Major General Michael Carey, who oversaw three nuclear wings of the Air Force, was fired this weekend for behavior involving “hot women” that was “unbecoming of an officer and a gentlemen” while on a business trip in Moscow.
According to the military’s report detailing his dismissal, Major General Carey visited Russia leading a larger American delegation “to provide lessons learned and review capabilities with regard to safeguarding nuclear warheads.” Instead, Carey seems to have spent more time drinking, bragging publicly about his nuclear arsenal, insulting Russian dignitaries, and cavorting with women.
The report gives a timeline of a number of luncheons and night outings in which Carey behaved in an increasingly alarming way. It further notes that some of his peers considered his behavior “rude” on the first day. The specifics begin by stating that Carey made “comments regarding Syria and Mr. Eric [sic] Snowden that were not well received by [Russia].” Carey is said to have quickly gone from commenting about Snowden to “lovely ladies” and “hot women,” and reports from multiple sources state that he was significantly more intoxicated than anyone in the delegation.
When he was not cheerfully engaging in drunken partying, he was vocally complaining about having to do his job or “talk[ing] loudly about the importance of his position as commander of the only operational nuclear force in the world and that he saves the world from war every day.” Given his propensity to speak publicly about what he does for a living, the Air Force officials in charge of dismissing him expressed concern in the report about the potential security risk Carey’s fraternizing with foreign women poses. He was not always successful on this front, either: one witness recalls a “very embarrassing” attempt to fist-bump a woman who had no idea what he was doing.
Interviewed about his misconduct, the report notes that after six shots and “several toasts” at an official banquet, Carey “didn’t remember the particulars of any of his toasts other than them being about camaraderie.” (They were also allegedly inappropriate.) In another instance at a bar called La Cantina, one witness recalled Carey’s unsuccessful drunken attempt to convince the house band to let him play music with them.
According to the report, Carey was “flippant” to interviewers about their investigation into his behavior, providing little reason to give him the benefit of the doubt.
One CNN military expert described the behavior as “exceptionally outrageous,” especially for a military man of Carey’s caliber. Gen. William Shelton, who heads the Air Force Space Command, noted that Carey had worked “extremely well” in his position before these incidents in Moscow. Perhaps because of his extensive previous career work, Carey was not outright removed from the military. Instead, he was transferred to the Air Force space operation, where he is expected to attempt to rehabilitate his career.