Friday, April 12, 2013

Army General Fired Over Alcohol, Sex Charges

Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker
Last week reported-- 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.

Details of how much his pay was docked were not released.

The allegations against Baker involve harassment and inappropriate contact, said the officials, who were not authorized to talk publicly about the case so spoke on condition of anonymity.

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 is retiring and is scheduled to turn over his command to Army Gen. David Rodriguez in a ceremony Friday.

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.

In particular, a recent decision by Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin to reverse the sexual assault conviction against Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, a former inspector general at Aviano Air Base in Italy, infuriated senators. And it triggered calls for a harder look at the military's justice system.

Hagel has ordered a review of Franklin's decision, but he has told members of Congress that neither he nor the Air Force secretary is empowered to overrule Franklin, who is the commander of the 3rd Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Food for thought:  Since my adultery conviction in 2008 why have so many senior white officers gotten a free pass when it comes to sexual misconduct?!    Was my case "selective prosecution" or does the military continue to show preferential treatment to the Gool ole' Boys?


Anonymous said...

I'm just amazed that someone is actually doing something about things now. It's gone on for so long with nobody doing anything. It's about time. We will probably never know the extent of the alcohol and sexual misconduct that is involved, but you can bet there was more than that over the years of this person's career and he has now been caught. The bad news is that there are so many people who abuse their authority and waste the taxpayer's money to cover their tracks. I would hate to think that things are only now changing because of the sequester, but anyone in a position of authority who uses that authority and authorizes the expenditure of funds to cover-up for their actions should also be charged under the UCMJ for a conduct issue, that of improper use of funds.
That charge should have extended to the waste and abuse of authority when Sturges needed to cover his tracks by ordering retaliation.
In some of your earlier posts I read about Sturges and how his name was equated to a “free pass.”
It doesn't look like Ralph (Maj. Gen. Baker) will be getting a free pass. Maybe it’s just the San Diego area where the free passes are handed out like candy to the military heads. You hear a lot of people getting caught, like the North Island scandal that involved several civilians, but the military head seems to walk away for failing to run his command. Then you have the sexual misconduct that was in your earlier posts about slick William H. Weinfurtner, slick Willy, the Navy’s sexual predator who has cost the taxpayers millions of dollars to cover-up for him. Somewhere, there are a few commanding officers who approved the waste of tax dollars to cover up the sexual solicitation and freeing of the Willy at the expense of the taxpayer. You have to wonder why Ralph wasn’t able to do more to cover-up, like slick Willy’s commanding officers.
We can only hope that the victims recover from the trauma of what has happened, whether it is the victims of William Weinfurtner, Sturges, Patreaus, Baker, or any other sexual predator that the military fails to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Syneeda when is your book going to be available, I've been waiting since last year?