B-133872, NOV. 15, 1957

B-133872: Nov 15, 1957

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MICHNOWICZ: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 11. YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM FURTHER DUTY. IT IS SHOWN THAT YOUR AUTOMOBILE WAS TRANSPORTED BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS ON THE SAME VESSEL AT A COST TO YOU OF $53.50. READS AS FOLLOWS: "WHEN PERSONNEL OF THE AIR FORCE OR ARMY ARE ORDERED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. THEY FURTHER PROVIDE THAT THIS SERVICE WILL BE RENDERED TO PERSONNEL IN GRADE E-4 WITH AT LEAST FOUR YEARS' SERVICE. THERE IS NOTHING IN EITHER THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE OR THE CITED REGULATIONS WHICH PURPORTS TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENDITURES INCURRED FOR THE MOVEMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLES ON VESSELS COMMERCIALLY OWNED AND OPERATED. THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR TRANSOCEAN SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WAS ENLARGED BY PUBLIC LAW 538.

B-133872, NOV. 15, 1957

TO CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER CASIMIR J. MICHNOWICZ:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 11, 1957, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 4, 1957, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $53.50, REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED FOR THE SHIPMENT OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM MIAMI, FLORIDA, TO HAVANA, CUBA, DURING AUGUST 1956.

BY PARAGRAPH NO. 77, SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 51, DATED MARCH 13, 1956, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM FURTHER DUTY--- UPON COMPLETION OF A COURSE OF INSTRUCTION--- AT FT. BENJAMIN HARRISON, INDIANA, WITH INSTRUCTIONS, WHEN DIRECTED BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER, BROOKLYN ARMY TERMINAL, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, TO PROCEED AND REPORT TO HAVANA, CUBA, FOR DUTY WITH THE UNITED STATES ARMY MISSION TO CUBA. THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT IN COMPLIANCE WITH INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED IN A PORT CALL OF AUGUST 1, 1956, YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS TRAVELED FROM MIAMI TO HAVANA ON THE S.S. FLORIDA, A COMMERCIAL VESSEL OPERATED BY THE PENINSULAR AND OCCIDENTAL STEAMSHIP COMPANY, AUGUST 8-9, 1956, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. ALSO, IT IS SHOWN THAT YOUR AUTOMOBILE WAS TRANSPORTED BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS ON THE SAME VESSEL AT A COST TO YOU OF $53.50. IN YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 11, 1957, YOU STATE THAT YOUR REQUEST FOR OVERSEAS MOVEMENT OF DEPENDENTS SPECIFICALLY INDICATED THAT YOU HAD A PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE FOR SHIPMENT; THAT THE COMMANDING OFFICER, BROOKLYN ARMY TERMINAL, DIRECTED YOU TO PROCEED TO MIAMI FOR WATER TRANSPORTATION TO HAVANA; AND THAT NO GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL ON WHICH YOUR AUTOMOBILE COULD BE SHIPPED SAILS FROM MIAMI TO HAVANA.

SECTION 617 OF THE NATIONAL MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1950, 63 STAT. 1020, APPROVED OCTOBER 29, 1949, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN PERSONNEL OF THE AIR FORCE OR ARMY ARE ORDERED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, MOTOR VEHICLES OWNED BY THEM FOR THEIR PERSONAL USE (NOT TO EXCEED ONE VEHICLE PER PERSON) MAY BE TRANSPORTED TO THEIR NEW POSTS OF DUTY ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS.'

THIS ACT EXPRESSLY LIMITS THE SHIPMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES WHICH MAY BE MADE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMY TO WATER TRANSPORTATION ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS. THE REGULATIONS, ARMY REGULATIONS NO. 55-76, DATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1955, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THIS STATUTE, AUTHORIZE TRANSOCEAN SHIPMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL ENTIRELY WITHOUT EXPENSE TO THE OWNERS ONLY BETWEEN PORTS SERVED BY GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS. THEY FURTHER PROVIDE THAT THIS SERVICE WILL BE RENDERED TO PERSONNEL IN GRADE E-4 WITH AT LEAST FOUR YEARS' SERVICE, AND ABOVE, WHO DELIVER THEIR VEHICLES TO THE APPROPRIATE PORT, AND TO ALL OTHER MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO DELIVER THEIR VEHICLES AFTER FIRST OBTAINING THE APPROVAL OF THE APPROPRIATE OVERSEAS COMMANDER.

THERE IS NOTHING IN EITHER THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE OR THE CITED REGULATIONS WHICH PURPORTS TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENDITURES INCURRED FOR THE MOVEMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLES ON VESSELS COMMERCIALLY OWNED AND OPERATED.

THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR TRANSOCEAN SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WAS ENLARGED BY PUBLIC LAW 538, APPROVED MAY 28, 1956, 70 STAT. 187, WHICH AMENDED SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, AS AMENDED, BY ADDING AT THE END THEREOF A NEW SUBSECTION READING AS FOLLOWS:

"/C) THAT NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, PRIVATELY OWNED AMERICAN SHIPPING SERVICES MAY BE UTILIZED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES OWNED BY GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL WHENEVER TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH VEHICLES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW.'

THIS ACT CONTAINS NO EXPRESS PROVISION FOR REIMBURSING OWNERS WHO EFFECT SHIPMENT OF THEIR VEHICLES ON THEIR OWN RESPONSIBILITY. ITS EFFECT IS TO AUTHORIZE, IN ADDITION TO GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS, THE USE OF AMERICAN COMMERCIAL VESSELS FOR OVERSEAS SHIPMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL, WHICH WILL, OF COURSE, ENTAIL PAYMENT OF COMMERCIAL FREIGHT CHARGES. THIS ACT, HOWEVER, DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE SELF-EXECUTING AND NO APPROPRIATE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN PROMULGATED. THERE IS, THEREFORE, NO LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH YOU MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE CHARGES INCURRED BY YOU IN TRANSPORTING YOUR AUTOMOBILE TO HAVANA.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 4, 1957, MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.