A-10575, OCTOBER 26, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 291

A-10575: Oct 26, 1925

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SUCH OFFICER MAY BE REGARDED AS HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY WHICH WAS IN DANGER AND IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE LOSS OF HIS PERSONAL WEARING APPAREL ABANDONED AT THE TIME TO ENABLE HIM TO MAKE THE SWIM. 5 COMP. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22. FOR $123.22 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE VALUE OF HIS PRIVATE PROPERTY ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN LOST IN THE MILITARY SERVICE AS THE RESULT OF AN AIRPLANE CRASH APRIL 10. IN WHICH YOU WERE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT OF SUCH VOUCHER. WHICH WAS SUBMITTED FOR DECISION IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT. WAS NOT AUTHORIZED. THE DECISION WAS BASED ON A REPORT. CAPTAIN QUINN WITH AN OBSERVER WAS ORDERED ON A CROSS COUNTRY AIRPLANE FLIGHT FROM FRANCE FIELD TO BALBOA AND RETURN.

A-10575, OCTOBER 26, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 291

PRIVATE PROPERTY LOST IN THE MILITARY SERVICE UPON THE SHOWING THAT AN OFFICER OF THE ARMY WHO HAD BEEN FORCED TO BRING HIS AIRPLANE DOWN ON THE SURFACE OF A BODY OF WATER, DUE TO ENGINE TROUBLE, HAD ELECTED TO SWIM TO A NEAR-BY TUG TO SECURE AID IN SAVING THE PLANE BEFORE IT SANK RATHER THAN TO SWIM ASHORE, SUCH OFFICER MAY BE REGARDED AS HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY WHICH WAS IN DANGER AND IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE LOSS OF HIS PERSONAL WEARING APPAREL ABANDONED AT THE TIME TO ENABLE HIM TO MAKE THE SWIM. 5 COMP. GEN. 140, MODIFIED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO CAPT. CARL HALLA, UNITED STATES ARMY, OCTOBER 26, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1925, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF DECISION OF AUGUST 25, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 140, PERTAINING TO THE CLAIM OF CAPT. ORLO H. QUINN, AIR SERVICE, UNITED STATES ARMY, FOR $123.22 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE VALUE OF HIS PRIVATE PROPERTY ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN LOST IN THE MILITARY SERVICE AS THE RESULT OF AN AIRPLANE CRASH APRIL 10, 1924, AND IN WHICH YOU WERE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT OF SUCH VOUCHER, WHICH WAS SUBMITTED FOR DECISION IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT, WAS NOT AUTHORIZED.

THE DECISION WAS BASED ON A REPORT, NOT DATED, OF A BOARD OF OFFICERS IN THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, CONVENED OCTOBER 13, 1924, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF FINANCE OFFICE MEMORANDUM NO. 7, DATED MAY 21, 1924, THE FACTS BEING THEREIN STATED AS FOLLOWS:

THAT IN APRIL, 1924, CAPTAIN QUINN WITH AN OBSERVER WAS ORDERED ON A CROSS COUNTRY AIRPLANE FLIGHT FROM FRANCE FIELD TO BALBOA AND RETURN.

UPON THE RETURN FLIGHT ON APRIL 10, 1924, CLAIMANT WAS FORCED TO LAND HIS AIRPLANE IN GATUN LAKE, DUE TO ENGINE FAILURE. CLAIMANT STAYED WITH THE PLANE UNTIL IT SANK BELOW THE SURFACE OF THE WATER WHEREUPON HE WAS OBLIGED TO ABANDON SAME TOGETHER WITH HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY AND SWIM, IN ORDER TO SAVE HIS LIFE.

FOR THE REASONS STATED IN THE DECISION, WHICH WILL NOT BE REPEATED HERE, IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT THE FACTS STATED DID NOT BRING THE CLAIM WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF THE SECOND SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES OF SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, 41 STAT. 1436, AS WAS FOUND BY THE BOARD.

IT IS NOW URGED THAT THE FACTS WERE NOT COMPLETELY STATED BY THE BOARD, AND IN SUPPORT OF THIS CONTENTION THE CERTIFICATE OF CAPTAIN QUINN, DATED SEPTEMBER 18, 1925, IS SUBMITTED, IN WHICH HE STATES THE FACTS TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

WHEN, DUE TO MOTOR FAILURE, I WAS FORCED TO LAND IN GATUN LAKE, I STAYED WITH THE AIRPLANE UNTIL IT HAD SUNK VERY LOW IN THE WATER IN THE HOPE THAT SOME BOAT WOULD COME WITHIN HAILING DISTANCE. SEEING A TUG IN THE DISTANCE I SWAM APPROXIMATELY ONE-HALF MILE TO IT AND ENLISTED THEIR AID TO HELP ME SAVE THE AIRPLANE. THEY RELEASED THE SCOWS OF DIRT THEY WERE TOWING AND PROCEEDED TO THE AIRPLANE AND WE WERE ABLE TO PASS A LINE AROUND THE TAIL OF THE SHIP BARELY IN TIME TO SAVE IT FROM SINKING, AS ONLY A PORTION OF THE TAIL SURFACES PROTRUDED FROM THE WATER AT THE TIME WE ARRIVED. THE AIRPLANE WAS THEN TOWED TO SHORE AND WAS SECURED BY A POWER-LINE TOWER, AND WAS SALVAGED THE NEXT DAY BY THE ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT OF FRANCE FIELD. I COULD HAVE ABANDONED THE AIRPLANE AND SWAM TO SHORE UPON FIRST LANDING, SINCE THIS DISTANCE WAS PROBABLY ONLY ONE- THIRD OF THE DISTANCE I SWAM TO THE TUG, AND THEREBY SAVED MY PROPERTY. AS HAS BEEN STATED BEFORE, MY PROPERTY WASHED OFF OF THE AIRPLANE AS IT WAS BEING TOWED TO SHORE.

THE ABOVE FACTS ARE CONFIRMED IN PART BY AN AFFIDAVIT EXECUTED SEPTEMBER 11, 1925, BY MAJ. FOLLETT BRADLEY, AIR SERVICE, UNITED STATES ARMY, COMMANDING OFFICER OF FRANCE FIELD DURING THE PERIOD HERE IN QUESTION.

THERE APPEARS NOTHING TO SHOW WHY THESE FACTS WERE NOT STATED BY THE BOARD IN THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE. ON THE FACTS NOW APPEARING, IT APPEARS THAT CLAIMANT'S PROPERTY WAS LOST IN CONSEQUENCE OF ITS OWNER HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS IN DANGER AT THE SAME TIME AND UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES. ACCORDINGLY, UPON RECONSIDERATION YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE VOUCHER, IN THE AMOUNT OF $123.22, MAY BE PAID IF OTHERWISE CORRECT. THE ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE NOW PRESENTED SHOULD BE FILED WITH THE VOUCHER.