B-167214, JUN. 26, 1969

B-167214: Jun 26, 1969

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USN: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 20. THE LATTER OFFICER APPROVED YOUR REQUEST AND YOUR PAY ACCOUNT WAS CREDITED WITH COMMUTED RATIONS EFFECTIVE THAT DATE. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE PERIOD IN QUESTION FOR THE REASON THAT THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE PRESENTED TO SHOW THAT YOU HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED TO MESS SEPARATELY. YOU INDICATE THAT YOU HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE AS TO WHY APPROVAL OF YOUR REQUEST WAS DELAYED BUT STATE THAT BECAUSE YOUR PAY CHECKS VARIED AS TO AMOUNTS. THE NONPAYMENT OF COMMUTED RATIONS WAS NOT DISCOVERED UNTIL NOVEMBER 1967 WHEN YOU REQUESTED A TABULATION OF YOUR PAY ACCOUNTS FROM THE DISBURSING OFFICE AT ATSUGI. AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF A BASIC PERMISSION TO MESS SEPARATELY IS GRANTED.'.

B-167214, JUN. 26, 1969

TO ADJ2 GARY PAUL RICHTER, USN:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 20, 1969, IN EFFECT REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DATED OCTOBER 24, 1968, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR COMMUTED RATIONS FROM 0800 MARCH 11, 1967, THROUGH 0759 NOVEMBER 21, 1967.

IT APPEARS THAT APPROXIMATELY 2 MONTHS AFTER YOU REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HELICOPTER COMBAT SUPPORT SQUADRON ONE DETACHMENT, ATSUGI, JAPAN, YOU SUBMITTED AN APPLICATION ON MARCH 11, 1967, FOR COMMUTED RATIONS TO YOUR UNIT COMMANDER, WHO PURPORTEDLY FORWARDED YOUR REQUEST BY FIRST ENDORSEMENT DATED THE SAME DAY TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER, U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION, ATSUGI, JAPAN, FOR APPROVAL. BY SECOND ENDORSEMENT DATED NOVEMBER 21, 1967, THE LATTER OFFICER APPROVED YOUR REQUEST AND YOUR PAY ACCOUNT WAS CREDITED WITH COMMUTED RATIONS EFFECTIVE THAT DATE. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE PERIOD IN QUESTION FOR THE REASON THAT THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE PRESENTED TO SHOW THAT YOU HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED TO MESS SEPARATELY, AS REQUIRED BY LAW AND REGULATIONS, FOR THE PERIOD PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 21, 1967.

YOU INDICATE THAT YOU HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE AS TO WHY APPROVAL OF YOUR REQUEST WAS DELAYED BUT STATE THAT BECAUSE YOUR PAY CHECKS VARIED AS TO AMOUNTS, DUE TO OTHER REASONS, THE NONPAYMENT OF COMMUTED RATIONS WAS NOT DISCOVERED UNTIL NOVEMBER 1967 WHEN YOU REQUESTED A TABULATION OF YOUR PAY ACCOUNTS FROM THE DISBURSING OFFICE AT ATSUGI.

SECTION 402, TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF A BASIC PERMISSION TO MESS SEPARATELY IS GRANTED.' PARAGRAPH A-4404 (7), BUREAU OF NAVAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, PROVIDES THAT ENLISTED PERSONNEL, ON DUTY WHERE A GENERAL MESS IS OPERATED, MAY BE AUTHORIZED TO MESS SEPARATELY AND PAID A COMMUTED RATION COMMENCING ON THE DATE AND HOUR ON WHICH THE MEMBER'S REQUEST IS APPROVED.

UNDER THE ABOVE LAW AND REGULATIONS YOUR ENTITLEMENT TO COMMUTED RATIONS IS DEPENDENT UPON A SHOWING THAT PRIOR TO OR AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PERIOD INVOLVED YOU WERE IN FACT AUTHORIZED TO MESS SEPARATELY BY PROPER AUTHORITY. IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM INDICATES THAT YOU APPLIED FOR COMMUTED RATIONS ON MARCH 11, 1967, THERE IS NOTHING FROM ANY OFFICIAL SOURCE AFFIRMATIVELY SHOWING THAT AN APPLICATION, BY YOU, WAS APPROVED BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE NAVAL AIR STATION OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 21, 1967.

WHILE WE KNOW OF NO REASON WHY YOUR REQUEST OF MARCH 11, 1967, SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN APPROVED AT THAT TIME AND IT MAY BE THAT THE FAILURE TO ISSUE THE NECESSARY APPROVAL WAS DUE TO ERROR OR OVERSIGHT BY ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL AT THE AIR STATION, NEVERTHELESS, THERE IS NOTHING IN THE REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES AN AUTOMATIC RIGHT TO COMMUTED RATIONS BY THE MERE FILING OF AN APPLICATION FORM.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF YOUR CASE WE ARE WITHOUT LEGAL AUTHORITY TO ALLOW THE COMMUTED RATIONS FOR THE PERIOD CLAIMED BY YOU. ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 10, 1969, IS SUSTAINED.

AS TO YOUR STATEMENT THAT YOU ALWAYS PAID FOR YOUR MEALS WHEN YOU ATE IN THE GENERAL MESS, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT NO CHARGE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE FOR SUCH MEALS CONSUMED BY YOU. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO A REFUND OF ANY AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR THOSE MEALS. CLAIM FOR REFUND OF THE AMOUNTS EXPENDED BY YOU FOR THAT PURPOSE WILL BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION PROVIDED YOU ARE ABLE TO ESTABLISH THE NUMBER OF MEALS YOU ATE THERE AT PERSONAL EXPENSE AND THE AMOUNT YOU PAID FOR THOSE MEALS.