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5 Epic Military Leadership Fails Of This Decade
We’re less than a month into 2016, and already no fewer than four senior military brass have behaved badly. Senior leader sackings have become so mundane that it’s become a running gag at Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Ricks’ Foreign Policy column.
There have been dozens of senior officer scandals since 2010, but here are five of the most outlandish.
Maj. Gen. Carey saves the world from war, one drunk day at a time.
America’s nuclear missile force is no stranger to scandal between various episodes of cheating, drug use, and gambling. But Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, who commanded nearly 450 nuclear missiles, took the nuclear community to new highs (or lows, depending on your point of view) during a five-day bender to Moscow in July 2013.
According to the Air Force’s official investigation — which reads like a chapter from Tucker Max’s “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” — Carey cavorted with suspicious foreign women, unsuccessfully tried to dance on stage with a mariachi band, and boasted to no one in particular during a layover in Zurich that he “saves the world from war every day.” Carey was relieved of his duties shortly thereafter and retired less than a year later as a brigadier general.
Navy Rear Adm. David Baucom thinks that excess baggage fees are a drag.
Not wanting to spend $25 on excess baggage fees, Rear Adm. David Baucom left his pajamas at home while attending a conference at a beachfront hotel in Florida in April 2015. It was the beginning of an evening that would make Frank the Tank blush.
A few rounds of wine, whiskey, and gin at the hotel bar hit the admiral like a “ton of bricks,” according to the inspector general’s report, as he fell down repeatedly, smacking his head first on a barstool, then on the back of a couch. After being helped to his room by a busboy, the admiral awoke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but instead found himself locked out of his room — without his clothes. Two alarmed female guests reported the admiral’s antics to hotel security. Shortly after the incident, Baucom was transferred to the Pentagon. If there’s a silver lining to the incident, it provided great fodder for West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen during the annual Army-Navy game — perhaps the only high point in Army’s 14 consecutive losses to America’s sea service.
When a 3-star Army General calls out Navy Admirals for not being able hold their liquor pic.twitter.com/I0bPDoAu0h
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 12, 2015
The internet may be for porn, but government computers aren’t.
That was a lesson Rear Adm. Rick Williams, head of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s carrier strike group training command, learned the hard way, after being relieved of his duties earlier this month, according to reports from Navy Times and Stars and Stripes.
Quick tip: It takes more than just a few accidental clicks to run afoul of the Defense Department’s ban on pornography on government computers. It seems the admiral couldn’t wait until he got home to get his daily dose of PornHub. Next time you’re forced to sit through hours of mandatory training on cyber security and proper use of government computers, you can thank this guy.
Col. James Johnson III is a ladies man.
The colonel, who commanded the Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, was caught in an affair. While I don’t think I could handle one wife, he had two, and was convicted during court-martial proceedings in 2012, pleading guilty to over fifteen charges, including bigamy.
The affair became known when Johnson’s wife went to the doctor and discovered she was no longer Johnson’s TRICARE insurance beneficiary. It wasn’t a paperwork glitch — Johnson had secretly married a former Iraqi interpreter who emigrated from Iraq to the Netherlands. It’s a tale as old as time: Boy meets girl; boy meets another girl in Iraq; boy faces charges of steering millions of dollars of contracts towards the Iraqi girl’s family; boy allegedly uses government funds to visit girl in the Netherlands; boy is forced to retire as a lieutenant colonel and pay over $300,000 in fines.
If you’re thinking of starting your own drinking club, just don’t.
Rank has its privileges, and for Army Lt. Col. David Chiarenza, that included the honor of being the “Supreme Allied Commander” of his own fraternity-style drinking club, according to Stars and Stripes. The club’s bylaws, tallying over eight pages, were longer than many combat operations orders.
Witnesses testified participation in the club was “unofficially mandatory,” with attendance logged at most weekend get-togethers. A flyer for one such battalion bender in March 2012 encouraged junior officers to bring two bottles of alcohol, advertising the party would last “until liver failure.” According to the investigation — which makes references to plastic swords, pacifiers, and other novelties for games, the battalion’s operations officer — Maj. Christopher Garbarino allegedly groped a female lieutenant and eventually had to be tied down with duct tape. The incident landed the major in confinement and cost him six months’ pay.
This is why the military can’t have nice things.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.
The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.
These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.