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Former 20th Air Force commander fired after Russia trip will retire as 1-star

Apr. 10, 2014 - 08:12PM   |  
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The two-star general removed from command of the Air Force’s nuclear missile arsenal in October after a series of misdeeds in Russia will retire June 1 at the rank of brigadier general, the Air Force said.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James recently approved former Maj. Gen. Michael Carey’s retirement request. His last day is April 11, Air Force spokesman Maj. Matt Hasson said.

Carey was promoted to major general in November 2011, which means he will not have served satisfactorily for three years as a two-star — a requirement for retiring in that rank.

Carey was fired for conduct unbecoming of an officer following an Air Force Inspector General investigation that found he acted improperly while leading a U.S. delegation to Russia in July. Carey was rude to his hosts, socialized with “suspect” women and was so drunk one witness believed he needed help standing, according to the IG report released in December.

Several Defense Department officials on the Russia trip said they were concerned about Carey’s actions, which included talking about Edward Snowden and Syria; flaunting his authority as the head of a nuclear force during an airport delay; and “pouting and sulking” on tours with Russian officials.

In one incident, after having several drinks, Carey boasted of “saving the world” and said the airmen in his command had the lowest morale of any in the Air Force, the IG report said.

Carey had been selected to lead the U.S. group that traveled to Moscow in July for a Bilateral Presidential Commission, Military Cooperation Working Groups event hosted by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Except for Carey’s misbehavior during the trip, Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space command said in December, he “served the nation extremely well.”

Carey enlisted in the Air Force in 1978 and was commissioned through the ROTC program at the University of Central Florida in 1983, according to his Air Force biography. He served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and took over as 20th Air Force commander in June 2012.

Since his removal, Carey has served as special assistant to the commander of Air Force Space Command.

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