A Navy petty officer claimed additional travel allowances for delivering his automobile to a port for overseas shipment during a permanent change-of-station move he made from the United States to Panama. The petty officer was ordered to proceed from his temporary duty station in California to South Carolina to board a military flight to his new duty station in Panama. However, he first went to Massachusetts for leave, drove his car to a port in New Jersey for shipment to Panama, and flew to South Carolina, via a commercial airline, where he boarded his assigned military flight to Panama. GAO found that a provision of the Uniformed Services Pay Act of 1981 authorizes travel allowances for service members transferred overseas to reimburse them for the expenses of taking their automobiles to and from ports of shipment. However, GAO contended that Congress did not intend this provision to allow for reimbursement for trips taken over unnecessarily circuitous routes to and from ports selected for personal convenience. Because the petty officer could have proceeded directly from California to South Carolina and delivered the vehicle there for shipment to Panama, GAO held that delivery of the automobile for shipment in New Jersey could not serve as the basis for the payment of any additional allowances. Accordingly, the petty officer's claim was denied.
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