B-123094, MAY 18, 1955

B-123094: May 18, 1955

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PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: CASES ENCOUNTERED BY OUR AUDITORS SUGGEST THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE IS PAYING MILEAGE TO AIR FORCE PERSONNEL FOR TRAVEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES NOT CONTEMPLATED BY LAW. AN EXAMPLE OF SUCH TRAVEL IS THAT PERFORMED BY MAJOR GEORGE W. THEIR LEAVE ADDRESSES WERE SHOWN TO BE IN LOUISIANA AND KANSAS. THEY WERE TO REPORT TO NEW DUTY STATION AT CASTLE AIR FORCE BASE. THE PLANE WAS TO STOP AT OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE. WHERE MAJOR BUJOL'S DUTIES WERE TO TERMINATE. SINCE THEY WERE NOT REQUIRED TO PERFORM DUTY AS MEMBERS OF THE CREW FOR THE FLIGHT FROM FORBES AIR FORCE BASE TO OLMSTEAD. A QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER THEIR PRESENCE WAS NECESSARY ON THE PLANE AS MEMBERS OF THE CREW FOR THE FLIGHT FROM POINT OF ARRIVAL IN THE UNITED STATES AT TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE.

B-123094, MAY 18, 1955

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

CASES ENCOUNTERED BY OUR AUDITORS SUGGEST THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE IS PAYING MILEAGE TO AIR FORCE PERSONNEL FOR TRAVEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES NOT CONTEMPLATED BY LAW.

AN EXAMPLE OF SUCH TRAVEL IS THAT PERFORMED BY MAJOR GEORGE W. BUJOL, USAF, AND AIRMAN SECOND CLASS WALTER R. STUMPF, USAF, PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPHS 13 AND 14, SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 157, HEADQUARTERS, 98TH BOMBARDMENT WING (M), APO 328, DATED JULY 22, 1953, WHICH DIRECTED THEM TO PROCEED FROM JAPAN AS MEMBERS OF THE CREW OF AN AIRCRAFT TO BE FERRIED TO MIDDLETOWN AIR DEPOT, OLMSTEAD, PENNSYLVANIA. THEIR LEAVE ADDRESSES WERE SHOWN TO BE IN LOUISIANA AND KANSAS, RESPECTIVELY, AND UPON COMPLETION OF LEAVE, THEY WERE TO REPORT TO NEW DUTY STATION AT CASTLE AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA. THE PLANE WAS TO STOP AT OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, NEBRASKA, WHERE MAJOR BUJOL'S DUTIES WERE TO TERMINATE, BUT DUE TO A CHANGE IN ITINERARY, IT LANDED INSTEAD AT FORBES AIR FORCE BASE, KANSAS, WHERE BOTH MEN LEFT THE PLANE, PERMISSION FOR SUCH ACTION APPARENTLY HAVING BEEN GRANTED STUMPF BY THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER. MILEAGE HAS BEEN PAID FOR THEIR TRAVEL FROM FORBES AIR FORCE BASE TO CASTLE AIR FORCE BASE ON VOUCHERS NUMBERED 3297 AND 3277, RESPECTIVELY, OCTOBER 1953 ACCOUNT OF MAJOR P. G. HALLBERG, USAF.

SINCE THEY WERE NOT REQUIRED TO PERFORM DUTY AS MEMBERS OF THE CREW FOR THE FLIGHT FROM FORBES AIR FORCE BASE TO OLMSTEAD, A QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER THEIR PRESENCE WAS NECESSARY ON THE PLANE AS MEMBERS OF THE CREW FOR THE FLIGHT FROM POINT OF ARRIVAL IN THE UNITED STATES AT TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA. IF THE PLANE WAS BEING FLOWN TO OLMSTEAD FOR MILITARY REASONS, THEY WERE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE ONLY FOR THE DISTANCE FROM TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE TO CASTLE AIR FORCE BASE, UNLESS THEIR PRESENCE ON THE PLANE AS CREW MEMBERS WAS NECESSARY TO THE PROPER FUNCTIONING OF THE PLANE AND THE SELECTION OF ITS COURSE OF TRAVEL. A MERE NOMINAL ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY AS A CREW MEMBER WOULD NOT FURNISH A PROPER BASIS FOR SHIFTING TO THE GOVERNMENT PART OF THE COST OF LEAVE TRAVEL OF AIR FORCE PERSONNEL.

IF, AS THE FACTS INDICATE, THE PRIMARY PURPOSE IN ASSIGNING THESE MEMBERS OF THE AIR FORCE TO THE THROUGH FLIGHT TO OLMSTEAD, PENNSYLVANIA, WAS NOT TO PERFORM NECESSARY DUTY AS CREW MEMBERS BUT TO PLACE THEM NEARER THEIR LEAVE POINTS, THE CONCLUSION APPEARS REQUIRED THAT THEY WERE NOT TRAVELING ON PUBLIC BUSINESS AND ARE NOT ENTITLED, WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE APPLICABLE STATUTE, TO THE MILEAGE PAID TO THEM.

AN EXPRESSION OF YOUR VIEWS ON THE PROBLEM PRESENTED WOULD BE APPRECIATED, TOGETHER WITH A REPORT ON THE STEPS BEING TAKEN TO INSURE THAT MILEAGE WILL BE PAID IN SUCH CASES ONLY FOR TRAVEL WHICH IS NECESSARY IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.