B-157848, DEC. 13, 1965

B-157848: Dec 13, 1965

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USAF: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 29. YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM ASSIGNMENT AT THAT STATION FOR TRANSFER ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO HEADQUARTERS. YOU WERE DIRECTED TO REPORT NOT LATER THAN 3 WORKING DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE AT THE PERSONNEL OFFICE FOR INFORMATION RELATIVE TO AIR MOVEMENT DATA AND REPORTING DATA TO MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE. YOUR LEAVE ADDRESS WAS SHOWN TO BE IN PHILADELPHIA. CONCURRENT TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS WAS AUTHORIZED. TRAVEL BY MILITARY AIRCRAFT AND BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE (TPA) WAS AUTHORIZED. AUTHORITY WAS STATED TO BE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE MILITARY PERSONNEL CENTER ASSIGNMENT CARD. WERE AMENDED TO SHOW EFFECTIVE DATE OF STRENGTH ACCOUNTABILITY AS MAY 25.

B-157848, DEC. 13, 1965

TO STAFF SERGEANT WILLIAM E. LEE, USAF:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 29, 1965, IN EFFECT REQUESTING A REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 10, 1965, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED IN THE UNITED STATES INCIDENT TO YOUR TRANSFER FROM SAIGON, VIETNAM, TO WIESBADEN, GERMANY, UNDER ORDERS OF JANUARY 16, 1964, AS AMENDED.

BY PARAGRAPH 1, SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 13, HEADQUARTERS, MILITARY ASSISTANCE ADVISORY GROUP, VIETNAM, DATED JANUARY 16, 1964, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM ASSIGNMENT AT THAT STATION FOR TRANSFER ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES AIR FORCES IN EUROPE, APO 633, NEW YORK. YOU WERE DIRECTED TO REPORT NOT LATER THAN 3 WORKING DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE AT THE PERSONNEL OFFICE FOR INFORMATION RELATIVE TO AIR MOVEMENT DATA AND REPORTING DATA TO MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, NEW JERSEY. YOUR LEAVE ADDRESS WAS SHOWN TO BE IN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. CONCURRENT TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS WAS AUTHORIZED. TRAVEL BY MILITARY AIRCRAFT AND BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE (TPA) WAS AUTHORIZED. AUTHORITY WAS STATED TO BE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE MILITARY PERSONNEL CENTER ASSIGNMENT CARD, DATED DECEMBER 4, 1963. BY PARAGRAPH 17, SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 69, BY THE SAME AUTHORITY, DATED MARCH 23, 1964, THE ORDERS OF JANUARY 16, 1964, WERE AMENDED TO SHOW EFFECTIVE DATE OF STRENGTH ACCOUNTABILITY AS MAY 25, 1964, AND THAT YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS WERE TO REPORT AT MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE NO LATER THAN MAY 20, 1964, FOR DEPARTURE THAT DAY TO FRANKFURT, GERMANY. THE ORDERS ALSO STATED THAT THE NORMAL ROUTE WAS FROM SAIGON TO FRANKFURT VIA BANGKOK AND NEW DELHI, WHEREAS THE APPROVED CIRCUITOUS ROUTE WAS VIA TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA. TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS AUTHORIZED FROM MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE TO FRANKFURT, GERMANY. THE ORDERS INDICATED FURTHER THAT YOU WERE TO BE IN A LEAVE STATUS BETWEEN APRIL 20 AND MAY 20, 1964, AND THAT ALL EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE IN A LEAVE STATUS WERE TO BE PAID BY YOU. SPACE-AVAILABLE TRANSPORTATION VIA MATS AND MSTS FACILITIES WAS AUTHORIZED, WHEN AVAILABLE, BETWEEN SAIGON AND MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE. THE AUTHORITY FOR CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL WAS STATED TO BE AN AIR FORCE LETTER DATED MARCH 31, 1960, SUBJECT: "LEAVE ENROUTE TO CONSECUTIVE OVERSEAS TOUR.' AUTHORITY FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, AS PROVIDED IN THE ORDERS OF JANUARY 16, 1964, WAS EXPRESSLY CONTINUED BY THE ORDERS OF MARCH 23, 1964.

