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[No. 181)

HEARING ON S. 391 FOR THE RELIEF OF JACK LECEL HAAS

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON PRIVATE Bills No. 1,

COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS,

Washington, D. C., Wednesday, February 16, 1944. (The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:30 a. m., the Honorable Michael J. Bradley presiding, for consideration of S. 391, which is as follows:)

(S. 391, 78th Cong., Ist sess.)

AN ACT For the relief of Jack Lecel Haas

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in the administration of any laws conferring rights, privileges, or benefits upon persons honorably discharged from the United States Navy, their widows, children, and dependent relatives, Jack Lecel Haas shall be held and considered to have been discharged with a good discharge, under honorable conditions on April 27, 1928: Provided, That no pension, pay, bounty, or other benefit shall be held to have accrued prior to the enactment of this Act by reason of its enactment. Passed the Senate May 20, 1943. Attest:

EDWIN A. Halsey, Secretary. Mr. BRADLEY. We have next for consideration S. 391, an act for the relief of Jack Lecel Haas. The report is as follows:

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Navy DEPARTMENT,

Washington, June 3, 1943. Hon. CARL VINSON, Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The bill (S. 391) for the relief of Jack Lecel Haas, was referred by your committee to the Navy Department with request for views and recommendation relative to this measure.

The purpose of this bill is to consider Jack Lecel Haas to have been discharged with a good discharge, under honorable conditions on April 27, 1928.

The records of the Navy Department show that Jack Lecel Haas was born on October 22, 1902, and first enlisted in the Navy on December 4, 1922, to serve for 4 years. His record shows the following:

‘April 22, 1923: Failing to stand watch. He was convicted by deck court. "May 21, 1923: Absent over liberty 18 hours and 20 minutes. He was convicted by summary court martial.

“February 12, 1926: Absent over liberty 4 hours and 30 minutes. He was convicted by deck court.

“December 31, 1926: Honorably discharged.”

Haas reenlisted in the Navy on January 23, 1928, and at that time stated under oath he was a single man and executed a beneficiary slip to that effect. Approximately 1 week after Haas reenlisted his wife visited the Navy Department for the purpose of having him discharged from the Navy in order that he could take a civil-service position at the Navy Yard, Washington, D. C. Mrs. Haas was advised that the only grounds on which such discharge could be made was that of

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94266-44-No. 181

urgent dependency. On March 19, 1928, Haas submitted a request for specialorder discharge based on the dependency of his wife. Because of this man's false statement regarding his marital status at the time of his reenlistment the Navy Department directed that he be discharged as undesirable because of fraudulent enlistment and he was issued such character of discharge on April 27, 1928, at Hampton Roads, Va.

Inasmuch as Haas, when he reenlisted, held a second class petty officer's rating and could, therefore, have been reenlisted in spite of the fact that he was married, the Navy Department considers that his statements regarding his marital status were not intentionally false. Further, under the present policy, and the same conditions as obtained in this case, the Navy Department would not discharge Haas as undesirable.

This bill, if enacted into law, would result in no cost to the Navy; however, it is probable that a charge under the Veterans' Administration would be involved now or in the future.

The Navy Department interposes no opposition to the enactment of the bill S. 391.

The Navy Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the submission of this report. Sincerely yours,

Ralph A. BARD, Acting. Mr. BRADLEY. If he was eligible to reenlist without regard to that statement I think we ought to give him the benefit of what the law

gave him.

Mr. BLACKNEY. I move that the bill be reported favorably.
Mr. BRADLEY. The Department interposes no objection to this bill?

Captain HEDERMAN. No, sir. As a matter of fact I go one step further and say that the Navy Department recommends its adoption.

(Thereupon the committee proceeded to the consideration of other business.)

[No. 182)

HEARING ON S. 176 FOR THE RELIEF OF AUSTIN L. TIERNEY

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON PRIVATE Bills No. 1,

COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS,

Washington, D. C., Wednesday, February 16, 1944. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:30 a. m., the Honorable Michael J. Bradley presiding, for consideration of S. 176, which is as follows:

(S. 176, 78th Cong., 1st sess.)

