MARINE FORCES RESERVE, New Orleans -- The MFR command is cracking down on the improper use of the Government Travel Charge Card.
Temporary Additional duty orders are very common at MFR, and most Marines and here have a GTCC. Problems often arise when Marines and sailors don’t know where they can and cannot use their travel card.
A Marine in TAD status is responsible for setting his own travel arrangements with Defense Travel System, according to Master Sgt. Clifford J. Meyers, the MFR G-1 Administration operations chief.
“It’s in the Marine’s best interest to use the card for all travel arrangements, rental cars and hotels,” said Meyers. “This will make their job easier when trying to file their travel claim. Keeping proper receipts and documentation will help with their claims as well.”
There are many do’s and don’ts that every Marine traveling on orders should know, according to the United States General Services Administration. Recommendations provided in a “Helpful Hints for Travel Card Use” handbook include:
- DO use your GTCC to pay for official travel expenses.
- DO obtain travel advances for official travel through an ATM if authorized by your agency.
- DO track your expenses while on travel so you have accurate information for filing your travel claim.
- DO keep your receipts for all transactions made on your GTCC.
- DO file your travel claim within five days after you complete your trip or every 30 days if you are on continuous travel.
- DO submit payment in full for each monthly bill.
- DO follow your bank’s dispute process for charges which are incorrect.
- DO contact your bank’s customer service number if you have questions about your monthly bill.
- DO be aware that misuse of the card could result in disciplinary actions by your agency.
- DO be aware that failure to pay your bill in a timely manner can result in suspension or cancellation of your card.
- DO return your card to your Agency/Organization Program Coordinator, to be destroyed if you leave your agency or retire.
- DO immediately report your lost or stolen card to you’re A/OPC and the card-issuing bank.
- DO destroy any lost or stolen cards that are recovered.
- DON’T use your travel charge card for personal use.
- DON’T obtain travel advances through the ATM which exceed your expected out of pocket expenditures for a trip.
- DON’T allow your monthly bill to become overdue, because this could result in suspension or cancellation of your card.
- DON’T wait for receipt of your monthly billing statement to file your travel claim.
- DON’T forget that the card is issued in your name, and liability for payment is your responsibility.
- DON’T write your personal identification number on your card or carry your PIN in your wallet.
Not following these rules while on orders can render serious consequences. For example, if you go more that 60 days without paying the balance in full, you will receive a 6105 entry into your Service Record Book, and may stick with you for the rest of your career. If you go over 120 days without paying, you could receive Non-Judicial Punishment, or even be court-martialed.
Marines/sailors are also being NJP’d for improper use of the GTCC. Using your card while not on orders and not paying the full balance when purchasing items not covered by per diem are examples of improper use.
“Using your GTCC properly is mostly common sense,” said Meyers. “Use it for your travel expenses, meals, etc.; keep receipts; and pay your bill on time. Senior leadership should ensure junior Marines/sailors are properly educated on the use of the card to prevent delinquencies.”
A quote from the Commander’s Policy Letter IRT GTCC (Force Policy Letter 1-08) para 2.c. reads:
“Commanders will ensure approving officials and all levels of leadership are counseled on the provisions of para 030607 of reference (a) and that failure to comply may result in administrative action being taken.”
When in doubt, a Marine/sailor can always refer to the Marine Corps Order 4600.40A on the Government Travel Charge Card Program.