A-19062, AUGUST 10, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 101

A-19062: Aug 10, 1927

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CREDIT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR DISBURSEMENTS ON THEIR ACCOUNT AFTER JUNE 30. 1927: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER CREDIT SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN THE DISBURSING ACCOUNTS OF C. THE AUTHORITY FOR ADMISSION OF CERTAIN PERSONS TO THE BENEFITS OF THE HOME IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JUNE 7. WHO ARE DISABLED BY DISEASES OR WOUNDS AND WHO HAVE NO ADEQUATE MEANS OF SUPPORT AND BY REASON OF SUCH DISABILITY ARE EITHER TEMPORARILY OR PERMANENTLY INCAPACITATED FROM EARNING A LIVING. APPARENTLY IT WAS NEVER CONSIDERED UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO THAT WOMEN WERE ADMISSIBLE TO THE HOME AS MEMBERS. IT IS NOW URGED. HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO THE HOME AS MEMBERS ENTITLED TO ALL BENEFITS. THAT SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR NURSES ARE CONSIDERED EQUALLY ENTITLED TO ADMISSION BY REASON OF THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JULY 2.

A-19062, AUGUST 10, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 101

NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS - ADMISSION OF FORMER ARMY NURSES THE TERM "OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, SAILORS, OR MARINES" CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 519, PROVIDING FOR THE ADMISSION OF CERTAIN PERSONS TO THE BENEFITS OF THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, DOES NOT INCLUDE MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS WITHIN ITS PURVIEW, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF MORE SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR THEIR ADMISSION TO THE HOME, CREDIT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR DISBURSEMENTS ON THEIR ACCOUNT AFTER JUNE 30, 1928.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN, AUGUST 10, 1927:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER CREDIT SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN THE DISBURSING ACCOUNTS OF C. W. WADSWORTH, GENERAL TREASURER, NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, FOR PAYMENTS MADE ON VOUCHERS 1362 AND 1363, SETTLEMENT NO. M-23102-W, FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 1 TO JUNE 30, 1926, COVERING PURCHASES OF CLOTHING FOR WOMEN ADMITTED TO THE HOME AS MEMBERS BY REASON OF THEIR PRIOR SERVICE AS ARMY NURSES, AND CHARGED TO THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION,"FOR CLOTHING FOR ALL BRANCHES," OF SUCH HOME CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1925, 43 STAT. 932.

THE AUTHORITY FOR ADMISSION OF CERTAIN PERSONS TO THE BENEFITS OF THE HOME IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 519, AS FOLLOWS:

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS SHALL BE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, AND MAY BE ADMITTED THERETO UPON THE ORDER OF A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF MANAGERS, NAMELY: HONORABLY DISCHARGED OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, SAILORS OR MARINES WHO SERVED IN THE REGULAR, VOLUNTEER, OR OTHER FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES, OR IN THE ORGANIZED MILITIA OR NATIONAL GUARD WHEN CALLED INTO FEDERAL SERVICE, AND WHO ARE DISABLED BY DISEASES OR WOUNDS AND WHO HAVE NO ADEQUATE MEANS OF SUPPORT AND BY REASON OF SUCH DISABILITY ARE EITHER TEMPORARILY OR PERMANENTLY INCAPACITATED FROM EARNING A LIVING.

THE LANGUAGE USED RELATIVE TO PERSONS TO BE ADMITTED FOLLOWS THAT USED IN THE PREVIOUS ENACTMENT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 905, EXCEPT THAT THE FORMER ACT REQUIRED WAR SERVICE. APPARENTLY IT WAS NEVER CONSIDERED UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO THAT WOMEN WERE ADMISSIBLE TO THE HOME AS MEMBERS. IT IS NOW URGED, IN VIEW OF THE BENEFICENT PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE, THAT THE TERM ,OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, SAILORS, OR MARINES" SHOULD BE CONSTRUED TO INCLUDE ALL PERSONS WHO SERVED IN A MILITARY STATUS, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS. IT APPEARS THAT SINCE 1923, BASED ON AN OPINION OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE ARMY SO CONSTRUING THE STATUTE, WOMEN WHO SERVED AS NURSES SINCE FEBRUARY 2, 1901, HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO THE HOME AS MEMBERS ENTITLED TO ALL BENEFITS, AND THAT SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR NURSES ARE CONSIDERED EQUALLY ENTITLED TO ADMISSION BY REASON OF THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 796,"THAT ANY AND ALL LAWS APPLICABLE TO WOMEN WHO BELONGED TO THE NURSE CORPS OF THE ARMY AFTER FEBRUARY 2, 1901, SHALL APPLY EQUALLY TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS WHO SERVED UNDER CONTRACT BETWEEN APRIL 21, 1898, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901.'