AN ACT For the relief of Austin L. Tierney

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Private Law Numbered 99, Seventy-fourth Congress, an Act for the relief of Austin L. Tierney, is amended as follows: ": Provided, That compensation, retirement pay, back pay, or other benefits shall be held to have accrued and that this man will be entitled to the benefits, privileges, and rights conferred upon an honorably discharged sailor by reason of the passage of this Act."

Passed the Senate February 15, 1943.
Attest:

EDWIN A. HALSEY, Secretary. Mr. BRADLEY. The next matter is S. 176, an act for the relief of Austin L. Tierney.

Mr. Heffernan, who is a member of the Naval Affairs Committee, introduced a bill, H. R. 1586, for Father Peter Duffey, and because he is a member of the committee, I think Mr. Vinson wants to extend every courtesy to him regarding this bill. Will you be good enough to ask the Bureau of the Budget to give us the report on it as quickly as possible. As I understand it he sustained injuries due to heroic services he performed at the time of the burning of the Normandie. He was a civilian clergyman, and Mr. Heffernan introduced this bill for him, and because he is a member of the committee, Mr. Vinson wants to handle that as expeditiously as possible and get it out as quick as we can.

Captain Ramsay. Yes, sir; I have been after the Bureau of the Budget to get it out, but there is some hold-up on it, in getting the view of the Veterans' Bureau on it.

Mr. BRADLEY. Read the report, Mr. Clerk. (Thereupon the report on S. 176 was read by the clerk, as follows:)

(No. 63]

FOR THE RELIEF OF Austin L. TIERNEY (S. 176)

Navy DEPARTMENT,

Washington, March 23, 1943. Hon. CARL VINSON, Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The bill (S. 176) for the relief of Austin L. Tierney was referred to the Navy Department by your committee with request for report and recommendation. 94266—44-No. 182

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The purpose of the bill S. 176 is to amend, as follows, Private Law No. 99, Seventy-fourth Congress, an act for the relief of Austin L. Tierney: "Provided, That compensation, retirement pay, back pay, or other benefits shall be held to have accrued and that this man will be entitled to the benefits, privileges, and rights conferred upon an honorably discharged sailor by reason of the passage of this act.”

Private Law No. 99, approved June 24, 1935, provided that Tierney "shall be held and considered to have been honorably discharged from the naval service of the United States as a fireman, third class, on April 25, 1918: Provided, That no compensation, retirement pay, back pay, or other benefits shall be held to have accrued, nor to accrue in the future, by reason of the passage of this act."

The enactment of Private Law No. 99 was prompted by the doubt cast on Tierney's mental condition at the time of the commission of the offense for which he was tried (10 days' absence) and by a study of his medical record prior to his enlistment. Under the circumstances of this case the Navy Department perceives no objection to further relief for Tierney so as to accomplish, in general, the objective of the bill S. 176. It is recommended, however, that it be revised in accordance with the enclosed draft.

The Navy Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that if amended as above indicated the enactment of the proposed legislation would not be in conflict with the program of the President. Sincerely yours,

FRANK Knox. The CLERK. We have a letter, Mr. Chairman, from the Veterans' Administration on this. Do you have a copy of that letter?

Mr. BRADLEY. What do they say?
The Clerk. It is a pretty long letter.
Mr. BRADLEY. What is a synopsis of it?

The CLERK. I think they want to amend it. Do yoụ want me to read the letter?

Mr. HEIDINGER. What is the substance of the letter?

Mr. BRADLEY. It seems to me the object of the bill is to give him an honorable discharge in order to make him eligible for certain compensation, and it seems that any offense he committed which brought about a discharge other than honorable was because of a mental condition. Do you have any information on that?

Captain HEDERMAN. No, sir; except by private legislation a few years ago, in the Seventy-fourth Congress, he was considered to have been honorably discharged. Under the provisions of that private act no compensation was to have accrued or to accrue in the future. Now, they want to wipe that proviso out and say that compensation will accrue for anything that the Veterans' Administration wants to give him.

