General Relieved on Sex and Alcohol Charges
Another senior officer has been relieved on morals charges.
AP (“Officials: Army general removed over alcohol, sex-related charges“):
An Army major general with U.S. Africa Command has been relieved of his post in connection with alcohol and sexual misconduct charges, defense officials said Thursday.
Officials said Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, was fired from his command last Thursday and he was fined a portion of his pay by Gen. Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command, after an administrative hearing and review. The officials said Ham lost confidence in Baker’s ability to command.
Baker has appealed the administrative action to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. But since senior commanders such as Ham have broad latitude in decisions to relieve subordinates of command, Hagel’s decision may focus more on the financial punishment doled out by Ham, officials said.
Baker took over the task force, based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, last May and was scheduled to leave the job in the near future.
He has returned to Washington and is temporarily serving as a special assistant to the director of the Army staff while he awaits Hagel’s decision. Such special assistant posts are routinely used as way stations for general officers who are under investigation and awaiting their fate, or for others who have been promoted and are waiting for their new job to open up.
Ham’s predecessor, Army Gen. William “Kip” Ward, was demoted in rank from four stars to three, and retired as a lieutenant general after investigators determined that he had misused government funds for lavish spending while heading U.S. Africa Command.
Baker is also one in a string of general officers who have been reprimanded or investigated for possible sexual misconduct.
The issue has raised the ire of Congress, where lawmakers have complained that military and defense leaders have not done enough to combat sexual assault and harassment in the ranks.
Once again, alcohol and sex — not mission competency — spell the doom of an officer’s career. I shall resist jokes involving Djibouti and the Horn of Africa.
via OTB Roving Correspondent Richard Gardner