B-151257, JULY 22, 1963, 43 COMP. GEN. 73

B-151257: Jul 22, 1963

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TEMPORARY CHANGES OF STATION A DETERMINATION OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR NAVY MEMBERS ASSIGNED TO A SHORE-BASED MOBILE UNIT WHEN THE ENTIRE MOVEMENT OF THE UNIT IS NOT MADE SIMULTANEOUSLY IS DEPENDENT UPON THE ACTUAL LOCATION OF THE MEMBER'S BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT RATHER THAN UPON THE LOCATION OF THE MILITARY UNIT OR TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHANGE. THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A STATION CHANGE FOR A MEMBER OF SUCH A SHORE-BASED MOBILE UNIT IS THE DATE ON WHICH THE MEMBER IS REQUIRED TO COMMENCE TRAVEL TO THE NEW STATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF REMAINING AT AND PERFORMING HIS NORMAL DUTIES AT THE NEW STATION.

B-151257, JULY 22, 1963, 43 COMP. GEN. 73

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - MILITARY PERSONNEL - PERMANENT V. TEMPORARY CHANGES OF STATION A DETERMINATION OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR NAVY MEMBERS ASSIGNED TO A SHORE-BASED MOBILE UNIT WHEN THE ENTIRE MOVEMENT OF THE UNIT IS NOT MADE SIMULTANEOUSLY IS DEPENDENT UPON THE ACTUAL LOCATION OF THE MEMBER'S BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT RATHER THAN UPON THE LOCATION OF THE MILITARY UNIT OR TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHANGE; THEREFORE, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A STATION CHANGE FOR A MEMBER OF SUCH A SHORE-BASED MOBILE UNIT IS THE DATE ON WHICH THE MEMBER IS REQUIRED TO COMMENCE TRAVEL TO THE NEW STATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF REMAINING AT AND PERFORMING HIS NORMAL DUTIES AT THE NEW STATION, AND IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BEFORE OR AFTER THE ANNOUNCED EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHANGE.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JULY 22, 1963:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED MARCH 28, 1963, FROM THE UNDER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO TRAVEL ENTITLEMENTS OF NAVY MILITARY PERSONNEL IN CONNECTION WITH CHANGES OF PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS OF MOBILE UNITS. IT IS STATED THAT THE DIFFICULTY IN THIS AREA STEMS FROM CERTAIN DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE PERTAINING TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH CHANGES. THE MOVEMENT OF AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON FOUR FROM JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, TO ROOSEVELT ROADS, PUERTO RICO, IS CITED TO ILLUSTRATE THE PROBLEM.

THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OF AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON FOUR FROM JACKSONVILLE TO ROOSEVELT ROADS WAS ANNOUNCED BY THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS ON JULY 16, 1960, TO BE EFFECTIVE AUGUST 15, 1960. ON AUGUST 3, 1960, THE COMMANDER NAVAL AIR FORCE, U.S. ATLANTIC FLEET, ISSUED COMNAVAIRLANT STAFF NOTICE 3110 DIRECTING THAT THE MOVEMENT OF THE MOBILE UNIT BE COMPLETED WHEN NECESSARY FACILITIES WERE READY AT ROOSEVELT ROADS. THE NOTICE FURTHER DIRECTED THAT PRIOR TO AUGUST 15, 1960, AN INITIAL INCREMENT OF TWO AIRCRAFT WITH CREWS AND SUPPORT PERSONNEL SHOULD MOVE TO ROOSEVELT ROADS, ROTATING TO JACKSONVILLE AS NECESSARY FOR MAINTENANCE, AND THAT THE PERSONNEL WOULD BE ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF DUTY ORDERS. THE UNDER SECRETARY STATES THAT THE MOVEMENT OF AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON FOUR TO ROOSEVELT ROADS WAS NOT COMPLETED UNTIL NOVEMBER 14, 1960, ALTHOUGH THE BULK OF THE SQUADRON PERSONNEL ARRIVED BETWEEN AUGUST 15 AND 29, 1960. HE EXPLAINS THAT THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OF A MOBILE AIR UNIT IS USUALLY ACCOMPLISHED OVER A PERIOD OF SEVERAL WEEKS AND THAT, WHILE TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE MEMBERS OF THE UNIT TOGETHER WITH SUPPLIES ARE TRANSPORTED IN PLANES OF THE UNIT, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO TRANSPORT ALL MEMBERS IN THE UNIT'S PLANES AND THOSE WHO ARE NOT SO TRANSPORTED ARE FURNISHED INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL ORDERS.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE TWO AIRCRAFT WHICH WERE DIRECTED TO MOVE PRIOR TO AUGUST 15, THE ANNOUNCED DATE OF THE STATION CHANGE, PROCEEDED TO ROOSEVELT ROADS ON AUGUST 4, 1960--- PRESUMABLY UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS AS DIRECTED IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED NOTICE--- AND THAT LATER THE MEMBERS OF THOSE CREWS RECEIVED TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY ORDERS TO JACKSONVILLE. IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT UNDER THE TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY ORDERS, PER DIEM WAS PAID TO THE MEMBERS CONCERNED FOR THE TIME AT JACKSONVILLE ON THE BASIS OF DECISION DATED APRIL 15, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 697, AND THAT OUR OFFICE ISSUED NOTICES OF EXCEPTION TO SUCH PAYMENTS, CITING DECISION OF JANUARY 10, 1961, B-144372. THE UNDER SECRETARY CITES AS TYPICAL OF THE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION, THE EXCEPTION ISSUED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM TO LIEUTENANT COMMANDER THOMAS N. THOMPSON, USN. THIS NOTICE OF EXCEPTION READS IN MATERIAL PART AS FOLLOWS:

THE PERMANENT STATION OF AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON FOUR WAS CHANGED FROM JACKSONVILLE TO ROOSEVELT ROADS, PUERTO RICO, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 15, 1960, HOWEVER, THE PHYSICAL MOVEMENT OF THE SQUADRON'S MAIN BODY WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED UNTIL NOV. 1960. THUS, JACKSONVILLE REMAINED THE PERMANENT STATION OF THE MEMBER (FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES) UNTIL HE REPORTED TO ROOSEVELT ROADS ON OCT. 3, 1960, FOR DUTY. * * * B-144372 OF JAN. 10, 1961; 4201-4 JTR.

THE DECISION OF APRIL 15, 1959, CITED BY THE UNDER SECRETARY AS AUTHORITY FOR THE PER DIEM PAYMENTS CONSIDERED THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OF AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON ELEVEN FROM PATUXENT RIVER, MARYLAND, TO ARGENTIA, NEWFOUNDLAND. A CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS DISPATCH DATED APRIL 29, 1958, ANNOUNCED THE CHANGE EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 1958. ORDERS HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN ISSUED DIRECTING THE MEMBERS OF THE SQUADRON TO PROCEED ON OR ABOUT MAY 1, 1958, TO ARGENTIA FOR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY FOR A PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY 3 MONTHS. SINCE THE DATE OF THE CHANGE OF STATION ANNOUNCED IN THE DISPATCH OF APRIL 29, 1958, AND THE DATE OF THE COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT AT ARGENTIA WERE THE SAME, IT WAS HELD THAT ON APRIL 30, 1958, THE DATE OF RECEIPT OF THE DISPATCH OF APRIL 29, ARGENTIA BECAME THE PERMANENT STATION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SQUADRON FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE PURPOSES. THIS CONCLUSION WAS BASED ON THE ESTABLISHED RULE (PARAGRAPHS 4209 AND 4358 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS) THAT WHEN A MEMBER IS DIRECTED TO REPORT FOR PERMANENT DUTY AT A STATION FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT AT THE SAME PLACE UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES NOT CONTEMPLATING A RETURN TO THE OLD DUTY STATION, THAT STATION THEN BECOMES HIS DESIGNATED PLACE OF DUTY AND HIS PERMANENT STATION.

ON THE BASIS THAT THE TWO AIRCRAFT AND CREWS OF AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON FOUR WHICH TRAVELED TO ROOSEVELT ROADS PRIOR TO THE ANNOUNCED DATE OF SQUADRON'S PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO THAT POINT HAD NOTICE OF THE CHANGE WHEN THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED, THE DECISION OF APRIL 15, 1959, AS THE UNDER SECRETARY STATES, APPEARS TO LEND SUPPORT TO THE VIEW THAT ROOSEVELT ROADS BECAME THE PERMANENT STATION OF THE MEMBERS OF THOSE CREWS ON AUGUST 4, 1960, FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE PURPOSES. HOWEVER, THE DIRECTIVE GOVERNING THE MOVEMENT OF AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON FOUR PLAINLY CONTEMPLATED A RETURN TO THE OLD DUTY STATION BY THESE AIRCRAFT AND CREWS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY. HENCE, THE MEMBERS'BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENTS AT THE OLD STATION WERE NOT IN FACT CHANGED AND THE RULE ON WHICH THE ARGENTIA DECISION WAS BASED IS NOT FOR APPLICATION.

