B-156960, JUL. 13, 1965, 45 COMP. GEN. 34

B-156960: Jul 13, 1965

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TRAVEL EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - AMENDMENT OR REVOCATION OF ORDERS - PREPARATORY TRAVEL COSTS PASSPORT APPLICATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN ARMY OFFICER TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF ORDERS TO AN OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT WHICH ARE REVOKED PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF TRAVEL BY THE OFFICER AND HIS DEPENDENTS ARE PREPARATORY EXPENSES THAT ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 23. PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL COMMENCED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS THAT ARE MODIFIED. 1965: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR 5TH INDORSEMENT DATED MAY 24. COLONEL COKER WAS REASSIGNED FROM THE BROOKE ARMY MEDICAL CENTER (MD 3410). THESE ORDERS STATED THAT PASSPORTS AND VISAS WERE REQUIRED AND DIRECTED THAT IMMEDIATE APPLICATIONS BE MADE FOR THEM IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARMY REGULATIONS 600-290.

B-156960, JUL. 13, 1965, 45 COMP. GEN. 34

TRAVEL EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - AMENDMENT OR REVOCATION OF ORDERS - PREPARATORY TRAVEL COSTS PASSPORT APPLICATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN ARMY OFFICER TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF ORDERS TO AN OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT WHICH ARE REVOKED PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF TRAVEL BY THE OFFICER AND HIS DEPENDENTS ARE PREPARATORY EXPENSES THAT ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 23, 1963 (37 U.S.C. 406A), PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL COMMENCED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS THAT ARE MODIFIED, CANCELED, OR REVOKED, AND THE TRANSFER ORDERS OF THE OFFICER HAVING BEEN REVOKED BEFORE THE OFFICER AND HIS DEPENDENTS DEPARTED THE OLD STATION, ABSENT SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY IN THE ACT FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF PREPARATORY EXPENSES, THE CLAIM OF THE OFFICER FOR PASSPORT COSTS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED.

TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL J. G. SUMNER, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, JULY 13, 1965:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR 5TH INDORSEMENT DATED MAY 24, 1965, AND ACCOMPANYING PAPERS, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION (PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 65-20) AS TO THE LEGALITY OF REIMBURSING LIEUTENANT COLONEL LARRY W. COKER FOR EXPENSES IN THE AMOUNT OF $8 INCURRED IN MAKING APPLICATIONS FOR PASSPORTS UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED.

BY SPECIAL ORDERS 217, PARAGRAPH 111, DATED AUGUST 25, 1964, COLONEL COKER WAS REASSIGNED FROM THE BROOKE ARMY MEDICAL CENTER (MD 3410), FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS, TO THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ADVISORY GROUP TO THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA (P8-5700), APO 102, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO ARRIVE AT HIS OVERSEAS DESTINATION NOT LATER THAN FEBRUARY 12, 1965. THESE ORDERS STATED THAT PASSPORTS AND VISAS WERE REQUIRED AND DIRECTED THAT IMMEDIATE APPLICATIONS BE MADE FOR THEM IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARMY REGULATIONS 600-290. ON DECEMBER 8, 1964, THE UNEXECUTED PORTION OF PARAGRAPH 111 OF SPECIAL ORDERS 217 WAS REVOKED. RECEIPTS DATED OCTOBER 30, 1964, ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS SHOW THAT FEES TOTALING $8 WERE PAID INCIDENT TO APPLICATIONS FOR PASSPORTS FOR COLONEL COKER, HIS WIFE AND SIX CHILDREN.

THE TRAVEL OF MEMBERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS INCIDENT TO A MEMBER'S PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS AUTHORIZED UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED. 37 U.S.C. 404 AND 406. PARAGRAPHS M4410 AND M7002-3 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO THAT AUTHORITY, PROVIDE THAT EXPENSES TO MEMBERS FOR PASSPORT AND VISA FEES FOR THEMSELVES AND DEPENDENTS ARE REIMBURSABLE TRAVEL EXPENSES. PARAGRAPH M3003-1B (2) OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING ENTITLEMENT TO ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS WHICH ARE MODIFIED, CANCELED OR REVOKED PRIOR TO THEIR EFFECTIVE DATE, THE ORDERS WILL BE CONSIDERED AS EFFECTIVE WHEN RECEIVED FOR ANY TRAVEL PERFORMED THEREUNDER BY THE MEMBER OR HIS DEPENDENTS. PARAGRAPH 4 OF ARMY REGULATIONS 600-290 PROVIDES THAT THE INSTALLATION COMMANDER WILL INSURE THAT MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS WHOSE TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, APPLY FOR PASSPORTS AND THAT SUCH APPLICATION WILL BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FROM HOME STATION ON LEAVE, DELAY EN ROUTE OR TRAVEL STATUS.

IT LONG HAS BEEN THE RULE THAT NO OFFICIAL TRAVEL IS REQUIRED UNDER CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE TRAVELER MUST DEPART FROM THE OLD STATION BY ORDINARY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION (UNLESS OTHERWISE DIRECTED) TO REACH HIS DESTINATION ON THE DATE DESIGNATED BY THE TRAVEL ORDERS. THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES ARE SUBJECT TO MODIFICATION OR REVOCATION AT ANY TIME PRIOR TO THE EXECUTION OF THE TRAVEL AS DIRECTED AND IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT, ANY EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE MEMBER PREPARATORY TO COMPLYING WITH THE ORDERS MUST BE BORNE BY HIM IF THE ORDERS ARE RESCINDED OR CANCELED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF. SEE 19 COMP. GEN. 315; 33 COMP. GEN. 289.

WE REALIZE THERE ARE CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN TRAVEL ORDERS ARE CANCELED PRIOR TO THEIR EFFECTIVE DATE UNDER WHICH MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES MAY SUFFER SOME FINANCIAL LOSS FOR CERTAIN EXPENSES INCURRED PREPARATORY TO COMPLYING WITH THE ORDERS. CONGRESS RECOGNIZED THAT A MEMBER SHOULD NOT BE DENIED REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL COMMENCED BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS ORDERS WHEN IT ENACTED PUBLIC LAW 88-238, APPROVED DECEMBER 23, 1963, 77 STAT. 475, 37 U.S.C. 406A, PROVIDING FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL OF THE MEMBER AND HIS DEPENDENTS PERFORMED BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ORDERS, WHEN SUCH ORDERS ARE RESCINDED OR CANCELED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF. THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH M3003-1B (2) OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REFERRED TO ABOVE, ARE AUTHORIZED BY THIS ACT. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE ACT OR ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, HOWEVER, WHICH WOULD SUGGEST AN INTENT TO AUTHORIZE THE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN PREPARATION FOR THE TRAVEL WHEN THE ORDERS ARE CANCELED BEFORE THE COMMENCEMENT OF TRAVEL BY THE MEMBER AND HIS DEPENDENTS. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE COLONEL COKER AND HIS DEPENDENTS HAD NOT COMMENCED THEIR TRAVEL TO HIS NEW STATION WHEN HIS ORDERS OF AUGUST 25, 1964, WERE REVOKED, HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN MAKING APPLICATIONS FOR PASSPORTS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED.

THE PAPERS WHICH ACCOMPANIED YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WILL BE RETAINED HERE.