B-105587, NOV 19, 1951

B-105587: Nov 19, 1951

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THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 21. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER. THAT HE WAS ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE FROM NOVEMBER 28. THAT HE WAS DROPPED FROM THE ROLLS OF HIS ORGANIZATION AS BEING ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE BUT NOT IN DESERTION. IT WAS HELD THAT PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IS PROPER IN CASES WHERE DEATH OCCURRED AT A TIME WHEN THE MEMBER OF THE SERVICE WAS ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT SUCH ABSENCE IS EXCUSED AS UNAVOIDABLE. THAT HE WAS ON THAT DATE CARRIED AS ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE. IS AUTHORIZED.

B-105587, NOV 19, 1951

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MAJOR E.M. DUNCAN, F.C., DISBURSING OFFICER:

BY FIRST INDORSEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 11, 1951, OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 21, 1951, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER, TRANSMITTED THEREWITH, STATED IN FAVOR OF ROBERT GRIFFIN, ROUTE 1, BOX 21-C, LAKE PROVIDENCE, LOUISIANA, AS BROTHER AND DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY, COVERING THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY PAY IN THE CASE OF THE LATE PRIVATE GEORGE GRIFFIN, JR., ER 38 740 539, WHOSE DEATH OCCURRED ON MARCH 24, 1951.

IT APPEARS FROM THE OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE ENLISTED MAN'S DEATH, SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER, THAT HE WAS ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE FROM NOVEMBER 28, 1950 TO MARCH 24, 1951, THE DAY HE DIED, A PERIOD IN EXCESS OF THREE MONTHS; THAT HE WAS DROPPED FROM THE ROLLS OF HIS ORGANIZATION AS BEING ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE BUT NOT IN DESERTION; AND THAT HIS DEATH OCCURRED WHILE NOT ON DUTY, NOT IN LINE OF DUTY, BUT NOT AS THE RESULT OF HIS OWN MISCONDUCT. THE PAPERS ACCOMPANYING YOUR LETTER DO NOT SHOW WHETHER OR NOT THE UNAUTHORIZED ABSENCE HAS BEEN EXCUSED AS UNAVOIDABLE, BUT THEY INDICATE THAT YOUR DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT ARISES BECAUSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 7A(2), CHANGE 3, ARMY REGULATIONS 35-1370. THE SAID REGULATION AUTHORIZES THE MILITARY PAY DIVISION, ARMY FINANCE CENTER, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, TO MAKE PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY WHEN THE ABSENCE WITHOUT LEAVE DOES NOT EXCEED THREE MONTHS, AND REQUIRES THAT CLAIMS FOR SUCH GRATUITY BE FORWARDED TO THE CHIEF OF FINANCE IF THEY INVOLVE AN ABSENCE IN EXCESS OF THREE MONTHS.

IN DECISION OF JANUARY 9, 1950, B-91223, 29 COMP. GEN. 294, IT WAS HELD THAT PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IS PROPER IN CASES WHERE DEATH OCCURRED AT A TIME WHEN THE MEMBER OF THE SERVICE WAS ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT SUCH ABSENCE IS EXCUSED AS UNAVOIDABLE. THAT DECISION WOULD APPEAR TO BE APPLICABLE TO THE CASE NOW PRESENTED UNLESS, OF COURSE, THE ENLISTED MAN'S DEATH OCCURRED AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF HIS ENLISTMENT PERIOD. ACCORDINGLY, ON THE PRESUMPTION THAT PRIVATE GRIFFIN'S PERIOD OF ENLISTMENT HAD NOT EXPIRED ON MARCH 24, 1951, THE DATE OF HIS DEATH, AND THAT HE WAS ON THAT DATE CARRIED AS ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE, PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, IS AUTHORIZED.