13th Financial Management Support Center

Lt. Col. Ralph Crum, left, and Sgt. Maj. Janet Thomas case the colors for the 13th Financial Management Support Center as the unit inactivated Thursday at Fort Hood after more than 70 years of service.

FORT HOOD — After more than 70 years in existence, the 13th Financial Management Support Center, a subordinate of the 13th Sustainment Command, cased it colors Thursday during an inactivation ceremony at the Soldier Ministry Center.

“This is important. It’s important to have a ceremony like this to celebrate the end of a unit’s existence in active status,” said Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr., commander of the 13th Sustainment Command. “What’s going to happen, we never know. The colors are being cased and they’ll go back into the archives of the Army where they’ll wait for the next call.”

LeMasters described the ceremony as “bittersweet,” but he told the 42 soldiers in the company-sized unit to remember the “sweet part.”

“I’ve seen many units inactivate; I’ve seen many units activate,” he said. “What I want you to remember ... is the role each of you played in the history of this unit, no matter how long you served.”

Known as the “Phantom Paymasters” since its redesignation at Fort Hood, the unit was activated in 1942 at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., as the 13th Finance Section. In June 1993, the 13th Finance Group was reorganized and redesignated to Fort Hood. Since then, the unit performed a broad range of support missions including participating in Operation Sea Eagle in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Operation Vigilant Warrior in Saudi Arabia; Operation Joint Endeavor, Joint Forge; and Joint Guard in Bosnia and Germany.

Before its arrival at Fort Hood, the unit supported finance operations in World War II and Vietnam.

In 2008, the 13th Financial Group was reorganized and redesignated as the 13th Financial Management Center serving in the Global War on Terrorism.

The unit’s last tour was from September 2012 to June 2013 during which it served as the technical coordinator of all theater finance operations in the Middle East.

“Phantom Paymasters, you may be off the rolls, but you’re still a part of the Army,” LeMasters told the soldiers.

Lt. Col. Ralph Crum, director of the 13th Financial Management Support Center, said the gray skies and 30-degree temperatures were fitting for the ceremony.

“The weather cooperated,” he said. “I like to think that when you activate a unit, it should be warm and sunny.

“Today, when we inactivate, it’s a little gray and gloomy.”

Crum thanked the soldiers for their service and dedication to the 13th Financial Management Support Center.

“These colors are cased, but our history thrives, our legacy is here,” he said.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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