Ceremony inactivating last finance brigade heralds change in finance support structure
July 21, 2008
SCHWETZINGEN, Germany -- The 266th Finance Command, the last finance brigade in the active Army, inactivated here July 16.
For more than two decades, the command, based on Tompkins Barracks here, has supported U.S. Army Europe with financial and accounting services.
"We're making history," said Brig. Gen. Russell L Frutiger, USAREUR chief of staff. "Today marks the beginning of a new era in finance support."
Like last month's inactivation of USAREUR's 1st Personnel Command here, the casing of the 266th FINCOM colors underscores ongoing changes in Armywide service support.
That concept involves decentralizing finance operations into units Col. Curt A. Rauhut, commander of the 266th, termed "bridge systems." One of those is the new 266th Financial Management Center, an offspring of the 266th FINCOM. The 266th FMC will move to Kaiserslautern and become a staff element under the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.
"This transformation makes good on a new concept," said Command Sgt. Maj. James K. Ledbetter, senior enlisted leader of the 266th.
The units that made up the 266th FINCOM will also be reassigned, said Rauhut.
He explained that the 208th Finance Battalion officially became the 208th Financial Management Company when the company uncased its colors for the first time during the ceremony. That company will serve as part of Bamberg's 16th Sustainment Brigade, but remain on Spinelli Barracks in Mannheim.
The colonel also said the detachments that make up the 8th Finance Battalion, which also inactivated during the ceremony, will remain in the communities they currently serve under the banner of the 208th FMCO.
Ledbetter stressed that in spite of the changes, financial support in USAREUR will carry on with the same dedication the 266th has demonstrated for more than 20 years. "We will continue to embrace our core missions: cash management, budget control, and financial accountability," he said.
Rauhut bolstered that pledge with his own vow that the ongoing transformation of finance operations will not affect the quality of service to USAREUR Soldiers and units.
"Although we inactivate the (last finance brigade), the finance mission will continue," he said. "The transformation of the 266th to a staff element under the 21st Theater Sustainment Command has been ongoing for months and (has been) transparent to the Soldiers we support."
"In spite of the changes, we will continue to deliver the same high level of finance support."