B-131624, JUN. 18, 1957

B-131624: Jun 18, 1957

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DEANE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 29. WHILE YOU WERE ON TEMPORARY DUTY AS A STUDENT OFFICER ATTENDING AN ASSOCIATE INFANTRY OFFICERS' ADVANCE COURSE AT FORT BENNING. WHICH RATE IS AUTHORIZED BY THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR PAYMENT TO MEMBERS UNDERGOING COURSES OF INSTRUCTION AT INSTALLATIONS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHERE EITHER GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR GOVERNMENT MESS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. IS THAT GOVERNMENT MESS WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO YOU WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THOSE REGULATIONS. WAS DEFINED. IT WAS FURTHER PROVIDED IN THAT PARAGRAPH THAT "MEALS PROCURED FROM RESTAURANTS AND CAFETERIAS OPERATED BY ARMED SERVICES EXCHANGES. OFFICERS' CLUBS AND NAVY OFFICERS' OPEN MESSES ARE NOT CONSIDERED TO BE MEALS FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT.'.

B-131624, JUN. 18, 1957

TO MAJOR GLENN E. DEANE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 29, 1957, FORWARDED HERE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF AUGUST 13, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL PER DIEM REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $5 PER DAY AND THE $1.65 RATE YOU RECEIVED FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 15, 1954, TO MARCH 8, 1955, WHILE YOU WERE ON TEMPORARY DUTY AS A STUDENT OFFICER ATTENDING AN ASSOCIATE INFANTRY OFFICERS' ADVANCE COURSE AT FORT BENNING, GEORGIA.

THE BASIS OF YOUR CLAIM FOR PER DIEM AT THE $5 RATE, WHICH RATE IS AUTHORIZED BY THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR PAYMENT TO MEMBERS UNDERGOING COURSES OF INSTRUCTION AT INSTALLATIONS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHERE EITHER GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR GOVERNMENT MESS ARE NOT AVAILABLE, IS THAT GOVERNMENT MESS WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO YOU WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THOSE REGULATIONS. FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES THE TERM "GOVERNMENT MESS, WAS DEFINED, DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED, IN PARAGRAPH 1150-4 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS MEANING "ANY GENERAL OR SERVICE ORGANIZATIONAL MESS; ARMY AND AIR FORCE OFFICERS' OR STUDENT OFFICERS' FIELD MESS; NAVY, MARINE CORPS AND COAST GUARD OFFICERS' CLOSED MESS; AND NATIONAL GUARD MESS.' IT WAS FURTHER PROVIDED IN THAT PARAGRAPH THAT "MEALS PROCURED FROM RESTAURANTS AND CAFETERIAS OPERATED BY ARMED SERVICES EXCHANGES, OFFICERS' CLUBS AND NAVY OFFICERS' OPEN MESSES ARE NOT CONSIDERED TO BE MEALS FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT.'

IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST OF THE FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, A REPORT AS TO THE AVAILABILITY TO YOU OF GOVERNMENT MESSES DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION WAS FURNISHED BY THE INFANTRY SCHOOL AT FORT BENNING. IN SUCH REPORT, DATED APRIL 19, 1956, IT IS STATED THAT DURING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 15, 1954, TO MARCH 8, 1955, THERE WERE AVAILABLE TO STUDENT OFFICERS AT THAT SCHOOL A STUDENT OFFICERS' OPEN MESS, ORGANIZED TO PROVIDE REASONABLY PRICED MEALS AND A SELECTION OF MENUS BETTER SUITED TO OFFICERS' TASTES THAN OFFERED BY A FIELD RATION; A SMALL FIELD RATION MESS CAPABLE OF SERVING A LIMITED NUMBER OF OFFICERS; AND A CAFETERIA AND DINING ROOM SERVICE OFFERED BY THE FORT BENNING OFFICER'S OPEN MESS. IS STATED THAT THE STUDENT OFFICERS' OPEN MESS WAS ORGANIZED TO REPLACE A FIELD RATION OFFICERS' MESS AFTER EXPERIENCE PROVED A FIELD RATION MESS IMPRACTICAL AND UNECONOMICAL, AND THAT FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES THE OPEN MESS HAS BEEN DETERMINED AS MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF A GOVERNMENT MESS. PRICES IN SUCH MESS WERE STATED TO BE APPROXIMATELY ?40 FOR BREAKFAST, ?80 FOR DINNER, AND ?80 FOR SUPPER.

THE PER DIEM PAYABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES INCIDENT TO TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY PERFORMED IN THE UNITED STATES IS AUTHORIZED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ADDITIONAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES THEY INCUR BY REASON OF THEIR TEMPORARY ABSENCE FROM THE NORMAL LIVING ARRANGEMENTS AT THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO COVER ALL EXPENSES FOR MEALS AND LODGINGS WHILE TRAVELING--- ONLY THE EXCESS OVER THOSE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED AT THE PERMANENT STATION BUT FOR THE ABSENCE FROM THAT STATION. THE PER DIEM RATES PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 4205-6 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE FIXED ON THAT BASIS. THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "GOVERNMENT MESS" AS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 1150-4 OF THE REGULATIONS--- THE DETERMINATIVE FACTOR OF WHETHER OR NOT A MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO THE RATE PRESCRIBED WHERE GOVERNMENT MESS IS AVAILABLE--- ALSO IS DESIGNED UPON A CONSIDERATION OF POTENTIAL EXPENSE TO THE MEMBER, THE SITUATION WHERE GOVERNMENT MESS IS AVAILABLE APPROXIMATING, IN EXPENSE TO THE MEMBER, THAT NORMALLY ENCOUNTERED AT THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION. CONSEQUENTLY, ANY SITUATION MEETING OR APPROXIMATING THAT CONTEMPLATED IN SUCH DEFINITION, WHICH AFFORDS FACILITIES WHERE THE MEMBER MIGHT OBTAIN MEALS AT A COST COMPARABLE TO THOSE AT THE PERMANENT STATION, MUST BE CONSIDERED AS A BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF PER DIEM AT A RATE NO HIGHER THAN THAT PRESCRIBED WHERE GOVERNMENT MESS IS AVAILABLE.

IN VIEW OF THE NOMINAL CHARGES MADE TO STUDENT OFFICERS FOR THE MEALS AT THE STUDENT OFFICER'S OPEN MESS AT THE INFANTRY SCHOOL, AS INDICATED IN THE REPORT OF APRIL 19, 1956, AND OF THE STATEMENT IN THAT REPORT THAT THE OPEN MESS HAS, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, BEEN DETERMINED AS MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF A GOVERNMENT MESS, AND IN CONSIDERATION OF THE FACT THAT SUCH MESS WAS NOT A RESTAURANT OR CAFETERIA OPERATED BY AN ARMED SERVICE EXCHANGE, OFFICERS' CLUB, OR NAVY OFFICERS' OPEN MESS, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT A GOVERNMENT MESS WAS AVAILABLE TO YOU DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE REGULATIONS AND, THEREFORE, THAT YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM CLAIMED. ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF AUGUST 13, 1956, IS SUSTAINED.