B-126908, MAY 18, 1956

B-126908: May 18, 1956

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 3. - 332 OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN LISTED IN THE ROSTERS ATTACHED TO THESE ORDERS WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO ARGENTIA FOR TEMPORARY DUTY FOR ABOUT FIVE MONTHS. UPON COMPLETION OF WHICH THEY WERE TO RETURN TO THEIR DUTY STATION AND RESUME THEIR REGULAR DUTIES. IT IS STATED THEREIN THAT SUCH MESSAGE CONFIRMED PREVIOUS INSTRUCTIONS AND MODIFIED COMAIRLANT DISPATCH OF FEBRUARY 8. PER DIEM IS CLAIMED FOR TEMPORARY DUTY PERFORMED AT ARGENTIA DURING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 23. IT IS REPORTED THAT BOTH GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND MESSING FACILITIES WERE AVAILABLE. PROVIDE THAT WRITTEN ORDERS ISSUED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY ARE REQUIRED FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRAVEL.

B-126908, MAY 18, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 3, 1956, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT) REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER LIEUTENANT (J.G.) H. P. SUMMERS, USN, AND OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, MAY BE PAID PER DIEM UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED BELOW.

BY COMAIRLANT MESSAGE OF JUNE 20, 1955--- QUOTED FOR INFORMATION AND COMPLIANCE IN GROUP TRAVEL ORDERS (OPERATIONAL DEPLOYMENT TO ARGENTIA, NEWFOUNDLAND) FROM THE COMMANDING OFFICER, PATROL SQUADRON FIVE, U. S. ATLANTIC FLEET, AIR FORCE, DATED JUNE 21, 1955,--- 332 OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN LISTED IN THE ROSTERS ATTACHED TO THESE ORDERS WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO ARGENTIA FOR TEMPORARY DUTY FOR ABOUT FIVE MONTHS, UPON COMPLETION OF WHICH THEY WERE TO RETURN TO THEIR DUTY STATION AND RESUME THEIR REGULAR DUTIES. IT IS STATED THEREIN THAT SUCH MESSAGE CONFIRMED PREVIOUS INSTRUCTIONS AND MODIFIED COMAIRLANT DISPATCH OF FEBRUARY 8, 1955, AND THAT PARAGRAPH 3002-5, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, APPLIED. PARAGRAPH 7 OF THE ORDERS OF JUNE 21, 1955, STATES THAT "THE LENGTH OF TIME CONSUMED IN ADMINISTRATIVE CHANNELS PREVENTED ORDERS FROM BEING ISSUED PRIOR TO YOUR DEPARTURE" AND THAT SUCH ORDERS CONFIRMED COMFAIRWINGSLANT MESSAGES OF AUGUST 31, 1954, SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, FEBRUARY 1, 1955, AND FEBRUARY 8, 1955, WHICH ORDERED PATROL SQUADRON FIVE TO ARGENTIA FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 19, 1954, TO FEBRUARY 25, 1955. PER DIEM IS CLAIMED FOR TEMPORARY DUTY PERFORMED AT ARGENTIA DURING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 23, 1954, TO FEBRUARY 14, 1955, EXCEPT FOR TWO INTERVALS FOR WHICH PER DIEM HAS BEEN PAID FOR TRAVEL AWAY FROM, AND RETURN TO, THAT PLACE. IT IS REPORTED THAT BOTH GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND MESSING FACILITIES WERE AVAILABLE.

PARAGRAPHS 3002-1, 2 AND 5, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDE THAT WRITTEN ORDERS ISSUED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY ARE REQUIRED FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRAVEL, THAT ADVANCE VERBAL ORDERS SUBSEQUENTLY CONFIRMED IN WRITING AND APPROVED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY WILL MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR WRITTEN ORDERS, AND THAT TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED UNDER UNUSUAL CONDITIONS WHICH ARE NOT ORIGINATED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY, MUST BE APPROVED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO ALLOW REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES IN COMPLIANCE WITH ORDERS. WHILE IT APPEARS THAT NO INDIVIDUAL WRITTEN ORDERS WERE ISSUED TO LIEUTENANT SUMMERS AND THAT HE WAS VERBALLY DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO ARGENTIA FOR THE PURPOSE OF OPERATIONAL DEPLOYMENT, IT IS NOT CLEAR THAT SUCH VERBAL ORDERS WERE NOT ORIGINATED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY. SUCH TRAVEL AND DUTY WERE DIRECTED IN THE COMFAIRWINGSLANT MESSAGES MENTIONED ABOVE, AND WHILE NO INFORMATION WAS FURNISHED AS TO THE AUTHORITY OF THAT COMMAND TO ISSUE TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY ORDERS ENTITLING NAVAL PERSONNEL TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRAVEL, IT APPARENTLY HAD AUTHORITY TO DIRECT GROUP TRAVEL BY PATROL SQUADRON FIVE FOR OPERATIONAL DEPLOYMENT PURPOSES. IN ANY EVENT, SINCE COMAIRLANT--- A COMPETENT AUTHORITY--- BY DISPATCH ORDERS OF JUNE 30, 1955, DIRECTED THE GROUP OF WHICH THE CLAIMANT WAS A MEMBER, TO PROCEED TO ARGENTIA FOR TEMPORARY DUTY FOR APPROXIMATELY FIVE MONTHS, IT APPEARS THAT SUCH ACTION CONSTITUTED PROPER CONFIRMATION AND APPROVAL OF THE PRIOR ORDERS, WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CITED REGULATIONS, SO AS TO ENTITLE HIM TO PER DIEM FOR THE PERIODS INVOLVED. ALTHOUGH THE REGULATIONS PROBABLY CONTEMPLATE THAT APPROVAL ORDERS SHOULD BE ISSUED WITH REASONABLE PROMPTNESS, NO REASON IS PERCEIVED WHY SUCH ACTION COULD NOT BE TAKEN AT A SOMEWHAT LATER TIME WHERE, AS HERE, THE FAILURE TO ACT WAS BASED ON AN ERRONEOUS BELIEF THAT SUCH ACTION WOULD HAVE BEEN WITHOUT SIGNIFICANCE.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT OF THE SUBMITTED AND OTHER SIMILAR CLAIMS MAY BE MADE, IF THEY ARE OTHERWISE CORRECT. THE VOUCHER AND SUPPORTING PAPERS FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.