In addition to celebrating the U.S. Army’s 238th birthday on June 14, today we blow out the candles for four Army branches. Check out the blog below to learn more about the Adjutant General Corps, the Finance Corps, the Quartermaster Corps and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Adjutant General’s Corps dates back to the formation of the American Army. Horatio Gates, a former British Army officer, is honored as the father of the Adjutant General’s Corps. On June 16, 1775, the Continental Congress appointed him as the first Adjutant General to George Washington with the commission of a brigadier general. Historically, he was the second officer to receive a commission in the Continental Army, preceded only by George Washington. With that appointment, the second oldest existing branch of the Army was born.
During World War II, more than 15,000 officers, soldiers, and civilians served in the Office of the Adjutant General. By the end of the war, the Adjutant General’s Corps processed more than six million soldiers back into civilian life. In what has been described as one of the most successful administrative tasks ever carried out, the AG Corps processed nearly one-half million discharges a month in accomplishing this difficult mission.
Since World War II, the Adjutant General’s Corps has been combat tested on several far-flung battlefields such as Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and, most recently, in the Persian Gulf War (Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm). AG soldiers mobilized 139,207 reserve component soldiers (equating to 1,045 Reserve and National Guard units of all types), recalled 1,386 retirees to active duty, deployed 1,600 Army civilians to Southwest Asia, processed over 10,000 individual and unit replacements, and delivered more than 27,000 tons of mail to deployed Army forces.
The United States Army Finance Corps is a combat service support (CSS) branch of the United States Army. The Finance Corps is the successor to the old Pay Department, which was created in June 1775. The Finance Department was created by law on 1 July 1920. It became the Finance Corps in 1950. It is responsible for financial operations, most notably payroll and contracting. It is the smallest branch of the Army.
The Finance Corps assist Combat Soldiers and Commanders in the field with timely and accurate finance and accounting support. This support includes how Soldiers get paid, the preparation and payment of travel, transportation and commercial vendor vouchers, and accounting for the obligation and disbursement of public funds. In addition to providing financial services for fellow Soldiers, the Finance Corps play an important role in supporting logistical, medical and supply requirements during tactical missions.
The Quartermaster Corps is the U.S. Army’s oldest logistics branch, established 16 June 1775. On that date the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution providing for “one Quartermaster General of the grand army and a deputy, under him, for the separate army.” From 1775 to 1912 this organization was known as the Quartermaster Department. In 1912, Congress consolidated the former Subsistence, Pay, and Quartermaster Departments to create the Quartermaster Corps. Quartermaster units and soldiers have served in every U.S. military operation from the Revolutionary War to current operations in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).
The function of the Quartermaster Corps is to provide the following support to the Army: general supply (except for ammunition and medical supplies); Mortuary Affairs (formerly graves registration); subsistence (food service); petroleum & water; field services and material and distribution management
George Washington appointed the first engineer officers of the Army on June 16, 1775, during the American Revolution, and engineers have served in combat in all subsequent American wars. The Army established the Corps of Engineers as a separate, permanent branch on March 16, 1802, and gave the engineers responsibility for founding and operating the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Since then the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has responded to changing defense requirements and played an integral part in the development of the country. Throughout the 19th century, the Corps built coastal fortifications, surveyed roads and canals, eliminated navigational hazards, explored and mapped the Western frontier, and constructed buildings and monuments in the Nation’s capital.
As in its earliest days, the Corps of Engineers still thinks of itself as an organization ready to help build the nation’s infrastructure. However, today “infrastructure” means something more than just internal improvements and transportation systems. Although maintaining the nation’s public works remains an imperative, today environmental issues are the chief public works challenges.