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U.S. general in charge of missiles fired for drinking, carousing -investigation

Major General Michael Carey was removed from his job as commander of the 20th Air Force in October for conduct unbecoming a gentleman. (AF.mil)
Major General Michael Carey was removed from his job as commander of the 20th Air Force in October for conduct unbecoming a gentleman. (AF.mil)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A two-star general who oversaw the U.S. arsenal of intercontinental missiles was fired for allegedly drinking and carousing with women while leading a government delegation to Russia for talks on nuclear security, an inspector general report showed.

An internal investigation by the Inspector General of the Air Force, released on Thursday following a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that Major General Michael Carey was removed from his job as commander of the 20th Air Force in October for "conduct unbecoming a gentleman."

At the time the Air Force announced that Carey had been removed from his position, it did not reveal details of what the general was alleged to have done. Carey's removal was one in a string of high-profile firings of top U.S. generals.

Carey's "indecorous" behavior is alleged to have taken place during an official trip the general led in July 2013 for U.S.-Russian exercises and discussions related to nuclear security.

According to interviews with other members of the small delegation, Carey drank steadily throughout the trip, stayed out late with women he met in Moscow, showed up 45 minutes late for an early morning departure for delegation meetings, and acted in a generally rude and brash manner.

One of the people interviewed in the investigation about the trip - all of whose names were blotted out - said Carey was slurring his words on a delegation trip to a local monastery and embarrassed the group by trying to fist-bump the guide.

At a Mexican restaurant in Moscow where the group dined one evening, he was also said to have asked repeatedly for a chance to sing with the restaurant's Beatles cover band.

Air Force investigators also appeared concerned by the possibility that Carey had been singled out by the women he was socializing with in Moscow due to his position.

Carey's own account, as described in the Air Force report, differed from those of his colleagues. He suggested he drank moderately, and disputed many of the details reported by others or said he did not recall remarks he was reported to have made.

At the time Carey's removal from his position was announced, Carey remained in the Air Force but had been reassigned from the 20th Air Force, which is responsible for the nation's three intercontinental ballistic missile wings.

He is now special assistant to the commander of Air Force Space Command, the Air Force said. A call to Space Command was not immediately returned after business hours.

(Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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