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Commander accused of misconduct relieved from Army post

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, April 4, 2013, 9:18 p.m.

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

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 Ham lost confidence in Baker's ability to command.

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 doled out by Ham, officials said.

Details of how much his pay was docked 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.

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