B-231022, Nov 16, 1988

B-231022: Nov 16, 1988

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Whose actual temporary duty location was Honduras. May be reimbursed on the basis of amended orders issued retroactively since there was an error which was apparent on the face of the orders. Burgess: Z-2863725 - B-231022: Enclosed is your file Z-2863725. This is a response to a request by Lieutenant Colonel Frederick O. Colonel Burgess was ordered to active duty for training by order 153 3. The actual training site was in Honduras. He incurred the travel expenses which are the subject of this claim. His travel to Honduras was initially considered to be under verbal orders. A written order confirming that command was issued June 14. The Claims Division's denial of Colonel Burgess's claim for reimbursement was based on paragraph 9a of Army Regulation 310-10.

B-231022, Nov 16, 1988

MILITARY PERSONNEL - Travel - Travel expenses - Reimbursement - Travel orders - Amendments DIGEST: Travel expenses of an Army officer whose orders directed him to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, but whose actual temporary duty location was Honduras, may be reimbursed on the basis of amended orders issued retroactively since there was an error which was apparent on the face of the orders.

Travel Expense Claim - Colonel Frederick O. Burgess: Z-2863725 - B-231022:

Enclosed is your file Z-2863725. This is a response to a request by Lieutenant Colonel Frederick O. Burgess for reconsideration of a Claims Group settlement disallowing his claim for reimbursement of travel expenses. In view of new information submitted with his appeal of the settlement, his claim for reimbursement may be allowed if otherwise correct.

Colonel Burgess was ordered to active duty for training by order 153 3, dated September 8, 1983. Although the order identified MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, as his duty station, the actual training site was in Honduras. Colonel Burgess proceeded to Honduras and remained there from October 1, 1983, until January 1984. While there, he incurred the travel expenses which are the subject of this claim.

Because order 153-3 identified MacDill Air Force Base as Colonel Burgess's temporary duty point, his travel to Honduras was initially considered to be under verbal orders. A written order confirming that command was issued June 14, 1984. The Claims Division's denial of Colonel Burgess's claim for reimbursement was based on paragraph 9a of Army Regulation 310-10, Military Orders, which states that a written order confirming a verbal command should be issued within 30 days of the command if that command necessitates the expenditure of public funds. If the order is issued more than 30 days after the verbal command, it must be accompanied by a written justification for the delay. The confirming order for Colonel Burgess was considered to be untimely and without adequate explanation for the delay.

After the claim was denied, the Inspector General reviewed Colonel Burgess's original order and made an extensive search for related documents. The search revealed that the original order was actually amended on February 3, 1984, to identify Honduras as Colonel Burgess's destination. Also discovered was an amendment executed in December 1983, which extended Colonel Burgess's stay in Honduras until January 1984.

Furthermore, it appears that the original order, 153-3, was incorrectly issued. The order stated that Colonel Burgess was to participate in Exercise AHUAS TARA II, which was conducted in Honduras rather than at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. In addition, the order specifically permitted travel to Panama, which would not have been necessary if Colonel Burgess were to remain in Florida.

It is well established that orders may not be retroactively amended to increase or decrease the rights of members that vest when travel is performed. However, when an error is apparent on the face of the orders or the facts and circumtances show that a different result was intended, we have authorized retroactive amendment of orders to rectify the mistake. See 57 Comp.Gen. 447 (1978).

In Colonel Burgess's case it is obvious that a different result was intended than was shown in the original orders. Accordingly, Colonel Burgess may be reimbursed in accordance with the amended orders if his claim is otherwise correct.