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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 25. TO THE BENEFITS OF 10 U.S.C. 6148 (A) IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH HE WAS INJURED ON JANUARY 27. VINCENT WAS ORDERED TO PERFORM INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING AT THE U.S. THE FACTS ARE STATED AS FOLLOWS: "AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE EVENING DRILL A PORTION OF THE DRILL HALL WAS DESIGNATED AS THE QUARTERDECK. IT WAS OUR VIEW THAT CONGRESS INTENDED TO PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR INJURIES SUFFERED BY INACTIVE DUTY TRAINEES ONLY WHILE ACTUALLY PERFORMING INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING. MEISTER WAS INJURED AFTER ENTERING THE TRAINING COMPOUND AND WHILE PROCEEDING ON FOOT TOWARD THE DRILL HALL TO REPORT FOR INSPECTION AND DUTY. THE COURT HELD THAT HE WAS "WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HIS ASSIGNED DUTIES WHEN HE SLIPPED" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 10 U.S.C. 6148 (A).

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B-148324, JUL. 16, 1965

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 25, 1965, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY REQUESTING A DECISION CONCERNING THE ENTITLEMENT OF WILLIAM GEORGE VINCENT, SR, USNR-R, TO THE BENEFITS OF 10 U.S.C. 6148 (A) IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH HE WAS INJURED ON JANUARY 27,1965, WHEN HE ATTENDED AN INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING DRILL. THE REQUEST FOR DECISION HAS BEEN ASSIGNED NO. SS-N-857 BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

VINCENT WAS ORDERED TO PERFORM INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING AT THE U.S. NAVAL AND MARINE CORPS TRAINING CENTER, LANSING, MICHIGAN, ON THE EVENING OF JANUARY 27, 1965. THE FACTS ARE STATED AS FOLLOWS:

"AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE EVENING DRILL A PORTION OF THE DRILL HALL WAS DESIGNATED AS THE QUARTERDECK, WHERE THE COMMAND DUTY OFFICER ASSUMED THE WATCH AT A POSITION APPROXIMATELY THREE FEET FROM THE REAR DOOR OF THE HALL. THE PLATOON OFFICERS DISMISSED THEIR PLATOONS AND THE MEN INDIVIDUALLY CROSSED THE QUARTERDECK TO SALUTE THE COMMAND DUTY OFFICER, REQUEST PERMISSION TO LEAVE THE CENTER, RECEIVE SUCH PERMISSION, TURNAND DEPART THROUGH THE DOOR. IN HIS TURN VINCENT PERFORMED THIS TRADITIONAL NAVAL EVOLUTION. AFTER RECEIVING PERMISSION TO LEAVE HE TURNED FROM THE COMMAND DUTY OFFICER TO THE DOOR AND PUSHED IT OPEN. AS HE STEPPED INTO THE THRESHOLD A GUST OF WIND BLEW THE DOOR BACK AGAINST HIM. THE GLASS PANE SHATTERED, LACERATING HIS HEAD AND HAND.'

PRIOR TO THE DECISION OF JULY 12, 1963, IN MEISTER V. UNITED STATES, CT.CL. NO. 54-62, IT WAS OUR VIEW THAT CONGRESS INTENDED TO PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR INJURIES SUFFERED BY INACTIVE DUTY TRAINEES ONLY WHILE ACTUALLY PERFORMING INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING. SEE 32 COMP. GEN. 554 (1953) AND 38 COMP. GEN. 841 (1959). MEISTER WAS INJURED AFTER ENTERING THE TRAINING COMPOUND AND WHILE PROCEEDING ON FOOT TOWARD THE DRILL HALL TO REPORT FOR INSPECTION AND DUTY, WHEN HE SLIPPED AND FRACTURED HIS ANKLE. THE COURT HELD THAT HE WAS "WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HIS ASSIGNED DUTIES WHEN HE SLIPPED" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 10 U.S.C. 6148 (A), BUT STATED THAT IT WOULD NOT ATTEMPT TO "LAY DOWN A RULE OF GENERAL APPLICATION," THAT IS, IT LIMITED ITS DECISION TO THE PARTICULAR FACTS INVOLVED IN THAT CASE. ACCORDINGLY, WE CONCLUDED IN 43 COMP. GEN. 412, 415, THAT THE MEISTER CASE SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A PRECEDENT IN ANY SIMILAR CASES.

