Army general demoted for misuse of travel funds, resources

The Pentagon announced Wednesday the demotion of the former chief of U.S. Africa Command after an investigation found that he had misused travel funds, military aircraft and staff.

Army Gen. William E. Ward was demoted to lieutenant general and ordered to repay the government $82,000 stemming from his misuse of resources. In his demotion, the general had one of his four stars removed from his uniform.

Gen. Ward reportedly misspent government funds on lavish hotels and travel arrangements, and asked his staff to run personal favors for his wife during his tenure as AFRICOM commander.

“While Gen. Ward is not perfect, he has always been guided by his faith in God and the belief that there is no greater honor as a patriot than to lead those who choose to serve our nation in the armed forces,” Pentagon spokesman Chris Garrett said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Retiring as a three-star general will cost Gen. Ward about $30,000 a year in retirement pay, giving him close to $208,802 a year rather than the $236,650 he would receive as a four-star general, the AP reported.

The judgment was released amid the sex scandal that forced former CIA Director David Petraeus’ resignation last week.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta “insists that leaders within the Department of Defense exemplify both professional excellence and sound judgment,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said Wednesday.

“The secretary recognizes that the vast majority of senior officers in the military abide by the letter and spirit of our laws and regulations, and utilize sound judgment in their stewardship of taxpayer resources,” Mr. Little said. “The secretary is committed to ensuring that any improprieties or misconduct by senior officers are dealt with swiftly and appropriately.”

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