B-167341, SEP 5, 1969

B-167341: Sep 5, 1969

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MILITARY MEMBER WHO SUBMITS EVIDENCE THAT APPLICATION TO MESS SEPARATELY WAS EXECUTED AND FORWARDED TO THE APPROVING AUTHORITY BUT WHO DOES NOT HAVE ANY EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT APPROVAL WAS GRANTED MAY NOT BE PAID FOR COMMUTED RATIONS. 7999096: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 4. THE LETTER WAS FORWARDED HERE BY THE NAVY FINANCE CENTER. YOU FURTHER STATED THAT AFTER A PERIOD WITHOUT RECEIVING THE ALLOWANCE YOU WERE INFORMED THAT YOUR APPLICATION "WAS LOST IN GUARD MAIL" SO YOU RESUBMITTED ANOTHER APPLICATION AS OF THE DATE OF THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION. YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE INFORMED BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER. YOU STATED ADDITIONALLY THAT A "CHOW PASS" WAS NOT ISSUED TO YOU AND THAT YOU DID NOT CONSUME ANY MEALS AT THE MESS HALL.

B-167341, SEP 5, 1969

MILITARY - COMMUTED RATIONS DECISION TO NAVY ENLISTED MEMBER SUSTAINING DISALLOWANCE OF CLAIM FOR COMMUTED RATIONS. MILITARY MEMBER WHO SUBMITS EVIDENCE THAT APPLICATION TO MESS SEPARATELY WAS EXECUTED AND FORWARDED TO THE APPROVING AUTHORITY BUT WHO DOES NOT HAVE ANY EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT APPROVAL WAS GRANTED MAY NOT BE PAID FOR COMMUTED RATIONS.

TO DENNIS LEE GREEN, BU1, USN, 7999096:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 4, 1969, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DATED MARCH 13, 1969, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR COMMUTED RATIONS FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 6, TO MARCH 20, 1968. THE LETTER WAS FORWARDED HERE BY THE NAVY FINANCE CENTER, CLEVELAND, OHIO, AND RECEIVED ON JUNE 9, 1969.

IN A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 12, 1968, TO THIS OFFICE, CLAIMING COMMUTED RATIONS FOR THE PERIOD INDICATED ABOVE, YOU STATED THAT WHEN YOU REPORTED TO AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION BATTALION TWO FOR DUTY ON JANUARY 6, 1968, YOU FILLED OUT THE REQUIRED APPLICATION FOR COMMUTED RATIONS, PURSUANT TO INSTRUCTIONS OF THE PERSONNEL OFFICE. YOU FURTHER STATED THAT AFTER A PERIOD WITHOUT RECEIVING THE ALLOWANCE YOU WERE INFORMED THAT YOUR APPLICATION "WAS LOST IN GUARD MAIL" SO YOU RESUBMITTED ANOTHER APPLICATION AS OF THE DATE OF THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION. AS TO THIS SECOND APPLICATION, YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE INFORMED BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER, NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE, THAT UNDER NAVY REGULATIONS IT COULD NOT BE APPROVED RETROACTIVELY, BUT ONLY FOR THE PERIOD COMMENCING MARCH 21, 1968. YOU STATED ADDITIONALLY THAT A "CHOW PASS" WAS NOT ISSUED TO YOU AND THAT YOU DID NOT CONSUME ANY MEALS AT THE MESS HALL.

ON SEPTEMBER 19, 1968 , THE COMMANDING OFFICER, AMPHIBIOUS CONSTRUCTION BATTALION TWO, PLACED AN ENDORSEMENT ON YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12, 1968, TO THE EFFECT THAT UNDER FORMER POLICY YOUR REQUEST FOR COMMUTED RATIONS WAS FORWARDED BY GUARD MAIL ON JANUARY 6, 1968, TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER, NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE, FOR APPROVAL AND THAT IN VIEW OF THIS POLICY ORAL APPROVAL BY TELEPHONE WAS NOT UTILIZED. HE ALSO EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WAS MADE IN YOUR CASE.

THE CLAIM WAS REFERRED TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON JANUARY 9, 1969, AND IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT ACCOMPANYING THE CLAIM IT WAS STATED THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT AN APPLICATION FOR COMMUTED RATIONS WAS EVER SUBMITTED AND APPROVED EFFECTIVE JANUARY 6, 1968. BASED ON THIS INFORMATION THE CLAIMS DIVISION DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM BY SETTLEMENT DATED MARCH 13, 1969.

IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 4, 1969, YOU QUOTED A STATEMENT FROM THE ENDORSEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 19, 1968, MENTIONED ABOVE, THAT "ON 6 JANUARY 1968 SUCH A REQUEST WAS FORWARDED FOR PO GREEN" AND YOU REQUEST A REVIEW OF YOUR CLAIM IN VIEW OF THAT STATEMENT.

SECTION 40 OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF A BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE TO AN ENLISTED MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHEN PERMISSION TO MESS SEPARATELY IS GRANTED. PARAGRAPH A 4404(7) OF THE 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 THE MEMBER'S REQUEST IS APPROVED. IT FURTHER PROVIDES THAT THE COMMANDING OFFICER'S APPROVAL OF A REQUEST MAY NOT COVER A RETROACTIVE PERIOD PRIOR TO THE DATE AND HOUR THE REQUEST IS SUBMITTED.

UNDER THE ABOVE LAW AND REGULATIONS THE PAYMENT OF THE SEPARATE RATIONS ALLOWANCE TO A NAVY ENLISTED MEMBER IS DEPENDENT UPON A SHOWING THAT HE NOT ONLY EXECUTED AN APPLICATION TO MESS SEPARATELY BUT THAT SUCH REQUEST WAS APPROVED BY PROPER AUTHORITY PRIOR TO THE PERIOD INVOLVED. WHILE THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU EXECUTED AN APPLICATION ON OR PRIOR TO JANUARY 6, 1968, TO MESS SEPARATELY AND THAT YOUR UNIT COMMANDER FORWARDED THAT APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL, THE FACT REMAINS THAT THERE IS NOTHING FROM ANY OFFICIAL SOURCE AFFIRMATIVELY SHOWING THAT THIS APPLICATION WAS APPROVED BY APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY, THAT IS, THE COMMANDING OFFICER, NAVY AMPHIBIOUS BASE. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH APPROVAL, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE COMMUTED RATIONS TO YOU FOR THE PERIOD CLAIMED.

IT MAY BE POINTED OUT THAT EVEN IF IT WERE ESTABLISHED THAT THE LOSS OF YOUR APPLICATION IN THE TRANSMISSION PROCESS RESULTED FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR, SUCH CONCLUSION WOULD NOT FURNISH A BASIS FOR FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 13, 1969, IS SUSTAINED.