Source: USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The Air Force rapped a former top nuclear missile general for “conduct unbecoming an officer” after his alcohol-fueled binge on a two-day visit to Moscow in July that included a late-night meeting with local women and offensive behavior to his Russian hosts.
The findings of the Air Force inspector general report about Maj. Gen. Michael Carey were released Thursday. Now based at Air Force Space Command, Carey received a letter of counseling as discipline, according to Lt. Col. William Ashworth, an Air Force spokesman.
A letter of that type effectively ends a general’s career. He remains on active duty at Air Force Space Command.
Carey had been deputy commander for the 20th Air Force, its nuclear missile command based in Wyoming. He was relieved of duty and put on temporary assignment while the investigation was conducted.
The report shows in detail the events of a trip to Russia July 14-18 in which witnesses, whose names were redacted, recalled how Carey began drinking on the commercial flight to Moscow and rarely took a break.
When he arrived at the Marriott Hotel in Moscow, he had drinks with his delegation in the executive lounge, complaining about bad morale in his command and lack of support from leaders, the report states. Carey and an unidentified man walked to the Ritz Carlton Hotel nearby and met “two foreign national women,” returning to the Marriott between 2:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Carey overslept and was 45 minutes late in joining the delegation for its meeting with their Russian hosts. At lunch, he drank more than most and made comments about Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who divulged intelligence secrets and had received asylum in Russia. Carey also talked about Syria, a Russian ally, that has been embroiled in civil war and has used chemical weapons against citizens.
Carey interrupted a monastery tour guide with slurred speech, sulked on a group walk through Red Square and later tried to sing with a band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow. They refused to let him.
The investigator noted that Carey had poor recall of significant events during the visit, perhaps due to alcohol consumption or being untruthful.
The investigating officer highlighted several witness statements that “best expressed the lack of officership and gentlemanliness on Maj. Gen Carey’s part:
• “I wanted to crawl under the table…”
• “And the Russians were looking at him like, ‘Are you crazy?’”
• “I’ve never been more embarrassed professionally in my life with a senior member.”
In a statement, Gen. William Shelton, the commander of Air Force Space Command, said the report prompted him to take action against Carey.
“This was an unfortunate incident,” Shelton said. “Maj.Gen. Carey has otherwise served the nation extremely well.”
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