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Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker of US Africa Command fired over alcohol, sex charges

Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, was fired from his command last Thursday, and he was fined a portion of his pay after an administrative hearing and review.

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Major General Ralph O. Baker - Official Photo

US Africom

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An Army major general with the U.S. Africa Command has been relieved of his post in connection with alcohol and sexual misconduct charges, defense officials said.

Officials said Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, was fired from his command last Thursday, and he was fined a portion of his pay by Gen. Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command, after an administrative hearing and review. The officials said Thursday that Ham lost confidence in Baker's ability to command.

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Baker has appealed the administrative action to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. But since senior commanders such as Ham have broad latitude in decisions to relieve subordinates of command, Hagel's decision may focus more on the financial punishment, officials said. Details of how much his pay was cut were not released.

The allegations against Baker involve harassment and inappropriate contact, said the officials, who were not authorized to talk publicly about the case so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Baker took over the task force, based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, last May and was scheduled to leave the job in the near future.

He has returned to Washington and is temporarily serving as a special assistant to the director of the Army staff while he awaits Hagel's decision. Such special assistant posts are routinely used as way stations for general officers who are under investigation and awaiting their fate, or for others who have been promoted and are waiting for their new job to open up.

Baker is one in a string of general officers who have been reprimanded or investigated for possible sexual misconduct.

Lawmakers in Congress have said that military and defense leaders have not done enough to combat sexual assault and harassment in the ranks.