WHILE UNDER THE ACTS OF FEBRUARY 2, 1901, 31 STAT. 753, JUNE 3, 1916, 39 STAT. 171, AND JUNE 4, 1920, 41 STAT. 766, THE ARMY NURSE CORPS IS MADE A COMPONENT OF THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, AND UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, 41 STAT. 767, 787, THE MEMBERS THEREOF ARE GIVEN RELATIVE RANK WITH OFFICERS OF THE ARMY AND MADE SUBJECT TO ARTICLES OF WAR, THEIR PAY, ALLOWANCES, AND TENURE OF SERVICE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ESPECIALLY PROVIDED FOR. WHILE THEY HAVE BEEN INCLUDED FOR BENEFITS UNDER INCLUSIVE TERMS SUCH AS "ALL PERSONS SERVING IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES" CONTAINED IN THE $60 WAR SERVICE GRATUITY PROVISION OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 24, 1919, 40 STAT. 1151, GENERALLY THEY HAVE BEEN EXPRESSLY NAMED IN STATUTES DESIGNED TO INCLUDE THEM, TOGETHER WITH OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, ETC., FOR SPECIAL BENEFITS BY REASONS OF THEIR SERVICE. THUS IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1919, 40 STAT. 1302, IT IS PROVIDED:

THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY BE, AND HE IS HEREBY, AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE IMMEDIATE ADDITIONAL HOSPITAL AND SANATORIUM FACILITIES FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF DISCHARGED SICK AND DISABLED SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AND MARINES, ARMY AND NAVY NURSES (MALE AND FEMALE), * * *.

THE ACT OF APRIL 15, 1920, 41 STAT. 552, AMENDS SECTION 4878 OF THE REVISED STATUTES TO READ, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

ALL SOLDIERS, SAILORS, OR MARINES DYING IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, OR DYING IN A DESTITUTE CONDITION AFTER HAVING BEEN HONORABLY DISCHARGED FROM THE SERVICE, OR WHO SERVED, OR HEREAFTER SHALL HAVE SERVED, DURING ANY WAR IN WHICH THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN, OR MAY HEREAFTER BE, ENGAGED, * * * MAY BE BURIED IN ANY NATIONAL CEMETERY FREE OF COST. * * * ARMY NURSES HONORABLY DISCHARGED FROM THEIR SERVICE AS SUCH MAY BE BURIED IN ANY NATIONAL CEMETERY, AND, IF IN A DESTITUTE CONDITION, FREE OF COST. THE SECRETARY OF WAR IS AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE CERTIFICATES TO THOSE ARMY NURSES ENTITLED TO SUCH BURIAL.

TO BE INCLUDED IN THE TERM "OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, SAILORS, OR MARINES" DESCRIBING THOSE ADMISSIBLE UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, SUPRA, TO THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, AN ARMY NURSE MUST BE EITHER AN OFFICER OR A SOLDIER. THE ARTICLES OF WAR TO GOVERN THE ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES AS CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, 41 STAT. 787, ET SEQ., PROVIDE THAT, AMONG OTHERS, THE FOLLOWING PERSONS SHALL BE SUBJECT THERETO:

ALL OFFICERS, MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS, WARRANT OFFICERS, ARMY FIELD CLERKS, FIELD CLERKS QUARTERMASTER CORPS, AND SOLDIERS BELONGING TO THE REGULAR ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES; * * *.

THE TERMS "OFFICER" AND "SOLDIER" AS USED IN THE ARTICLES OF WAR ARE DEFINED IN ARTICLE 1 THEREOF AS FOLLOWS:

(A) THE WORD "OFFICER" SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO REFER TO A COMMISSIONED OFFICER;

(B) THE WORD "SOLDIER" SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS INCLUDING A NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER, A PRIVATE, OR ANY OTHER ENLISTED MAN.

IT WAS ON THE DAY FOLLOWING THIS ENACTMENT THAT THE CONGRESS PASSED THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, AUTHORIZING THE ADMISSION OF CERTAIN OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AND MARINES TO THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, THE LANGUAGE OF WHICH WAS FOLLOWED IN THE PRESENT STATUTE GOVERNING ADMISSIONS. TO HOLD THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED THEREBY TO INCLUDE GENERALLY ALL PERSONS SERVING IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES WOULD SEEM SCARCELY WARRANTED FROM ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES APPEARING.

IN VIEW OF THE SITUATION OF SEVERAL YEARS' STANDING THAT HAS ARISEN BY REASON OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATUTE, APPARENTLY NOT QUESTIONED HERETOFORE, LEADING TO THE ACTUAL ADMISSION OF A NUMBER OF FORMER ARMY NURSES TO THE HOME, THE VOUCHERS SUSPENDED WILL BE PASSED FOR CREDIT AND EXPENDITURES OF THE SAME CLASS, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, UNDER APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED. THE MATTER IS FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF THE CONGRESS, HOWEVER, AND UNLESS MORE SPECIFIC AUTHORITY THAN NOW CONTAINED IN THE STATUTES IS GRANTED FOR THE ADMISSION OF NURSES TO THE HOME, CREDIT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR SUCH EXPENDITURES AFTER JUNE 30, 1928.