Pentagon fires general from Africa Command

April 5, 2013 at 1:39 PM

WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker became the second senior commander to be removed from the U.S. Africa Command in less than six months, defense officials said.

Baker, a two-star general, was dismissed last week as commander of Joint Task Force -- Horn of Africa, CNN reported Friday. Military officials said he is appealing the decision.

Three defense officials said the reason for Baker's firing was a loss of confidence in his handling of the job.

Gen. William "Kip" Ward was dismissed as head of the Africa Command, deprived of one of his four stars and forced into retirement five months ago, the CNN report said.

Ward had been under fire for excessive spending on personal items like shopping sprees for his wife and a lavish vacation, and for allowing a defense contractor to introduce him to Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington during a backstage visit, the report said.

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