YOUR ITINERARY SHOWS THAT YOU DEPARTED SAIGON, VIETNAM, BY GOVERNMENT AIR, APRIL 18, 1964, AND PROCEEDED VIA THE PHILIPPINES, GUAM, AND HAWAII, ARRIVING AT TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, ON APRIL 19, 1964. YOU THEN TRAVELED BY COMMERCIAL AIR TO PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, ARRIVING THE SAME DAY, AND REMAINED THERE IN A LEAVE STATUS UNTIL MAY 20, 1964, AT WHICH TIME YOU REPORTED AT MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, NEW JERSEY, FOR TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AIR TO RHEIN-MAIN AIR BASE, GERMANY, ARRIVING AT YOUR DUTY STATION, WIESBADEN, GERMANY, ON MAY 21, 1964. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU WERE PAID $183.86 FOR YOUR TRAVEL BY VOUCHER DATED MAY 27, 1964, WHICH ALLOWED YOU $9.92 PER DIEM FOR THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY PERFORMED TO TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE AND $173.94 AS MILEAGE FOR THE DISTANCE FROM TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE TO MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, NEW JERSEY. ON JUNE 8, 1964, AN ADJUSTMENT VOUCHER ALLOWED YOU $20.62 AS PER DIEM FOR THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL TIME BY GOVERNMENT AIR FROM SAIGON TO FRANKFURT, GERMANY, VIA BANGKOK, THAILAND, AND YOU WERE REQUIRED TO REFUND $163.24, THE BALANCE OF THE $183.86, PREVIOUSLY PAID TO YOU.

BY LETTER DATED APRIL 13, 1965, TO THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER YOU REQUESTED CLARIFICATION AS TO WHY THE AUTHORIZATION IN YOUR ORIGINAL ORDERS FOR RETURN TRAVEL THROUGH THE UNITED STATES PRIOR TO REPORTING TO YOUR CONSECUTIVE OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT IN EUROPE FROM VIETNAM WAS LATER DELETED. YOU STATED THAT YOU KNEW OF THREE OTHER CASES WHERE PERSONNEL RECEIVING SIMILAR ORDERS WERE PAID FOR TRAVEL THROUGH THE UNITED STATES, AND THAT YOU HAD TO TRAVEL FROM VIETNAM ON A SPACE-AVAILABLE BASIS IN A LEAVE STATUS AND PAY FOR YOUR TRAVEL FROM TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE TO PHILADELPHIA. YOU WERE SUBSEQUENTLY REQUESTED TO SUBMIT A CLAIM FOR SUCH TRAVEL, WHICH CLAIM WAS LATER TRANSMITTED TO OUR OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT. BY SETTLEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 10, 1965, YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASONS STATED.

IN YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 29, 1965, YOU AGAIN ASK WHETHER THE AUTHORITY CITED IN THE AIR FORCE LETTER OF MARCH 31, 1960, REFERRED TO IN YOUR ORDERS WAS APPLICABLE DURING THE PERIOD YOU PERFORMED THE TRAVEL, AND IF SO, WHY SUCH AUTHORITY DID NOT APPLY IN PRIOR INSTANCES TO OTHER PERSONNEL WHO RECEIVED CONSECUTIVE OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENTS. ALSO YOU REFER TO AN ARTICLE MENTIONED IN YOUR PREVIOUS LETTER, WHICH YOU SAY APPEARED IN THE EUROPEAN STARS AND STRIPES NEWSPAPER, APRIL 10, 1965, INDICATING THAT THE AIR FORCE WAS AUTHORIZING RETURN TRAVEL THROUGH THE UNITED STATES TO THOSE MEMBERS REQUESTING A CONSECUTIVE OVERSEAS TOUR AFTER VIETNAM DUTY.

