(July 28, 1897-Sept. 20, 1988). A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, Bean entered the U.S. Military Academy as a member of the Class of 1919. His class graduated early to meet the needs of World War I, and he was commissioned on November 1, 1918, as a 2nd lieutenant of infantry. He was aboard a ship bound for Europe when the war ended.

Bean’s class returned to West Point for further instruction, and he graduated a second time on June 11, 1919. He served at various U.S. Army posts worldwide as an infantry officer until entering the U.S. Army Finance School in 1934 as a major. Promoted to colonel in 1942, he served as commandant, Army Finance School, fiscal director of the Mediterranean Theatre, and as assistant chief of finance.

In 1948 Bean was selected as the first commander of the Finance Center established in St. Louis. He coordinated the center’s move to Indianapolis, which involved thousands of employees, rented office space, temporary housing, and construction of—at the time— the second-largest military office building in the United States (only the Pentagon was larger).

Bean retired as a major general, commanding the Finance Center and Fort Benjamin Harrison, in June 1957. He then joined Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, and Smith. In 1987, the Army renamed the Finance Center the Major General Emmett J. Bean Center, the first major U.S. military building ever named for a living soldier. He remained active in local business and community affairs until his death in 1988.

On January 20, 1991, the Bean Center was transferred from the Army to the Department of Defense (DoD) in an effort to standardize and consolidate financial and accounting policies as a part of the Base and Realignment and Closure Act of 1991. The DoD created a new agency, the Defense and Accounting Service (DFAS), in spring 1994, and the U.S. General Services Administration acquired the building in 1995. The Indianapolis Branch of the DFAS remained in the building.

In 2005, the DoD closed 20 DFAS sites and relocated its headquarters from Arlington, Virginia, to Indianapolis. As of 2020, the DFAS-Indianapolis Center provided a range of financial and accounting services to the U.S. Army, Air Force, and 26 American defense agencies world worldwide. The Bean Center also provided a variety of other amenities, including a federal occupational health unit and fitness center.

Revised February 2021

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