WASHINGTON – An Army major general has been stripped of his stars and forced out of the military after a 30-year military career because of a long extramarital affair and “swinger” lifestyle.
Embattled Maj. Gen. David Haight was demoted by three steps to the rank of lieutenant colonel, a steep and rare downgrade for a senior officer, an Army spokesman says. The demotion will cost him $43,000 in annual retirement pay, based on pay scales for a lieutenant colonel and a two-star general with 30 years in the Army.
Army Secretary Eric Fanning approved the board’s recommendation and made the final decision, the Army Times reported.
Officials said Haight had repeatedly used military computers and phones for his illicit affairs despite warnings. An Army inspector general investigation concluded that Haight had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a woman who was not his wife, and that he misused government resources for a “high volume” of personal calls and emails.
Philandering is a violation of military law.
The demotion suggests that the board concluded that Haight’s misconduct stretched back to his time as colonel and was serious enough to make retirement at the more senior grades not possible.
Under the regulations, “one specific act of misconduct may or may not form the basis for a determination that the overall service in that grade was unsatisfactory, regardless of the period of time served in grade.”
The investigation, which was launched in January, was triggered by anonymous complaints sent to then-Gen. Philip Breedlove, who was the top U.S. general for NATO at the time, and to the Army and Defense Department inspectors general.
According to the report, Haight was verbally counseled at least twice by a senior officer in November 2015 after initial complaints were filed and before the full investigation began. The counseling, it said, included assistance for possible marital problems, the perception of a relationship with someone who was not his wife, and other personal issues.
In December more anonymous allegations of misconduct came in, and one included a sexually explicit photograph. And the inspector general ordered a full investigation on Jan. 4.
The probe revealed that Haight conducted an affair for nearly 11 years, and also at times was involved in a “swinger” lifestyle. He was married during the entire time of the relationship, and has four children.
According to the report, Haight reminded the woman a number of times to communicate with him through another email address because his government accounts were monitored.
The report found that between June-November 2015 he called the woman – who was a government contractor – more than 80 times from his government cellphone, for a total of more than 1,400 minutes of conversation. It also found that they exchanged more than 800 personal emails between October 2010 and November 2015, including many that were sexually explicit. Often he signed them with “ILY,” an abbreviation for “I love you.”
Haight had been serving as director for operations at U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. He was pulled from the job and has been working as a special assistant to the Army deputy chief of staff for military operations. He was commissioned in 1986 at Brigham Young University and later was assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, an Army special operations unit. And he served several combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Haight was also a key adviser to Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Source: Army Times