B-164998, SEPT. 3, 1968

B-164998: Sep 3, 1968

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TO TECHNICAL SERGEANT NATHANIEL SOTO: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 24. YOU HAVE NOT FURNISHED ORDERS COVERING YOUR DUTY ASSIGNMENT BUT IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTERS CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM THAT BY ORDERS DATED JULY 28. YOU WERE TRANSFERRED FROM OVERSEAS TO TINKER AIR FORCE BASE. THAT THE RELOCATION WAS COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 1. YOU PASSED BY THE SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND THAT YOUR CLAIM IS BASED ON THE ADDITIONAL DISTANCE BEYOND THAT AIRPORT RESULTING FROM THE RELOCATION OF YOUR UNIT. THE FILE INDICATES THAT YOUR CLAIM WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DENIED BUT. THAT IT WAS TRANSMITTING YOUR CLAIM TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION. THE FILE WAS TRANSMITTED BY LETTER DATED JANUARY 22. IN WHICH YOU STATE THAT YOUR CLAIM IS NOT SIMILAR TO THAT CONSIDERED IN THE DECISION CITED.

B-164998, SEPT. 3, 1968

TO TECHNICAL SERGEANT NATHANIEL SOTO:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 24, 1968, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THE SETTLEMENT DATED MARCH 19, 1968, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BETWEEN SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, AND FOUR LAKES, WASHINGTON, DURING THE PERIOD FROM DECEMBER 1, 1961, TO OCTOBER 31, 1962, INCIDENT TO YOUR SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE. THE HONORABLE JERRY L. PETTIS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, HAS INDICATED AN INTEREST IN YOUR CLAIM.

YOU HAVE NOT FURNISHED ORDERS COVERING YOUR DUTY ASSIGNMENT BUT IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTERS CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM THAT BY ORDERS DATED JULY 28, 1961, YOU WERE TRANSFERRED FROM OVERSEAS TO TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, OKLAHOMA, BUT ASSIGNED TO DUTY WITH THE 252D COMMUNICATIONS GROUP, WASHINGTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD, SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, SPOKANE, WASHINGTON. YOU SAY YOU REPORTED FOR SUCH DUTY ON OCTOBER 4, 1961, AND THAT THE FOLLOWING MONTH YOUR UNIT COMMENCED A MOVE TO F-37 NIKE SITE, FOUR LAKES, WASHINGTON, A DISTANCE OF 11 MILES FROM THE SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AND THAT THE RELOCATION WAS COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 1, 1961.

ON THE BASIS OF THESE FACTS YOU CLAIM REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE PERIOD DECEMBER 1, 1961, TO OCTOBER 31, 1962, THE DATE OF YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY, FOR 22 MILES OF ADDITIONAL TRAVEL ON 214 DAYS BETWEEN YOUR PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND DUTY STATION. YOU SAY THAT IN TRAVELING FROM YOUR RESIDENCE TO THE FOUR LAKES NIKE SITE, YOU PASSED BY THE SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND THAT YOUR CLAIM IS BASED ON THE ADDITIONAL DISTANCE BEYOND THAT AIRPORT RESULTING FROM THE RELOCATION OF YOUR UNIT.

THE FILE INDICATES THAT YOUR CLAIM WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DENIED BUT, AFTER FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE ADVISED CONGRESSMAN PETTIS BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 22, 1967, THAT IT WAS TRANSMITTING YOUR CLAIM TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION. IT ADVISED HIM FURTHER THAT A PREVIOUS DECISION OF OUR OFFICE, B-154784, DATED OCTOBER 14, 1964, IN THE CASE OF MASTER SERGEANT WILLIAM L. REEVES, USAR, RET; INVOLVED SIMILAR FACTS AND THAT THE DECISION DENIED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS.

THE FILE WAS TRANSMITTED BY LETTER DATED JANUARY 22, 1968, TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR CONSIDERATION AND ACTION. THE FILE CONTAINED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 20, 1967, IN WHICH YOU STATE THAT YOUR CLAIM IS NOT SIMILAR TO THAT CONSIDERED IN THE DECISION CITED, IN THAT YOU ARE CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL FROM SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO THE F-37 NIKE SITE, FOUR LAKES, WASHINGTON, WHEREAS OUR RULING PERTAINED TO A MEMBER WHO TRAVELED BETWEEN HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT FOUR LAKES AND SPOKANE, WASHINGTON. YOU CONTEND THAT THE OFFICIAL DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE DOCUMENTS YOU CITED ESTABLISHED THAT YOUR PERMANENT DUTY STATION WAS AT THE SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT NOT F 37 NIKE SITE, FOUR LAKES, WASHINGTON.