THE DECISION OF JANUARY 10, 1961, B-144372, INVOLVED THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OF NAVAL GUIDED MISSILE UNIT NO. 51 FROM YORKTOWN, VIRGINIA, TO ROOSEVELT ROADS, PUERTO RICO. IN THAT CASE ORDERS HAD BEEN ISSUED ANNOUNCING THE STATION CHANGE EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1958. THE UNIT, HOWEVER, DID NOT MOVE UNTIL ON OR ABOUT SEPTEMBER 5, 1958, AND IT WAS HELD THAT EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHANGE FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE PURPOSES WAS THE DATE ON WHICH THE UNIT ACTUALLY MOVED. HERE AGAIN THE BASIS FOR THE DECISION WAS THE VIEW THAT THE CHANGE OF STATION WAS NOT EFFECTIVE FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE PURPOSES UNTIL THE BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT OF THE MEMBERS WAS IN FACT CHANGED. IN THE COURSE OF THE DECISION WE REMARKED THAT THE UNIT APPEARED TO BE ESSENTIALLY A SHORE BASED ORGANIZATION AND WE BELIEVED ITS RELOCATION SHOULD BE VIEWED AS ANALOGOUS TO THE RELOCATION OF AN ARMY UNIT, GENERALLY EFFECTIVE FOR PURPOSES OF TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT THE TIME OF THE TRANSFER OF THE UNIT PERSONNEL, RATHER THAN ANALOGOUS TO THE CHANGE IN HOME YARD OR HOME PORT OF A VESSEL FOR SUCH PURPOSES. THIS COMMENT, HOWEVER, DID NOT ENLARGE THE SCOPE OF, OR DETRACT FROM, THE RULE MENTIONED ABOVE BUT HAD REFERENCE TO WHAT APPEARED TO BE A VIEW IN THAT CASE THAT DEPENDENT TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ENTITLEMENT OF MEMBERS IN THESE SHORE-BASED MOBILE UNIT PERMANENT STATION CHANGES ACCRUED ON THE BASIS THAT THE CHANGE WAS TANTAMOUNT TO THE CHANGE IN HOME YARD OR HOME PORT OF A VESSEL. SEE THE EXPLANATION IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 18, 1962, B-149637, 42 COMP. GEN. 167, ON THIS POINT.

IN DECISION OF FEBRUARY 16, 1961, B-144933, PERTAINING TO THE ANNOUNCED PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OF UTILITY SQUADRON TWO FROM QUONSET POINT, RHODE ISLAND, TO OCEANA, VIRGINIA, ALSO REFERRED TO IN THE UNDER SECRETARY'S LETTER, WE HELD THAT THE CHANGE OF STATION WAS NOT EFFECTIVE FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE PURPOSES UNTIL THE UNIT ACTUALLY MOVED. AS IN THE TWO DECISIONS EXPLAINED ABOVE, THIS CONCLUSION WAS BASED ON THE VIEW THAT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE THE BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT OF THE MEMBER CONCERNED REMAINED AT THE OLD DUTY STATION UNTIL THE UNIT ACTUALLY MOVED.

IN VIEW OF SUCH DECISIONS THE UNDER SECRETARY ASKS WHETHER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FOR THE MEMBERS OF AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING SQUADRON FOUR AND IN SIMILAR CASES FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE PURPOSES IS (1) THE DATE ON WHICH EACH MEMBER IS FIRST REQUIRED TO COMMENCE TRAVEL TO THE NEW DUTY STATION EVEN THOUGH SUCH DATE IS SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE OF THE ANNOUNCED CHANGE BUT PRIOR TO THE SPECIFIED EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHANGE, OR (2) THE DATE ON WHICH THE MOVEMENT OF THE ENTIRE UNIT IS COMPLETED OR THE DATE ON WHICH SOME DESIGNATED PORTION OF THE UNIT SUCH AS THE COMMAND OF THE UNIT MOVES.