CONCERNING THE NAVAL TRAINING DRILL DISMISSAL PROCEDURE THE LETTER STATES:

"ALTHOUGH THE PLATOON OFFICERS HAD DISMISSED THE MEN FROM THEIR FORMATIONS, VINCENT WAS AT THE TIME OF INJURY STILL PHYSICALLY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE DRILL HALL AND WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE COMMAND DUTY OFFICER. QUARTERDECK CEREMONY AND PROCEDURE ARE A PART OF ANCIENT NAVAL TRADITION. ABOARD SHIP, ONLY AT THE QUARTERDECK DOES A SAILOR RECEIVE FINAL PERMISSION TO GO ASHORE, AND THEN ONLY AFTER AGAIN SALUTING THE WATCH OFFICER AND THE COLORS. TO TRANSFER THIS CEREMONY TO THE SETTING OF A RESERVE DRILL HALL IS NOT CONSIDERED TO ALTER ITS BASIC NATURE AND THE CONTINUING COMMAND CONTROL OF THE WATCH OFFICER THROUGHOUT THE EVOLUTION UNTIL THE MEMBER HAS ACTUALLY LEFT THE AREA OF THE QUARTERDECK. THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT THE COMMAND DUTY OFFICER COULD HAVE RECALLED VINCENT AT THE MOMENT OF THE ACCIDENT AND THAT VINCENT WOULD THEN STILL HAVE BEEN UNDER MILITARY AUTHORITY. THUS, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING QUARTERDECK CEREMONY SUCH AS WAS CONDUCTED IN THIS CASE,"DISMISSAL" MUST BE CONSTRUED AS NOT ONLY VERBAL ISSUANCE OF THE ORDER, BUT THE FEW MOMENTS IT TAKES FOR THE MEN IN RANKS TO EXECUTE THAT ORDER. VINCENT, FURTHERMORE, WAS STILL ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT.'

IN THE VOLPE AND SCOTT CASES CONSIDERED IN 43 COMP. GEN. 412, ONE MEMBER WAS INJURED DURING THE SCHEDULED LUNCH BREAK BETWEEN THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON DRILL SESSIONS AND THE OTHER MEMBER WAS INJURED WHILE ENGAGED IN A HANDBALL GAME DURING THE SCHEDULED TRAINING PERIOD AFTER THE LAUNCHING OF AN ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE HELICOPTER FLIGHT WHILE AWAITING THE RETURN OF THE FLIGHT SQUADRON. WE THERE SAID THAT:

"* * * THE PERIOD OF TRAINING EXTENDS FROM THE TIME THE MAN IS FIRST MUSTERED IN UNTIL THE END OF HIS SCHEDULED INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING ON THAT DAY. IT CANNOT BE SAID THAT DURING A SCHEDULED LUNCH BREAK (VOLPE CASE) OR A TIME WHEN NO ACTUAL DUTY IS BEING PERFORMED DURING A DRILL (SCOTT CASE) THE MAN REVERTS TO HIS NORMAL CIVILIAN STATUS SO AS TO BE OUTSIDE THE PROTECTION OF 10 U.S.C. 6148 (A) DURING THOSE TIMES. IN NEITHER OF THE CASES DESCRIBED HAD THE MEN BEEN RELEASED FROM MILITARY CONTROL AT THE TIME THE INJURIES WERE SUSTAINED. WHILE IT MAY NOT BE CONCLUDED THAT A RESERVIST IS EMPLOYED ON INACTIVE DUTY FOR THE ENTIRE DAY ON WHICH A DRILL OR DRILLS ARE PERFORMED, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT, WHEN A RESERVIST IS ORDERED TO PERFORM INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING, HE IS SO EMPLOYED FROM THE TIME HE FIRST MUSTERS IN FOR THAT DUTY UNTIL THE END OF THE ORDERED PERIOD OF SUCH DUTY FOR THAT DAY. * * *.'

IN DECISION OF JUNE 1, 1965, B-156628, WE HELD THAT A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL GUARD WHO HAD BEEN ORDERED TO PERFORM INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING OVER A WEEK-END PERIOD AND WAS INJURED DURING THE PERIOD AFTER THE SCHEDULED SATURDAY TRAINING HAD BEEN COMPLETED AND PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF THE SUNDAY TRAINING, BUT IN THE TRAINING AREA WHERE HE WAS REQUIRED TO REMAIN, WAS DEEMED TO HAVE BEEN INJURED WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 32 U.S.C. 318, THE PROVISIONS OF WHICH ARE SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL TO THE PROVISIONS OF 10 U.S.C. 6148 (A). WE THERE CONCLUDED THAT THE SITUATION INVOLVED WAS NOT ESSENTIALLY DIFFERENT THAN THAT INVOLVED IN THE VOLPE CASE AND THAT THE MEMBER HAD NOT BEEN RELEASED FROM MILITARY CONTROL, AND THEREFORE MAY BE DEEMED TO HAVE RECEIVED THE INJURY WHILE ENGAGED IN AN INACTIVE DUTY TRAINING DRILL WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 32 U.S.C. 318.

IT MAY BE NOTED THAT THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES PROVISIONS OF 10 U.S.C. 6148 ARE NOW CONTAINED IN 37 U.S.C. 204 (I).

WHILE THE MATTER IS NOT ENTIRELY FREE FROM DOUBT, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED THE ACTION OF VINCENT IN ATTEMPTING TO OPEN THE EXIT DOOR WAS PART AND PARCEL OF ONE CONTINUOUS TRANSACTION IN TERMINATING HIS PARTICIPATION IN THE TRAINING DRILL AND THAT HE, STILL BEING UNDER MILITARY CONTROL AT THE TIME OF HIS INJURY, IS ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF 10 U.S.C. 6148 (A) AND 37 U.S.C. 204 (I).

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