October 16, 1996 in Nation/World

Admiral’s 3-Day Date Cost Taxpayers $3,600 Macke Forced To Retire After Comment About Rape Of Japanese Girl

Dana Priest Washington Post
 
Tags:ethics

The commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific last year ordered the crew of his reconfigured Boeing 707 to fly him from his base in Hawaii to Miramar Air Naval Station in California, then left the plane and crew on the ground for three days while he took a three-day leave with a female Marine lieutenant colonel.

The foray cost the taxpayers $3,600, according to a Defense Department Inspector General’s report released Tuesday.

The report, large portions of which are blacked out, concludes that Richard C. Macke, then a four-star admiral, also placed 607 telephone calls between August 1994 and December 1995 to the woman, who is based at Camp Pendleton near Miramar, at a cost to the government of approximately $2,300.

A Navy spokesman said Macke has not been asked to repay either the cost of the plane trip or any outstanding telephone calls because “the report was not that definite.”

The report said Macke’s lawyer told investigators that Macke “checked with his staff about the propriety” of using military aircraft and crew during the California trip in question and was “advised that such use was legitimate.”

The Inspector General’s office also investigated a trip Macke took to Laughlin, Nev., with the woman. It is impossible to tell, because of the heavy editing, what investigators concluded about the trip.

Macke, who became divorced during the time he was seeing the Marine, was forced into retirement in November after telling reporters that three U.S. servicemen accused of raping a 12-year-old Japanese girl on Okinawa last year could have hired a prostitute for the cost of the rental car in which the crime was committed.

Macke’s rank was reduced by two-stars at the time, which means he loses about $1,500 a month in retirement benefits. He and the woman also received letters of censure.

The report says Macke violated Navy policy prohibiting Navy officers from having “an unduly familiar relationship” with lower-ranking Navy personnel, that he violated Defense Department ethics rules by using the plane during leave and by placing telephone calls to her on government phones.

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