A-15858, NOVEMBER 12, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 327

A-15858: Nov 12, 1926

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VETERANS' BUREAU - BURIAL EXPENSES A NATIONAL GUARDSMAN WHOSE ORGANIZATION WAS MUSTERED INTO THE FEDERAL SERVICE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE PUNITIVE EXPEDITION INTO MEXICO. WHO WAS REJECTED FOR FEDERAL SERVICE BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY. IS NOT A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AND THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OR REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO RELATIVE TO BURIAL EXPENSES. N.C.THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE RECORD FAILED TO SHOW THE DECEDENT TO HAVE BEEN A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AND THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OR REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO RELATIVE TO BURIAL EXPENSES. FOR THE SAME REASON THERE WAS DISALLOWED.

A-15858, NOVEMBER 12, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 327

VETERANS' BUREAU - BURIAL EXPENSES A NATIONAL GUARDSMAN WHOSE ORGANIZATION WAS MUSTERED INTO THE FEDERAL SERVICE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE PUNITIVE EXPEDITION INTO MEXICO, BUT WHO WAS REJECTED FOR FEDERAL SERVICE BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY, IS NOT A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AND THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OR REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO RELATIVE TO BURIAL EXPENSES, AND THE EXPENSES OF HIS BURIAL MAY NOT BE PAID FROM PUBLIC FUNDS.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, NOVEMBER 12, 1926:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0140031, DATED JUNE 8, 1926, DISALLOWING THE CLAIM OF THE HARTSVILLE MARBLE WORKS (UNDERTAKER) FOR $35 REPRESENTING COST FOR BURIAL SERVICES RENDERED JAMES MURY WHITE, WHO DIED JANUARY 30, 1925, AT THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL NO. 60, OTEEN, N.C.THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE RECORD FAILED TO SHOW THE DECEDENT TO HAVE BEEN A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AND THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OR REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO RELATIVE TO BURIAL EXPENSES. FOR THE SAME REASON THERE WAS DISALLOWED, BY SETTLEMENT NO. 098175, DATED AUGUST 6, 1925, THE CLAIM OF THE REYNOLDS UNDERTAKING CO. FOR $68.50 FOR SERVICES RENDERED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE BODY OF JAMES MURY WHITE FOR BURIAL.

IT APPEARS THAT THE DECEDENT ENLISTED IN THE NATIONAL GUARD OF SOUTH CAROLINA JULY 1, 1915, WAS MUSTERED INTO THE FEDERAL SERVICE AS A CORPORAL WITH COMPANY L, FIRST INFANTRY, SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL GUARD JULY 5, 1916, AND WAS FOUND PHYSICALLY DISABLED AND DISCHARGED JULY 7, 1916, AT COLUMBIA, S.C., AND THAT HE HAD NO OTHER SERVICE AS A MEMBER OF THE MILITARY FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES.

VETERANS' BUREAU REGULATION NO. 61 DATED AUGUST 15, 1923, INCLUDED AS SECTION 8102 OF REGULATIONS, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, 1923, SUPPLEMENT NO. 3, ISSUED MARCH 31, 1924, IN FORCE AT THE DATE OF DEATH OF WHITE, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

* * * FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REGULATION (SECTIONS 8102 TO 8113, INCLUSIVE) THE TERM "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" SHALL MEAN ANY PERSON WHO DIES AFTER DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE AND WHO SERVED * * *; OR (B) WITH FORCES WHICH WERE MOBILIZED FOR PARTICIPATION IN * * * THE PUNITIVE EXPEDITION INTO MEXICO. * * *

TO THE SAME EFFECT IS REGULATION NO. 123, DATED NOVEMBER 6, 1925, WHICH SUPERSEDED REGULATION NO. 61. SEE ALSO 2 COMP. GEN. 791.

IT IS CLEAR IN THE PRESENT CASE THAT THE ORGANIZATION OF THE NATIONAL GUARD IN WHICH WHITE WAS SERVING WAS MUSTERED INTO THE FEDERAL SERVICE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE PUNITIVE EXPEDITION INTO MEXICO, BUT THE QUESTION HERE IS WHETHER A MEMBER OF SUCH AN ORGANIZATION WHO WAS PROMPTLY REJECTED FOR FEDERAL SERVICE BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY MAY BE HELD TO HAVE "SERVED" WITH THE FORCES THUS MOBILIZED, WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE PHRASE "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" APPEARING IN THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AND THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AND AS DEFINED IN THE REGULATIONS, SUPRA.

A NATIONAL GUARDSMAN WHO REPORTS TO HIS COMPANY RENDEZVOUS UNDER CALL OF THE PRESIDENT IS NOT IN FEDERAL SERVICE UNLESS HE MEETS CERTAIN CONDITIONS PRECEDENT, SUCH AS TAKING THE OATH AND BEING FOUND MORALLY, MENTALLY, AND PHYSICALLY QUALIFIED. IF SUCH CONDITIONS ARE NOT MET, HE IS REJECTED FOR MUSTER NOTWITHSTANDING THE ORGANIZATION TO WHICH HE BELONGED MAY HAVE BEEN MUSTERED INTO THE FEDERAL SERVICE, AND HE MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING "SERVED" WITH THE FEDERAL FORCES. SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 258.

IT HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE $60 BONUS OR WAR SERVICE GRATUITY UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 24, 1919, 40 STAT. 1151, IS NOT PAYABLE TO A NATIONAL GUARDSMAN WHOSE ORGANIZATION WAS MUSTERED INTO FEDERAL SERVICE BUT WHO WAS REJECTED FOR FEDERAL SERVICE BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY AFTER HAVING REPORTED AT THE COMPANY RENDEZVOUS. DECISION OF FEBRUARY 6, 1924, CASE OF JAMIE A. MARTIN, CITING BANNISTER V. BONUS BOARD, 112 ALT.REP. 422; 1 COMP. GEN. 379; AND DECISION OF MAY 16, 1922, CASE OF JAMES L. BENNETT; SEE ALSO DECISION OF DECEMBER 8, 1924, A-5255, AND DECISION OF FEBRUARY 16, 1925, A-6740.

THE BASIS OF THESE DECISIONS WAS THAT THE GUARDSMEN MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN ,SERVING IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 24, 1919, SUPRA. THE SAME REASONING IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE PRESENT CASE; THAT IS, WHITE WAS REJECTED BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY BEFORE HE EVER SERVED WITH THE MOBILIZED FORCES.

IT MUST BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT A NATIONAL GUARDSMAN WHOSE ORGANIZATION WAS MUSTERED INTO FEDERAL FORCES FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE PUNITIVE EXPEDITION INTO MEXICO, BUT WHO WAS REJECTED FOR FEDERAL SERVICE BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY, IS NOT A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT, THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, OR THE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO RELATIVE TO BURIAL EXPENSES.