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Wyoming-based nuke chief fired for drunken behavior

Dec 20, 2013 - The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Air Force general who was fired from command of U.S. land-based nuclear missile forces had engaged in "inappropriate behavior" while on official business in Russia last summer, including heavy drinking, rudeness to his hosts and associating with "suspect" women, according to an investigation report released Thursday.

Carey had been deputy commander for the 20th Air Force and its nuclear missile command based at F.E. Warren Air force ase in Cheyenne. He was relieved of that in October and put on temporary assignment while the investigation was conducted.

The events that led to the dismissal took place while Maj. Gen. Michael Carey was in Russia in July as head of a U.S. government delegation to a nuclear security training exercise. At the time, he was commander of the 20th Air Force, responsible for all 450 of the Air Force's Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles stationed in five U.S. states.

When Carey was relieved of command in October, the Air Force said he had engaged in unspecified misbehavior while on a business trip, but it did not say the episode was in Russia, nor did it indicate the specific allegations against him.

Carey's firing was one of several setbacks for the nuclear force this year. The Associated Press has documented serious security lapses and complaints of low morale and "rot" within the force, as well as an independent assessment of "burnout" among a sampling of nuclear missile launch officers and security forces.

After the Russia trip, a member of the delegation lodged a complaint about Carey's behavior. That person, described as a female staff member in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, asserted to investigators that on the delegation's first night in Moscow, July 15, Carey was drinking and speaking loudly in a hotel lounge about how he is "saving the world" and that his forces suffer from low morale.

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