THE PERTINENT STATUTE, 37 U.S.C. 404, PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT, UNDER REGULATIONS OF THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ONLY WHEN AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY. A MEMBER'S DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS THE PLACE WHERE HIS BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT IS FOR PERFORMANCE AND THE PLACE TO WHICH HE MUST PROCEED OR RETURN UPON THE COMPLETION OF TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENTS OR OTHER ABSENCES FROM HIS NORMAL DUTIES AND, EXCEPT AS MAY BE OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE, ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS ISSUED UNDER THE CITED STATUTORY PROVISION MUST BE APPLIED WITHIN THAT LIMITATION. COMP. GEN. 565. SEE, ALSO, 41 COMP. GEN. 726.

HENCE, WHILE SUCH FACTORS AS THE LOCATION OF THE MILITARY UNIT TO WHICH A MEMBER IS ATTACHED, OR AN ADMINISTRATIVE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGE OF LOCATION OF SUCH UNIT MAY BE SUGGESTIVE OF THE LOCATION OF HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, A DETERMINATION AS TO HIS STATUS DURING A GIVEN PERIOD IN THAT RESPECT MUST DEPEND UPON THE ACTUAL LOCATION OF HIS BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT EVEN THOUGH POSSIBLY NOT CORRESPONDING AT THAT TIME WITH THE LOCATION OF HIS ASSIGNED UNIT. CONSEQUENTLY, WHERE CHANGE OF STATION IS INVOLVED, A MEMBER'S RIGHT TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IS FOR DETERMINATION ON THE BASIS OF WHEN THE CHANGE IN THE PLACE OF HIS BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT ACTUALLY TAKES PLACE. IN THE CASES OUTLINED ABOVE, THE RECORDS INDICATED THAT THE ENTIRE COMPLEMENTS OF THE UNITS MOVED AT THE SAME TIME AND, THEREFORE, WE SAID THAT THE STATION CHANGE FOR ALL MEMBERS WAS EFFECTIVE WHEN THE UNITS MOVED. IN THE CASE OF A MOVEMENT OF AN ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT EXTENDING OVER A PERIOD OF SEVERAL WEEKS OR MONTHS, HOWEVER, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE PLACE OF THE BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENTS OF THE VARIOUS MEMBERS OF THE UNIT WILL NOT CHANGE SIMULTANEOUSLY. CONSEQUENTLY, A DESIGNATED EFFECTIVE DATE FOR THE UNIT'S STATION CHANGE BASED UPON THE MOVEMENT OF A PORTION OF THE UNIT MAY NO MORE LEGALLY SERVE AS A BASIS FOR DETERMINING TRAVEL ALLOWANCE ENTITLEMENTS THAN MAY THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH CHANGE AS ANNOUNCED BY THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS. IT IS OUR VIEW, THEREFORE, THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OF A MEMBER ASSIGNED TO A SHORE-BASED MOBILE UNIT FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES IS THE DATE FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE CHANGE ON WHICH THE MEMBER IS REQUIRED TO COMMENCE TRAVEL TO THE NEW STATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF THEREAFTER REMAINING AT AND PERFORMING HIS NORMAL DUTIES AT THE NEW STATION. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THIS TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BEFORE OR AFTER THE ANNOUNCED EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHANGE. THE UNDER SECRETARY'S QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY AND FUTURE AUDIT AND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACTION BY THIS OFFICE WILL BE BASED ON SUCH CONCLUSION.

FOR THE REASONS SET OUT ABOVE, THE AUDIT ACTION TAKEN ON THE PAYMENTS OF PER DIEM TO MEMBERS OF THE SQUADRON FOR DUTY PERFORMED AT JACKSONVILLE WAS PROPER. IN VIEW, HOWEVER, OF THE APPARENT MISUNDERSTANDING AS TO THE BASIS FOR THE CONCLUSION REACHED IN THE DECISION OF APRIL 15, 1959, AND OF THE IMPORT OF THE UNIT MOVEMENT LANGUAGE USED IN THE DECISIONS OF JANUARY 10 AND FEBRUARY 16, 1961, THE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION TAKEN TO SUCH PAYMENTS WILL BE REMOVED.