WE DO NOT HAVE A COPY OF THE AIR FORCE LETTER DATED MARCH 31, 1960, REFERRED TO IN THE ORDERS DATED MARCH 23, 1964, NOR DO WE HAVE A COPY OF THE EUROPEAN STARS AND STRIPES NEWSPAPER DATED APRIL 10, 1965. HOWEVER, PARAGRAPH 3308, AIR FORCE MANUAL 75-4, WHICH WAS IN EFFECT DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED, SETS OUT THE POLICY OF THE AIR FORCE REGARDING CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL. WHILE STATED IN TERMS OF STATION CHANGES FROM OVERSEAS TO THE UNITED STATES, ITS APPLICATION TO CASES SUCH AS YOURS INVOLVING CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL THROUGH THE UNITED STATES APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN INTENDED. SUBPARAGRAPH B (1) OF THAT PARAGRAPH PROVIDES THAT PERSONNEL RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES MAY BE PROVIDED TRANSPORTATION VIA A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE, PROVIDED THE TOTAL COSTS OVER SUCH ROUTING DOES NOT EXCEED THE CHARGES THE AIR FORCE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY IF THE TRAVEL HAD BEEN PERFORMED VIA THE NORMAL ROUTING. SUBPARAGRAPH B (3) PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT APPROVED ORDERS FOR CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL WILL INDICATE (A) THE NORMAL ROUTE, (B) THE APPROVED CIRCUITOUS ROUTE AND MODE OF TRAVEL, (C) THE POINTS BETWEEN WHICH TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, (D) THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL TIME BY THE NORMAL DIRECT ROUTE, (E) THAT THE MEMBER IS IN A LEAVE STATUS BETWEEN RELIEF FROM THE OLD DUTY STATION AND DATE OF DEPARTURE AT THE PORT AT WHICH GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED, AND THAT ALL TRAVEL AND RELATED EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE IN A LEAVE STATUS WILL BE PAID BY THE MEMBER, (F) THAT SPACE-AVAILABLE TRANSPORTATION VIA MATS AND MSTS FACILITIES IS AUTHORIZED, WHEN AVAILABLE, BETWEEN OLD DUTY STATION AND POINT AT WHICH GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED, AND (G) THAT NO EXCESS BAGGAGE IS AUTHORIZED WHILE TRAVELING IN A SPACE-AVAILABLE STATUS.

UNDER REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO PERTINENT STATUTORY AUTHORITY, 37U.S.C. 404, THE GOVERNMENT'S OBLIGATION TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS LIMITED TO FURNISHING THEM TRANSPORTATION OR REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR AS TRAVEL ALLOWANCE OR MILEAGE, FROM THEIR OLD TO THEIR NEW DUTY STATION. A MEMBER WHO PERFORMS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BY A ROUTE OTHER THAN THE DIRECT OR OFFICIAL ROUTE IS DUE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION COSTS ACTUALLY INCURRED, NOT TO EXCEED THE COSTS FOR TRAVEL BY THE DIRECT OR OFFICIAL ROUTE TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION. SEE 7 COMP. GEN. 840; 9 ID. 210; B-110057, SEPTEMBER 9, 1952; B-142270, OCTOBER 19, 1960, AND B-155778, FEBRUARY 15, 1965. IN OUR OPINION, THE FACT THAT TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED INCIDENT TO A TRANSFER FROM ONE OVERSEA DUTY STATION TO ANOTHER OVERSEA DUTY STATION SHOULD NOT AFFECT THE GOVERNMENT'S OBLIGATION AS STATED ABOVE.

IT HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ASCERTAINED FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE THAT THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR YOUR TRAVEL BY MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE FROM SAIGON TO THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES (TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA) PLUS THE COST FOR TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AIR FROM THE EAST COAST (MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, NEW JERSEY) TO FRANKFURT, GERMANY, IS GREATER THAN WOULD HAVE BEEN THE COST FOR TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AIR BY THE DIRECT ROUTE FROM SAIGON TO FRANKFURT, VIA NEW DELHI, INDIA. HENCE, THERE WAS NO FURTHER OBLIGATION FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO FURNISH TRANSPORTATION IN THE UNITED STATES OR TO PAY MILEAGE FOR SUCH TRAVEL. REGARDING YOUR STATEMENT THAT OTHER MEMBERS RECEIVING CONSECUTIVE OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENTS TO EUROPE WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL THROUGH CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND WERE PAID FOR SUCH TRAVEL, IF THE FACTS INVOLVED IN THOSE CASES ARE NOT DISTINGUISHABLE FROM THOSE PRESENTED IN YOUR CLAIM, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT PAYMENTS TO THEM WERE ERRONEOUS AND SUCH PAYMENTS WOULD FURNISH NO BASIS FOR FAVORABLE ACTION ON YOUR CLAIM. SEE 34 COMP. GEN. 597-598.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM AND THE DISALLOWANCE OF ..END :