IN THAT LETTER YOU FURTHER SAY THAT YOUR HEADQUARTERS AT TINKER AIR FORCE BASE SHOULD HAVE EITHER ISSUED PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS CHANGING YOUR PERMANENT STATION FROM THE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO F-37 NIKE SITE, THUS AUTHORIZING YOU TO MOVE YOUR FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS, WITH ENTITLEMENT TO DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE, OR IT SHOULD HAVE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY YOU IN PERFORMING OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OR IN THE VICINITY OF YOUR PERMANENT STATION AS SET OUT IN PARAGRAPH 20601B, AIR FORCE MANUAL 177-103, OR ELSE IT SHOULD HAVE MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO PROVIDE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION FROM THE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO F 37 NIKE SITE.

YOU CONTEND FURTHER THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION BY YOUR HEADQUARTERS, YOU HAD NO CHOICE OTHER THAN TO REPORT TO F-37 NIKE SITE, SINCE YOUR DUTY UNIT MOVED THERE AS ORDERED BY THE STATE OF WASHINGTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD, AS CONFIRMED BY SPECIAL ORDER G-3, OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL, STATE OF WASHINGTON, DATED JUNE 1, 1962. YOU THEREFORE CLAIM THAT THE TRAVEL YOU PERFORMED EVERY DAY WAS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, INASMUCH AS YOU MET YOUR PERSONAL OBLIGATIONS UNDER YOUR ORDERS BY DRIVING AS FAR AS THE AIRPORT, YOUR PERMANENT DUTY STATION.

BY SETTLEMENT DATED MARCH 19, 1968, YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASONS STATED. IN YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 24, 1968, YOU REPEAT YOUR PREVIOUS CONTENTIONS THAT YOUR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY WAS AT SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NOT AT FOUR LAKES, WASHINGTON, WHERE YOU NECESSARILY REPORTED FOR DUTY FOR A TOTAL OF 214 DAYS, EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE NOT FORMALLY ORDERED TO DO SO. YOU THEREFORE REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM.

SECTION 404, TITLE 37, U.S.C. PROVIDES THAT, UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS, UPON A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION, OR OTHERWISE, OR WHEN AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY. SECTION 2 (M) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, 68 STAT. 1129 (NOW SUPERSEDED BY 37 U.S.C. 408), PROVIDED THAT A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE MAY BE DIRECTED, BY ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS, TO PROCURE TRANSPORTATION "NECESSARY FOR CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS STATION," SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS.

PARAGRAPH M1150-10A, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 404 CITED ABOVE, DEFINES A "PERMANENT STATION" AS THE POST OF DUTY OR OFFICIAL STATION TO WHICH A MEMBER IS ASSIGNED OR ATTACHED FOR DUTY OTHER THAN "TEMPORARY DUTY" OR "TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY," THE LIMITS OF WHICH "WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE MEMBER IS STATIONED, BUT IF NOT STATIONED IN AN INCORPORATED CITY OR TOWN, THE OFFICIAL STATION IS THE RESERVATION, STATION, OR ESTABLISHED AREA, OR, IN THE CASE OF LARGE RESERVATIONS, THE ESTABLISHED SUBDIVISION THEREOF HAVING DEFINITE BOUNDARIES WITHIN WHICH THE DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS LOCATED.

PARAGRAPH M3000 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED UNLESS ORDERS BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY HAVE BEEN ISSUED THEREFOR. PARAGRAPH M3001 PROVIDES THAT A COMPETENT TRAVEL ORDER IS A WRITTEN INSTRUMENT ISSUED OR APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, OR SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS TO WHOM AUTHORITY HAS BEEN DELEGATED OR REDELEGATED TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS DIRECTING AN INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS TO TRAVEL BETWEEN DESIGNATED POINTS.

DESPITE YOUR STATEMENTS TO THE CONTRARY, THE FACTS IN YOUR CASE ARE SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THOSE CONSIDERED IN B-154785, DATED OCTOBER 14, 1964. IN THAT CASE ORDERS OF AUGUST 28, 1962, ALSO ASSIGNED SERGEANT REEVES TO TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, OKLAHOMA, WITH PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT 252D COMMUNICATIONS GROUP (ANG) (AFRUS) (AFCS) SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, SPOKANE, WASHINGTON. HIS ASSIGNMENT WAS ALSO THAT OF TECHNICAL ADVISER TO THE GROUP, BUT WHEREAS YOU MOVED WITH THE GROUP TO ITS NEW LOCATION, AT THE TIME SERGEANT REEVES ARRIVED AT THE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, HE WAS ADVISED THAT THE 252D COMMUNICATIONS GROUP WAS ALREADY AT FOUR LAKES, WASHINGTON. HE WAS ASSIGNED QUARTERS AT SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND TRAVELED FROM THERE TO HIS DUTY STATION AT FOUR LAKES EACH DAY.

