An Air Force General’s Epic Bender In Moscow

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey
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The details of a high-ranking U.S. general’s trip to Russia would have made Boris Yeltsin proud.

The two-star Air Force general who commanded all of America’s land-based nuclear weapons alarmed his colleagues in July during a wild, hard-partying trip to Moscow, according to a report released Thursday by a military inspector general.

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey drank constantly, was “frequently rude,” and consorted with strange, potentially dangerous women, witnesses told investigators.

“I’ve never been more embarrassed professionally in my life with a senior member,” one group member was quoted as saying.

The report, noted Thursday by the Washington Post, said Carey was leading a U.S. delegation to Moscow to meet with Russian counterparts. The mission was to “provide lessons learned and review capabilities with regard to safeguarding nuclear warheads during convoy operations,” the report said.

Witnesses said Carey’s drinking began en route to Moscow with wine on the flight there. In a waiting area during a stopover in Zurich, a witness said Carey drank beer and “talked loudly about the importance of his position as commander of the only operation nuclear force in the world” and about how “he saves the world from war every day.”

When the group arrived in Russia, a member of the delegation who spoke to investigators said Carey had “several beers” in the hotel lounge before proposing a trip to a rooftop bar at the nearby Ritz Carlton hotel. At the Ritz, a witness said Carey met two women who said they “worked for an executive travel service and they were from the United Kingdom.” He made plans to see them again.

The next day, witnesses said, Carey was 45 minutes late for the delegation’s departure to a Russian military base. One member of the group said Carey “looked tired and his eyes were bloodshot.”

At the base, the report said, the delegation attended a “lunch banquet” that included “nine toasts.” A witness said Carey “made comments regarding Syria and Mr. Eric Snowden (sic)” that were “not well received” by the Russians. Additionally, the witness said, Carey “drank more than most of the other participants,” “announced he had met two hot women the night before,” and made “comments regarding lovely ladies that where concerning to some members of the delegation.”

After lunch, the group was taken on a tour of a local monastery, where a witness said Carey was “slurring his speech and continually interrupted the tour guide.” A witness also said Carey tried to give a “fist bump” to the tour guide who “had no idea what he was trying to do.”

When the tour was over, a member of the delegation said Carey suggested the group have dinner at a Mexican restaurant because he “really wanted to see this Beatles cover band.” At the restaurant, the witness Carey was “drinking alcohol” and “kept trying to get the band to let him play with them” despite their repeated refusals. A member of the group told investigators the two women from the Ritz met Carey at the restaurant and he left with them and other members of the delegation to go “several places for drinks.” One witness told investigators they felt Carey was “putting the team at risk” by consorting with strangers. The report said Carey did not return to his hotel until 3 a.m.

On the final day of meetings, a witness said Carey showed up late again despite specific requests from the Russians to be punctual. During presentations made by the Russians, a member of the American delegation told investigators, Carey continually interrupted the speakers and “used an American TV ad ‘Can you hear me now’ to make a point, but it was not received well.” Witnesses said presentations were followed by another “lunch banquet” where there were “approximately 25 toasts” and Carey interrupted his Russian hosts with “commentary.”

Upon returning to the hotel, the report said, Carey had drinks in the lobby with a person (whose name was redacted from the report) and a woman identified only as “cigar shop lady.” One witness told investigators the cigar saleswoman worried them because she spent “hours” speaking with Carey and was asking alarmingly specific questions about military matters.

“She was asking questions about physics and optics,” the witness said. “I was like, dude this doesn’t normally happen.”

Along with his many alleged transgressions in Moscow, the report described Carey as acting inappropriately when investigators interviewed him about his conduct. The report said he was “agitated” and “appeared flippant in his attitude towards the interview.”

Carey apparently disputed some of the tales of his conduct, but investigators said they “determined that Maj. Gen. Carey was generally less credible than the other witnesses.” The names of the witnesses were all redacted in the report, which was compiled in October, and concluded the “preponderance of evidence” showed Carey violated articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibiting “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.” He was fired Oct. 11.

Read the full report below.

Report of investigation On Maj. Gen. Michael Carey

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