Another day brought even more general disarray for the country to stomach.
Gen. William “Kip” Ward, the one-time head of the U.S. Africa Command, was demoted Tuesday and ordered to repay $82,000 he blew on extravagant trips and other unauthorized expenses.
The move by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta means Ward will lose one star and retire as a three-star lieutenant general, officials said. The penalty will dock the 63-year-old Ward about $30,000 a year in pension pay — although he’ll still pull down about $208,000 annually.
The demotion is just the latest news of misbehavior by military brass. It followed the resignation of ex-Army Gen. David Petraeus from his post as CIA director for an adulterous affair, and reports that Marine Gen. John Allen is under investigation for his “flirtatious” exchanges with the whistleblower in the Petraeus case.
Ward’s indiscretions included a stayover at a $750-a-night Bermuda hotel, two nights at the Waldorf Astoria and other lengthy stays at lavish inns. He and wife Joyce also accepted dinner and Broadway show tickets — one offer included a backstage meeting with Oscar winner Denzel Washington — from a government contractor, officials said.
Ward, in a statement issued by a spokesman, said he was “not perfect … (but) has never been motivated by personal gain.” Ward, who started in the Army infantry 41 years ago, became head of the Department of Defense Africa Command on Oct. 1, 2007.
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