In 1816, the pay department became a separate department. Paymasters, usually the rank of a Major, had the principal duty of paying soldiers in the regiments. The Paymaster of the Army Headquarters completed monthly payrolls in his office and went to the field with a box of gold and a military guard. Obviously, payday was not the last day of the month at every site, but one a routine was established, soldiers could expect payday to fall on approximately the same day each pay period. The pay department remained unchanged until 1912 when it joined with the Quartermasters Corps.
In World War I, the Quartermasters Corps expanded to such a degree that it had a difficult time in controlling disbursements and logistical activities. In October 1918, Congress the Finance Service and 2 years later, it approved the Finance Department as a separate branch of the War Department. Unlike its predecessors, the Finance Department not only handled the military payroll and travel expenses, but all financial activities of the War Department, including central disbursing, auditing and budgeting. In 1933, under President Franklin Roosevelt, the Finance Department assumed the obligation of paying the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The Finance Department remained a separate entity until World War II, when it joined the Office of the Fiscal Director, Army Services Forces. Following assignment, it took on additional responsibilities such as the Sale of War Bonds and the National Service Life Insurance promotions. The Office of Fiscal Director was dissolved after the War and the Finance Department again became an independent Army staff agency. The Army Organizational Act of 1950 redesignated the Finance Department as the Finance Corps. A basic branch of the Army.
The roots of the 15th Finance Battalion can be traced back to 15 March 1971, when its predecessor, the 15th Finance Company was constituted in the Regular Army, assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division and activated at Fort Hood, Texas. On 16 March 1982, the 15th Finance Company was relieved from the 1st Cavalry Division, assigned to the 13th Finance Group, Fort Hood, Texas. On 07 April 1983, the unit was reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. This assignment was in support of the then current Divisional objectives.
As a continuation of the Divisional 1986 objectives, on 16 April 1987, the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 15th Finance Support Unit.
On 07 August 1990, a deployment order for the Southwest Asia operations was issued. The order called for the division to be attached to the XVIII Airborne Corps to reinforce Saudi Arabia and organize for combat operations. Plans calling for the division to deploy by 15 September extended the work day to 14, 16 and in some cases 24 hours. On schedule, by mid September over 800 heavy loaded vehicles were loaded at the Fort Hood railhead to make the trip to the seaports of Houston and Beaumont. An additional 4,200 vehicles formed road conveys that left every two hours, around the clock.
On 16 September, an Air Force C5A Galaxy, carrying the advanced headquarters staff, left Fort Hood Robert Gray Army Airfield. The 15th Finance Support Unit accompanied the Division and served proudly in the Persian Gulf War, helping the 1st Cavalry Division and other coalition forces crush the Iraqi Army. The Unit then redeployed to Fort Hood with the "First Team" in April 1991.
Upon return of the 15th Finance Support Unit, on 16 October 1992, the 15th Finance Support Unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 15th Finance Battalion. Administrative progress is an important element of history of the 15th Finance Battalion.
Under the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, they are building automated systems to enhance finance support in the future, both garrisoned and in the field. The U.S. Army Finance School will continue to train the highest quality soldiers in the Army which will enable the provision of the best financial support possible for soldiers, families and the civilians who work in the Department of Defense. Wherever they may be, soldiers of the 15th Finance Battalion work together to carry out the motto "Swift Support, First to Pay".
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Revised 05 Feb '12 SpellChecked