IN THAT DECISION, WE SAID THAT A MEMBER'S DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS THE PLACE WHERE HIS BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT IS FOR PERFORMANCE. WE STATED THAT SERGEANT REEVES' PERMANENT DUTY STATION (I.E., BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT) WAS AT THE FOUR LAKES COMMUNICATIONS STATION. WE STATED FURTHER THAT THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE RECORD TO INDICATE A NEED FOR HIS TRAVEL TO SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ON PUBLIC BUSINESS DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED OR THAT SUCH TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED OTHER THAN IN CONNECTION WITH HIS RETURN TO LODGINGS. THEREFORE, ALTHOUGH THE MEMBER CONTENDED THAT SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WAS HIS DUTY STATION AS SHOWN IN HIS TRAVEL ORDERS, WE DENIED THE CLAIM ON THE BASIS THAT THE TRAVEL WAS BETWEEN PLACE OF LODGING AND THE PLACE OF DUTY, WHICH IS A PERSONAL OBLIGATION RATHER THAN A MATTER OF PUBLIC BUSINESS AND THEREFORE NOT REIMBURSABLE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS.

YOU CONTEND, LIKE SERGEANT REEVES, THAT SINCE NO ORDERS WERE ISSUED TRANSFERRING YOU FROM THE SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, THAT CONTINUED TO BE YOUR PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND YOU SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE NECESSARY TRAVEL TO FOUR LAKES AND RETURN. IT HAS LONG BEEN HELD, HOWEVER, THAT A MEMBER'S DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS THE PLACE WHERE THE MEMBER'S BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT IS FOR PERFORMANCE AND THE PLACE TO WHICH HE MUST PROCEED OR RETURN UPON COMPLETION OF TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENTS OR OTHER ABSENCES FROM HIS NORMAL DUTY ASSIGNMENTS.

THE TERM "TEMPORARY DUTY" IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH M3003-2 OF THE REGULATIONS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING TRAVEL ALLOWANCE RIGHTS, TO MEAN DUTY AT A LOCATION OTHER THAN THE PERMANENT STATION, AT WHICH A MEMBER PERFORMS TEMPORARY DUTY UNDER ORDERS WHICH PROVIDE FOR FURTHER ASSIGNMENT TO A NEW PERMANENT STATION OR FOR RETURN TO THE OLD STATION.

TO QUALIFY UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCES, THEREFORE, TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY MUST BE PERFORMED BY DIRECTION OF COMPETENT TRAVEL ORDERS AT A POINT, OR POINTS, REMOVED FROM THE PLACE AT WHICH THE BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT IS FOR PERFORMANCE. WHAT CONSTITUTES A MEMBER'S DESIGNATED PLACE OF DUTY, CONSEQUENTLY, IS A QUESTION OF FACT, THE DETERMINATION OF WHICH IS TO BE MADE WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF ANY COMPETENT AVAILABLE EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THE PLACE WITHIN WHICH HE MUST PERFORM HIS BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT. 38 COMP. GEN. 656.

USUALLY, A MEMBER'S BASIC DUTY ASSIGNMENT IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF HIS ASSIGNMENT ORDERS. THE ASSIGNMENT AS PROVIDED IN HIS ORDERS IS NOT CONCLUSIVE, HOWEVER, IF THE FACTS OTHERWISE ESTABLISH THAT HIS BASIC ASSIGNMENT IS AT ANOTHER LOCATION. 41 COMP. GEN. 726. IN YOUR CASE, YOUR ASSIGNMENT WAS WITH THE 252D COMMUNICATIONS GROUP AND, AS FAR AS THE RECORD SHOWS, AFTER IT WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE FOUR LAKES NIKE SITE, YOU HAD NO FURTHER DUTIES TO PERFORM AT THE SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.

IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED, THE NIKE SITE AT FOUR LAKES WAS YOUR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY AND THAT TRAVEL BETWEEN THERE AND YOUR PLACE OF LODGING WAS YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. THE FACT THAT NO ORDERS WERE ISSUED PROVIDING FOR YOUR TRANSFER TO SUCH LOCATION AFFORDS NO BASIS TO REIMBURSE YOU FOR THE TRAVEL INVOLVED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT DATED MARCH 19, 1968, IS SUSTAINED. A COPY OF THIS DECISION IS BEING SENT TO CONGRESSMAN JERRY L. PETTIS FOR HIS INFORMATION.