Morgan Denny '70 - ROTC
I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, United States Army, Finance Corps from the Alfred University ROTC program in the first week of May 1970 on the grassy field next to the ROTC building. This was the year of the Kent State University shootings and much unrest in the United States because of the Viet Nam war. At Alfred there were student demonstrations and a threat of burning the ROTC building which quite frankly would not have bothered most of us that had classes in the building.
After graduation and a summer working at home, I went on active duty in November 1970 and attended the Finance Corps basic and other courses at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. IN. At that time we were told we would have a one year stateside tour and would then be shipped to Viet Nam. My first duty assignment was at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. This turned out to be a great first assignment as I became the project officer for converting the BAMC pay records to a centralized pay system out of the United States Army Finance and Accounting Center (USAFAC) located at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN. The conversion required delivering several boxes of “punched cards” in 500 card increments to establish the pay accounts in the central computer.
The required training and establishing the pay accounts was quite a task given the fluidity of Army medical corps students and patients from Viet Nam. During this assignment the Viet Nam war started to phase down and American Prisoners Of War (POWs) were released and many returned to BAMC. I and a Sergeant from USAFAC were able to interview each of the returning POWs to inform them of their pay entitlements and status upon their return. Needless to say that was a very interesting time!
In the summer of 1973 I was diverted from Korea orders and ended up in Washington, DC and eventually Ft. Meade MD., in a top secret assignment serving soldiers worldwide. By this time I was a Captain and the assignment was quite high level with a lot of responsibility. During this time I got married (Lyn Hauprich Denny AU ’73 School of Nursing) and obtained a master’s Degree in Public Administration and Budgeting from George Washington University.
In January 1977 we went back to Ft. Benjamin Harrison for the six month Captain’s Career Course and then an assignment to Goppingen Germany with the 1st Infantry Division Forward as the Budget Officer. This was another superb three year assignment with great exposure to Army tactical operations during a period of severe budget restrictions.
Next in May 1980 we (now wife and two sons) returned to USAFAC, Indianapolis, IN for an assignment as a project officer to place mini computers in Army finance offices worldwide for pay input to the centralized computer system. Again a high level job to test and establish all software, regulations, training, and security for this new system.
In 1983-84, now a Major, we spent a year in study at the Army’s Command and General Staff College and welcomed the birth of our third son.
We were quite amazed to return to Ft. Ben Harrison, this time to the Army Finance School. This assignment was very rewarding as I became the project officer for the activation of the Army Finance Corps regiment on May 6, 1987 and was the first Director of the Doctrine and Proponency Department. During this period we established finance units, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel Command positions, and the doctrine to be used in wartime.
As one of the few Finance Corps officers with a top secret clearance and now a Lieutenant Colonel, my next assignment was to the Pentagon with a newly formed organization resulting after the LTC Oliver North arms sales incident. This was another high level position as we worked for the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and conducted many high level meetings to solve challenges at all levels of the Army.
Fortunately, after two years in the Pentagon I was selected for command and we moved to Ft. Benning, GA where I became the installation Finance and Accounting Officer (F&AO) and the Commander of the 215th Finance Support Unit. This Command was part of what we established when I was at the Finance School. This was a two year assignment and one that I really relished. The F&AO with approximately 200 civilian employees plus my unit’s soldiers was identified as the best of the installations in the Training and Doctrine Command. Starting my second year in 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and my unit was activated for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. We were the first Finance Unit to completely deploy. It was indeed gratifying that what we had envisioned with units and doctrine at the Finance School became a reality and worked during this wartime period. Ultimately, I ended up with the “distinction” of being the longest serving Finance Corps officer in the theater of operations as I arrived in Saudi Arabia in September 1990 and did not come home until June 1991.
After return to Ft. Benning and change of command we relocated to Carlisle Barracks, PA for the “best year of our lives” as a student at the Army War College. It was truly amazing to see the caliber of officers in attendance knowing that many would make General officer and ultimately leaders of the Army. I did come out for early promotion to Colonel and after graduation we moved back to Northern Virginia. I spent almost 5 years as the Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer for the Army National Guard in the Pentagon. This was another great and stressful assignment as we helped make future decisions on the equipment and force structure of the Army National Guard. This was the culmination of my military career as I retired with over 26 years of service.
A long story and career that started within Alfred University and the ROTC Department. I did not envision a career within the Army but I was significantly challenged with rewarding assignments and came to love serving alongside many great soldiers. What I learned growing up at Alfred University was not just the classwork but how to get along with people and ultimately leadership skills. I am proud of my military service that grew out of being a cadet within the Alfred University ROTC Department.