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5th FDS - by Owen Pickle

646, 01 Jan 1999

ISSUE 23 - Winter 1999 - Return to Index

Remembering the 5th Finance Disbursing Section
By Owen Pickle

In 1960 I was assigned to the 5th FDS at Coleman Barracks near Mannheim, Germany. I was expecting to join a normal FDS. It was much more. It had a Finance and Accounting mission with two lieutenants, 57 enlisted personnel (but only one NCO), one Department of the Army Civilian and more than 70 foreign employees (mostly German). The two lieutenants and the NCO left shortly after my arrival. This FDS was assigned to the Ordnance Industrial Center (ORDIC), Europe. The majority of work was for ORDIC and the U.S. Army Transportation Depot, Sandhofen (USATDS). ORDIC had two Government Owned -- Government Operated and two Government Owned -- Contractor Operated plants. USATDS did Fifth Echelon Maintenance in their shops and had Time and Materiel Contracts for overhaul of aircraft in Belgium, Holland, France and Switzerland. Miscellaneous activities included payment responsibility for Grant Aid based on data received from the U.S. Air Force in France, which had the supply responsibility.

On many occasions help was needed and received from the ORDIC Comptroller, Major Henck C. Newell, and a former Finance Officer who had transferred to the Ordnance Corps. He was helpful in getting some urgently Dept. of the Army (DAC) personnel spaces and later textbooks from the Finance School for classroom instruction of German personnel.

There was considerable concern about accounting problems and the need for a Job Order Cost System and then in comes a Finance Corps Captain Robert P. Radomski who had been in Accounting and the Model Office at the Finance School. He started right to work in accounting and was finding problems which required meetings and determinations for corrective actions, and how to merge the accounting systems into overall the Army Command Management System. The Germans had developed separate systems, one for ORDIC, one for USATDS and one for "Other." What did not fall into one of the three systems was placed in what the called "the workbook." After getting the Accounting Division in line with ACMS, he started work on a Job Order Cost System which also required meetings and discussions. In one meeting with a commander and his staff, one item discussed was steel. There were 14 types under one code: CO2 (angle iron, band, rods, etc.). Later in this meeting someone interrupted with "Wait a minute -- wait a minute -- that CO2, it should have been by the gallon all the time!").

In summary, Captain Bob Radomski did a commendable job in the Accounting Division but his most outstanding action was the development of the Job Order Cost System in 1962. In 1977 I was told (by a reliable source) that his system was still in use and did not have the first change. (Ed: Knowing Bob Radomski none of this account surprises me a bit!)

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