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Missions & Functions

QUARTERMASTER MISSIONS – The Quartermaster Department was established two days after the Congress authorized the creation of the Continental Army in 1776. Since that date, the missions of the quartermaster soldier have continuously expanded and contracted. Described below is a brief history of how the missions and functions of the Army Quartermaster have evolved.

Mission & Functions by Period

Revolutionary War1812-1842186219121917-1918192019241942195019621981Present Day
  • Supply of general encampment supplies (tents, lumber etc) Transportation
  • Construction of shelters for winter encampments
  • Forage for animals
  • During this period the Quartermaster Department shared duties with the Commissary General of Purchases in the following areas – “procurement and providing of arms, clothing, military stores and generally all articles of supply requisite for the military Service of the United States.
  • In 1842 after the abolishment of the Commissary General of Purchases, the Quartermaster Department becomes responsible for the procuring and distribution of all supplies and equipment except subsistence (food).
  • Maintenance of National Cemeteries and burial of the dead
  • Establishment of the Quartermaster Corps and assumption of duties of paymaster and procurement and distribution of subsistence.
  • The Quartermaster Corps’ responsibility for transportation, procurement, and construction is temporarily suspended due to the rapid mobilization and expansion of the Army.
  • Graves Registration Service established
  • Laundry and bath services assigned to the Quartermaster Corps
  • Pay functions transferred to Finance Department
  • Army Heraldic (flags, insignia, medals) responsibility transferred to the Quartermaster Corps.
  • Transportation mission transferred to newly established Transportation Corps
  • Quartermasters responsible for procuring, training, and care of Army war dogs
  • Construction mission transferred to Engineer Corps
  • Aerial delivery mission transferred to the Quartermaster
  • Corps from the Air Force
  • Heraldic mission transferred to the Adjutant General
  • Clothing mission transferred to the Defense Logistics Agency
  • Water purification/distribution functions transferred to
    the Quartermaster Corps from the Engineer Corps
  • Currently the Quartermaster Corps’ assigned missions are:
  • General supply (less ammunition and medical), mortuary affairs, food service, petroleum and water distribution, aerial delivery, shower, laundry, fabric/light textile repair, and materiel and distribution management.
  • For more detailed information on the history of the missions conducted by Army Quartermasters from the Revolutionary War to present day click on the following link: old.qmfound.com/quartermaster_time_line.htm

    Key Quartermasters in History

    MG Thomas Mifflin – First Quartermaster General (August 14 1775).

    MG Nathanael Green – Third Quartermaster General. Reorganized the Army’s supply system after Valley Forge and  established its first depot system.

    BG Thomas Jessup – Longest running Quartermaster General (1818-1860). Recognized as the father of the Quartermaster Corps.

    BG Montgomery C. Miegs – 14th Quartermaster General (1861) who served brilliantly during the Civil War quartering, clothing and equipping more than a million soldiers.

    LTC Richard Batchelder – Awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during the Civil War while serving as the Chief Quartermaster 2d Corps, Army of the Potomac.

    MG Henry G. Sharpe – Appointed Quartermaster General in 1916, he is credited with the successful consolidation of the Quartermaster, Subsistence, and Pay Departments into the Quartermaster Corps. He is today recognized as the father of the modern Quartermaster Corps.

    LTG Andrew T. McNamara – In 1942 as Chief Quartermaster of II Corps, McNamara was key to the establishment of a supply pipeline supporting troops in North Africa. In 1943 he was assigned as Chief Quartermaster of First Army in preparation for the invasion of Normandy and under his command supplied a minimum of 12 division throughout the remainder of WW II.

    MG Robert M. Littlejohn – Served as Chief Quartermaster for Dwight Eisenhower in planning the invasion of France and the European Theater of Operations.

