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IG: 1-star had romantic relationship with waitress, drinking problem

Jan. 27, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Brig. Gen. David Uhrich 'consistently' kept a bottle of vodka underneath his desk for several months in 2012, according to an Air Force inspector general's report.
Brig. Gen. David Uhrich 'consistently' kept a bottle of vodka underneath his desk for several months in 2012, according to an Air Force inspector general's report. (Air Force)
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A married one-star general had a romantic relationship with a waitress while serving as the president of the 2013 senior master sergeant promotion board, according to an Air Force inspector general’s report.

Prior to that, Brig. Gen. David Uhrich drank alcohol during duty hours, ultimately leading him to get treatment for an alcohol problem, according to the September report, which was provided to Air Force Times.

Uhrich, director of communications at Air Combat Command headquarters, received verbal counseling for both issues raised in the report, according to the Air Force. He remains in his position.

Through a spokesman, Uhrich declined to comment on the report Monday. He also did not talk to investigators.

The Washington Post first reported on the inspector general’s report on Sundayas part of a story about a pattern of misbehavior by general officers across the military services.

From Jan. 28, 2013, until Feb. 15, 2013, Uhrich was at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph to serve as president of the promotion board when he met a waitress who was an Air Force nonappropriated funds employee, the report found. The woman’s name was redacted from the report.

During his time in San Antonio, Uhrich took the woman to a rodeo, they went out for drinks, and she brought dinner to him on Valentine’s Day, the report says. Witnesses told investigators that Uhrich did not wear his wedding ring when he first met the woman.

When confronted about the relationship, the woman told an investigator that Uhrich made her feel good and swept her off her feet. The name of the person who interviewed her was redacted from the report. While the evidence indicates Uhrich and the woman had a romantic relationship, she would not say if the two had sex.

The woman quit her job days after being questioned about her relationship with Uhrich.

The report also details several occasions from July 2011 and May 2012 when Uhrich’s performance seemed to be impaired by alcohol. Investigators determined Uhrich “consistently” kept a bottle of vodka underneath his desk from January 2012 to April 2012. During a director’s call in January 2012, Uhrich became physically sick and had to be taken to a hospital, most likely due to his alcohol use, the report found.

During a five-week course at the National Defense University from April 2012 to May 2012, Uhrich took a trip Singapore, during which empty bottles of alcohol were found in his room, the report says. Ultimately, retired Rear Adm. Stephen Pietropaoli, director of the CAPSTONE Program at NDU, confronted Uhrich about his behavior.

“Basically in effect [I] said to him, ‘I don’t know exactly what it is General, but it is clear to me from the outset, that first day in class when you were falling asleep in the early morning through our travel in CONUS [the continental United States], that there’s something going on here,” Pietropaoli is quoted in the report as saying. “I don’t know if it’s medical, I don’t know what it is, but I believe it’s important enough and significant enough that you need to take action on it and I need to make your Command aware of it.”

Pietropaoli added that he would allow Uhrich to contact his chain of command himself, the report says.

“He thanked me for my concern,” Pietropaoli said in the report. “He, I think, openly admitted that he did in fact have a drinking problem and that his wife had been on him for some time to get some help and that he was glad that someone had confronted him about it, and that he would in fact turn himself in for rehab ... when he got back down at Langley.”

Uhrich received two months of treatment for alcohol abuse, after which he showed up for work on time and was clear-headed, one witness told investigators.

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