General demoted for lavish travel, spending

Raquel Erhard – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Arlington, VA, United States (4E) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has demoted today General William “Kip” Ward, the head of U.S. Africa Command for allegedly using military funds on lavish travel and various unimportant expenses.

Ward, who was stripped of a star, will retire as a three-star lieutenant general and was fined $82,000.

The demotion will reduce Ward’s annual pay to around $130,000. A four star general usually receives about $236,000 a year after retirement.

According to the Defense Department Inspector General, it was discovered that Ward’s wife used military vehicles to shop and his family’s hotel stays were paid with military funds.

Ward also allegedly extended his overseas trips for personal reasons at the expense of the military and used his connections to get backstage Broadway tickets for his wife to meet Denzel Washington.

Ward has been serving in the military since 1971 and has completed oversea tours in Korea, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, and Germany including tours in the United States.

His demotion comes just a few days after the resignation of General David Petraeus when his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was made public. Meanwhile, Marine General John Allen, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is also being investigated for having inappropriate communications with Jill Kelley, the woman who revealed the Petraeus affair.

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