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Report details lavish spending by general who once led Schofield troops

By Lolita C. Baldor

Associated Press


WASHINGTON >> The four-star general who headed U.S. Africa Command used military vehicles to shuttle his wife shopping and to spas, and billed the government for a refueling stop overnight in Bermuda, where the couple stayed in a $750 suite, a Defense Department investigation has found.

A 99-page report details excessive unauthorized spending and travel costs for Gen. William “Kip” Ward, including lengthy stays at lavish hotels for Ward, his wife and his staff members, and the use of five-vehicle motorcades when he traveled to Washington. It also said that Ward and his wife, Joyce, accepted dinner and Broadway show tickets from a government contractor during a trip on which he went backstage to meet actor Denzel Washington and they and several staff members spent the night at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

The report by the Defense Department’s inspector general was obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

Ward served as commander of Schofield Barracks from July 1999 until November of 2000, when he was promoted to a job at the Pentagon.

One incident involved Joyce Ward asking a staff member to go buy her a bag of “dark chocolate Snickers” bars, saying the general would provide “a couple of dollars” for it.

Ward, who is facing possible demotion for his activities, defended the Bermuda layover as a “crew stop” and blamed his staff for making the decision to stay there rather than flying on to Stuttgart, Germany-based Africa Command. His comments were included in the report.

“We conclude Gen. Ward engaged in multiple forms of misconduct related to official and unofficial travel,” the inspector general’s report said. “He conducted officials travel for primarily personal reasons and misused” military aircraft. It said he also misused his position and his staff’s time and received reimbursement for travel expenses that far exceeded the approved daily military rate without approval.

In one case, his request to use military aircraft for a personal trip was denied, so he abruptly changed the trip to an official one, adding a quick meeting, and went anyway. 

In numerous other cases, he and his wife used staff and government-rented cars to run errands, pick up flowers, books, snacks and event tickets.

During one 11-day trip to Washington, Ward spent one day visiting wounded soldiers, had a 90-minute meeting on another day and a State Department meeting on a third day but billed the Pentagon more than $129,000 to cover the daily hotel and other costs for him, his wife and 13 civilian and military staff.

The report concluded he did no other official business during that trip.

A common theme running through the report was Ward’s insistence that his wife travel with him at government cost, even though it was often not authorized and she often did not perform official duties. He also routinely stayed in high-priced suites in luxury hotels rather than in standard rooms or less expensive locales.

And his staff — which can include advance and security teams — often traveled days prior to his arrival, including on the Bermuda stop, and stayed after he departed. The cost of rooms in Bermuda for Ward and his staff came to more than $10,000, not including meals, transportation or other costs.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to make a decision on Ward’s fate before the end of the month. 

U.S. officials said Ward, who was the first head of the U.S. military’s Africa Command, was warned several times by staff that his activities were wrong, to no avail.

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iwanaknow wrote:
As a man of color he can say he's being attacked for being Black. Hey, he stimulated the economy with our money ya? He gave people work. Where's Jessie Jackson when we need him to support our Brother?
on August 17,2012 | 09:52AM
cojef wrote:
You forgot Rev. Sharpton. Lately he has been more active than Jesse. Jesse has been keeping a low proile braddah.
on August 17,2012 | 11:10AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Ok, howzitbout the NAACP when we need them?
on August 17,2012 | 04:00PM
allie wrote:
Bush's wars of imperialism were much worse
on August 18,2012 | 10:02AM
HD36 wrote:
We've had wars of imperialism since we overturned the Hawaiian Monarchy.
on August 18,2012 | 11:04AM
rhs763 wrote:
Sounds like typical abuse of ranking Army officers. Even CSA Ordierno - he has a General Officer to introduce him at speaking engagements. Thought is was absurd that a General Officer would tout Odierno's accomplishments to the WWII veterans, who sacrificed more in their 4 years in combat.
on August 17,2012 | 02:29PM
Grimbold wrote:
This blatant racial discrimination would Rev Jackson and his ilk say.
on August 17,2012 | 04:48PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
If you think that this is incredible, many military workers retire only to go back to their jobs as civilians. They are re-hired by the private contractors that they worked with within the military whose contracts are approved by the very same people. If that is not unethical, I don't know what is. Further, they receive their retirement pay as they continue to work for the military under the private contractors. No one blows the whistle because they are afraid to lose their jobs especially in these harsh economic times. The government must be aware of this and allowing it to go on as it is blatantly done in front of them.
on August 17,2012 | 05:42PM
roadsterred wrote:
Watch out Panetta, President Obama has got his back! What you're seeing is symptomatic of the Obama administration starting with the GSA spending scandal and now the Department of Homeland Security. The wheels are falling off of the Federal Government cart. Only the November 6 elections will save us.
on August 17,2012 | 07:21PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Ward, who is facing possible demotion for his activities, defended the Bermuda layover as a “crew stop” and blamed his staff for making the decision... Blamed your staff, General? You should be ashamed. Show a sense of responsibility, soldier.
on August 18,2012 | 09:30AM
Ronin006 wrote:
The related story referenced at the bottom of the page is titled “Four star general with Hawaii ties investigated over spending.” I am waiting for the story titled “President with Hawaii ties investigated over spending.”
on August 18,2012 | 09:50AM
johncdechon wrote:
It's typical...it's their "culture." And they probably feel they're owed it.
on August 18,2012 | 10:29AM
johncdechon wrote:
P.S. Goes to show you can put a 4-star general uniform (or a $1000 suit) on trash but it still remains trash. The loser should put his hand down (see picture of him swearing-in) as he doesn't have enough HONOR to take any oath.
on August 18,2012 | 10:36AM
frontman wrote:
Racists.........NOT.........call barry he'll get you off.
on August 18,2012 | 10:57AM
HD36 wrote:
Generals now get more money when they retire than in active duty. The new golden parachute law just enacted several years ago is a prime example of why an economy can't become stronger when the government is taking all the resources to fund themselves.
on August 18,2012 | 11:09AM
alohacharlie wrote:
If anyone thinks that this kind of behavior should be overlooked because the general is a minority, I say he has tarnished the image that other minority members strive for. Kick him out of the military that I served in Korea with.
on August 18,2012 | 11:12AM
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