An army general was fired on March 28 as a result of recently filed alcohol and sexual misconduct charges. Major General Ralph Baker, a two-star general, had been commander of combined forces in the Horn of Africa.
Baker headed up the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which handles U.S. military operations in East Africa while also combating “violent extremist organizations and transnational threats.” CJTF-HOA is headquartered in the country of Djibouti at Camp Lemonier. Baker began his duties as commander there in May 2012.
Following a hearing, Baker was fired by Army General Carter Ham, commander of the United States Africa Command, reports CNN. Defense officials speaking to CNN cited a “loss of confidence” as the reason for the firing.
The loss of confidence stems from sexual misconduct and alcohol charges, including harassment and inappropriate contact, reports Associated Press. In addition to being relieved of his duties, Baker was also fined a portion of his salary. It is unclear how much he was fined as details were not released. Baker has appealed the decision to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Officials talking to AP believe Hagel will focus on the fine while reviewing Baker’s case, noting the freedom given to commanders such as Ham with regard to personnel decisions.
While waiting on news of his appeal, Baker will serve as a special assistant to the director of the Army staff.
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Ham took over as commander of the U.S. Africa Command after former General William E. “Kip” Ward was demoted following an investigation revealing misuse of taxpayer money and overspending while Ward served as commander. Ward, a former four-star general, lost one star and retired as a Lieutenant General. Senators have also called on Hagel to review the military justice system due to several recent sexual harrasment and assault incidents, notes AP.