Determination as to Whether Disability Incurred Was Proximate Result of Performing Active Duty or Inactive Duty Training

B-201191: Mar 17, 1981

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A request for an advance decision was made as to whether the disability of an Army National Guard member, incurred under unusual circumstances, can be considered the proximate result of performing active duty or inactive duty training under Federal regulations. The Army member was one of four enlisted members who misappropriated an Army truck and traveled an estimated 700-mile round trip. They signed out the truck without declaring their destination. On the way back to their duty station, the truck ran off the road and overturned, causing injuries to the claimant a passenger. In considering this case, GAO pointed out that, under Federal regulations, the Secretary concerned has broad authority to make determinations with respect to the retirement or separation of a military member for physical disability. This includes authority to determine if the disability involved was the proximate result of duty performance. Therefore, the decision as to whether the Army member's disability was or was not the proximate result of performing active duty or inactive duty training is committed by statute to the sound discretion of the Secretary concerned.