Army Finance Corps was moved to Fort Jackson, South Carolina and is located there to this day.

11: Finance Units

The Army Finance Corps has units spread all over. They are used in the areas they are assigned to for payroll, budgeting and any other financial aspects of the United States Army. You can view the various finance units, including National Guard and Reserve Finance units at this link.

12: Association

The Army Finance Corps has an association that offers many benefits and assistance to past and present members of the U.S. Army Finance Corps. To become a member, you can visit U.S. Army Finance Corps Association.

13: Desert Storm

Soldiers first as they say. If you visit the Finance Corps Museum, you can view the anti-aircraft machine gun that was captured during Desert Storm. It wasn’t captured by infantry forces, it was captured by the 7th Finance Group.

14: Iraq

The Army Finance Corps were in Iraq until the very last personnel were pulled out. The Finance Corps were key in the reconstruction of Iraq giving the civilians a solid structure to work with so their lives could go back to a somewhat normal, if not better system.

15: Commander

The current Commander of the Army Finance Corps is Colonel Jeffrey Powell. Colonel Powell is from Maine and has served in a variety of leadership positions within the U.S. Army. He also has many awards including:

  • The Legion of Merit

  • A Bronze Star

  • The Defense Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster

  • The Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters

  • The Joint Service Commendation Medal

  • The Army Commendation Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster

  • And many more

16: The Future

It seems that plans are in place that military pay will not be a responsibility of the Finance Corps starting sometime in 2016. The Army is going to use the Integrated Personnel Pay System that will be all automated.

The Finance Corps will still have their hands full with maintaining budgets, audits and other financial duties. Hopefully the new system for military pay will work as well, or better, but only time will tell.

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts about the Finance Corps? I would love to hear from past or present members of the Finance Corps. Do you believe the new military pay system will work properly?

Please post your comments or questions below. Thank you for visiting, and thank you Finance Corps for the jobs you do.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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