Mr. BRADLEY. What does the Veterans' Administration say?
The CLERK (reading):

Further reference is made to your letter dated February 23, 1943, requesting a report on S. 176, Seventy-eighth Congress, an act for the relief of Austin L. Tierney, which provides:

“That Private Law Numbered 99, Seventy-fourth Congress, an Act for the relief of Austin L. Tierney, is amended as follows: ': Provided, That compensation, retirement pay, back pay, or other benefits shall be held to have accrued and that this man will be entitled to the benefits, privileges, and rights conferred upon an honorably discharged sailor by reason of the passage of this Act.'”

Private Law No. 99, Seventy-fourth Congress, approved June 24, 1935, provides:

"That in the administration of any laws conferring rights, privileges, and benefits upon honorably discharged soldiers, Austin L. Tierney, who served as a fireman, third-class, United States Navy, shall be held and considered to have been honorably discharged from the naval service of the United States as a fireman, third class, on April 25, 1918: Provided, That no compensation, retirement pay,

back pay, or other benefits shall be held to have accrued, nor to accrue in the future, by reason of the passage of this Act."

It will be noted that S. 176 does not provide for the repeal of the proviso of Private Law No. 99, Seventy-fourth Congress, and that the provisos of Private Law No. 99 and S. 176 are contradictory.

The records of the Veterans' Administration indicate that Austin L. Tierney enlisted in the United States Navy on May 14, 1917, and was dishonorably discharged December 28, 1918, as the result of the findings of a general court martial on April 25, 1918. The charge for which Mr. Tierney was court martialed was absence from station and duty after his leave had expired. The specification in the charge was that after expiration of leave on December 26, 1917, he failed to return to his station and duty and remained absent therefrom without leave from proper authorities for a period of about 10 days. Upon entry of a plea of guilty, he was sentenced to be confined for a period of 1 year and 6 months and then to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Navy. While under confinement in the naval hospital, Portsmouth, N. H., he was brought before a board of medical survey in September 1918, because of an apparent manic onset.

His case was diagnosed as psychosis, manic depressive, origin not in line of duty and not due to his own misconduct.

Mr. BRADLEY. Origin not in the line of duty ?

The CLERK (reading):
Origin not in line of duty and not due to his own misconduct.

Information furnished by the Navy Department indicates that the bill, if enacted, would probably result in the following costs: (1) $112, representing mileage to which Tierney would have been entitled at the time of his discharge; (2) for 4 months' pay at the rate of $24 per month, lost while absent without leave and conviction by court martial; and (3) $848 under the appropriations of the Veterans' Administration for adjusted compensation,

Mr. BRADLEY. What is the date of this letter?
The CLERK. March 6, 1943.
Mr. GRANT. What is that $848?

The CLERK. Appropriations of the Veterans' Administration for adjusted compensation. [Reading:) and “possible further charges against such appropriations for hospitalization, disability allowance, and other benefits of which the Navy Department has no knowledge."

The available records pertaining to the case of Mr. Tierney do not indicate the nature or extent of any service-connected disability from which he has suffered since discharge from naval service. Enactment of the bill, however, would grant him entitlement to compensation in proportion to the degree of any disability resulting from service. The proviso would require retroactive payment of any compensation which could be held to have accrued, the amount of which cannot be estimated. Generally, bills of this nature prohibit payment of accrued benefits, but authorize benefits prospectively only under the present laws. It is the policy of the Veterans' Administration not to recommend proposed legislation which might result in retroactive payments of benefits or gratuities which are basically designed for the current support of the recipient. Accordingly, it is recommended that the bill be amended to provide for the payment of benefits, otherwise authorized, prospectively insofar as the laws administered by the Veterans' Administration are concerned as indicated in the attached draft of a proposed amendment of S. 176.

If amended, as suggested, the Veterans Administration would recommend favorable consideration of the bill, but for the reasons stated cannot recommend favorable consideration of the same in its present form.

Advice has been received from the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection by that office to the submission of this report to your Committee. Very truly yours,

FRANK T. HINES, Administrator. Mr. BRADLEY. That would apply to future payments not retroactively. Private Law No. 99, Seventy-fourth Congress, provides:

That in the administration of any laws conferring rights, privileges, and benefits upon honorably discharged soldiers, Austin L. Tierney, who served as a fireman,

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