    T/5 Eric Gibson – While serving as cook with the 30th Infantry Regiment during WW II, Gibson, near the village of Isola Bella, Italy on 28 January 1944, led a squad of replacements that destroyed four enemy positions threatening his unit’s right flank. He single handedly knocked out a 5th enemy position before being mortally wounded by the enemy. Despite his wounds from withering enemy small arms and artillery, his actions secured his unit’s flank and successfully repelled the enemy attack. Gibson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

    PVT George Watson – While assigned to the 29th Quartermaster Regiment, Watson, was aboard a ship off the coast of New Guinea when it was bombed by the Japanese. Forced to abandon ship he refused to seek safety for himself, and instead, remained in the water to rescue fellow shipmates who were unable to help themselves. Weakened by his exertions from extended time in the water, he eventually was drowned. on 13 January 1997 President Clinton awarded Watson the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

    GEN Richard H. Thompson – First Quartermaster to achieve the rank of four star general and Commander of the Army Materiel Command.

    CW4 John Ward – In 1943 while serving with the 504th Parachute Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division Ward was commissioned the Army’s first Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer. During a long military and civilian service devoted to the Army’s aerial delivery mission, Ward was instrumental in designing and fabricating numerous devices that improved the safety and effectiveness of the Army’s aerial delivery systems.

    COL Elbert E. Legg – As a sergeant serving with the 603rd Graves Registration Company, Legg volunteered to accompany the 82nd Airborne gliders on D-Day in order to quickly establish a graves registration collection point. He was instrumental in establishing a temporary cemetery near Blosville France. Using local nationals as labor he was able to process and bury hundreds of casualties from the invasion to include a number of German soldiers as well. Legg would operate alone until relieved by the rest of his platoon on D+7. Ultimately the Blosville Cemetery would contain the remains of nearly 6000 soldiers.

    LTG Arthur J. Gregg – Lieutenant General Gregg holds the distinction of being the first African American Quartermaster commissioned officer to attain the rank of general officer. Having served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, LTG Gregg’s final assignment was the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics.

    Jane C. Ebbs – Miss Ebbs began her affiliation with the U.S. Army in 1942 as a civil servant and Nutrition Advisor to the Chief of Subsistence in the Office of the Quartermaster General. She served in several positions within the Quartermaster Corps during her 33 years of distinguished but her most significant contribution came as the Dietary Consultant to the Military Governor of Occupied Germany and Leader of the Food Utilization Mission to Germany. During these assignments she played a major role in Allied efforts to feed liberated Europe and Germany and, as a result, saved countless lives of those who would have otherwise starved.

    SGM John Marigliano – Almost all of SGM Marigliano’s career in the Army and civil service focused on operating, maintaining, and constructing military pipelines around the world. He served in both Korea and Vietnam as a pipeline engineer and tank farm manager. He served as site manager for the Department of Energy’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, TRADOC Project Officer for field water supply, and four tours with the Quartermaster School’s Petroleum and Water Department.

    MG Hawthorne L. Proctor – Selected as the 46th Quartermaster General in 1999, MG Proctor has the distinction of being the first African American to hold that position. He is a Veteran of the Vietnam War and also served in Thailand and Korea. MG Proctor’s key positions include Army Materiel Command’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Operations; first commander of the Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: and Director of Plans and Operations, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics.

    CSM Milton B. Hazzard – CSM Hazzard enlisted in 1960, was promoted to Command Sergeant Major in 1977 and served 17 years at that rank until retirement. He was one of only 7 Command Sergeants Major selected for retention to 35 years of active duty. Hazzard was one of five finalists to become Sergeant Major of the Army, and from 1989 – 1994, served as the Quartermaster Regimental Sergeant Major.

    GEN Ann E. Dunwoody – In 2008 Gen Dunwoody became the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve the rank of four star general. After receiving her fourth star she commanded the U.S. Army Materiel Command until her retirement in 2012.

    For a list of the all members of the Quartermaster Hall of Fame and their complete biographies click on the following link: old.qmfound.com/hof.htm

    To access additional information on Quartermaster History click the following link: https://www.quartermasterfoundation.org/topic/general-history/