Army Maj. Gen. David Haight, Army Ranger, decorated combat veteran and family man, holds key post in Europe this spring, has a future with three, maybe four stars.
BYU graduate commissioned in 1986 has distinguished 30-year military career, combat duties in Haiti, Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan, last posting – U.S. European Command
Also leads double life, “swinger lifestyle”, swapping sexual partners, putting him at risk of blackmail and espionage
The married father of four adult children, has 11-year affair with Jennifer Amrstrong, 49, a government employee, who coordinated their swinging
Army recalls him fom EUCOM , reprimands and puts him on placeholder job pending retirement.
Removed from command, reprimanded, forced into retirement, demotion under review could cost thousands in lost retirement dollars
Extramarital affair, misuse of resources cost Army general his post
In 2015, anonymous tips about General David Haight’s extramarital affairs were brought to the Pentagon’s inspector general. Ultimately, the Army’s inspector general took the case.
Ex-army Ranger, then-Brig. Gen. David Haight is a combat veteran and family man, a highly decorated soldier. The 30-year veteran saw action leading men in Panama, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Haight also led a double life. He had an 11-year affair and a “swinger lifestyle” of swapping sexual partners that put him at risk of blackmail and espionage, according to interviews and documents. Jennifer Armstrong, 49, a government employee, said she and Haight had been involved in the torrid love affair that began more than 10 years ago in Baghdad and ended this spring, badly.
The military commander’s secret was discovered after an annonymous caller to the Pentagon. Gen David Haight was investigated by the Army inspector general, who issued a report in April, and fired him in May from his job running operations and plans at U.S. European Command, the Pentagon’s front-line bulwark against Russia.
He was called from European duty back to Washington. The outcome of an internal investigation was a reprimand and reassignment to a placeholder job subsequent to retirement.
Haights alleged mistress Jennifer Armstrong, who identified herself as ‘his longtime girlfriend and swinging companion,’ said the relationship began with a flirty email and ended after assignations with multiple partners at swingers’ clubs, hotels and her home. Armstrong claims Haight had promised a future together, saying “I gave him the best years of my life”.
It all began in February 2005, when Armstrong was working as a contractor in Iraq handling the remains of combat fatalities. A smitten Armstrong after seeing Haight at a base, emailed every David Haight in the Army directory, saying that he had a “terrific smile.” Eventually, she found the right Haight, Lt. Col. David B. Haight, commander of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, elite troops who accompanied commandos on sensitive, dangerous raids. Haight a Mormon, eventually responded to Armstrong’s email, and they hit it off.
Haight’s honesty and sociability were attractive, she said. But he had a “hard part,” a mark left by the war. They quickly became romantic, and he promised her they would spend their lives together after he left the military, she said. Armstrong back’s her account with emails they shared, indicating trysts involving other women, other couples and encounters with strangers at swingers’ club.
Regarding Gen Haight, it is unclear how a decorated officer, married with four adult children, holding a succession of increasingly influential jobs maintained his intimate secret, yet aced all the pre-requisite security screenings preceeding each appointment.
In a statement issued after news of his reprimand broke, Haight vowed to work with Army investigators untangling his dark, off-duty life.
“I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused my wife and family,” Haight said in a second statement Wednesday. “On their behalf, I ask that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”
Brig Gen Haight (left, in glasses) on the front lines in Lugar province, Afghanistan
With three promotions times during the course of the affair with Armstrong began. Somehow screeners charged with security clearances, scrutinize financial and family stability to guard against vulnerability to bribes or blackmail, missed all tell tale signs. Senior government officials speaking annonymously stated:
“If an adversary such as Russia had learned of Haight’s affair and sexual adventures, he would have been a prime target to blackmail, Russia, one of the officials said, aggressively intercepts telephone calls.”
For instance, an investigative report showed that from June to November 2015 Haight used his government cellphone to make 84 private calls for more than 1,400 minutes of conversation.
Haight frequently left his office in Stuttgart, Germany, because it was in a building designed for secure communication, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF.
At EUCOM, Haight who was in charge of Plans and Operations to curb Russia’s increasing assertive East European ambitions, would frequently duck out SCIF to hold private conversations on his cell phone:
“When MG Haight disappeared and someone need to get a hold of him, (name redacted) knew to check the hallway, outside of the SCIF, where he was usually on his cellphone,” the report notes.
Brig Gen Haight (center) with his family at the promotion ceremony at Forth Benning Ga
Furthermore, as EUCOM operations chief who previously was a top aide to the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, Haight had access to sensitive national security information.
After the anonymous tips in 2015, the Army ordered Haight to sever contact with Armstrong. Investigators interviewed her and others and substantiated allegations that he “had an affair and lived a ‘swinger lifestyle.’ ”
Jennifer Armstrong also provided copies of emails from Haight’s official military account that show their relationship continued into 2015.
One of the emails in December 2010 has explicit sexual chatter, and shows him asking about the availability of another woman for a tryst. The report also shows that Haight and Armstrong exchanged other emails with references to types of sexual activity. “I love hearing about women who like and giggle about (oral sex),” he wrote in a September 2012 email cited by the inspector general.
Their 11-year relationship, however, wasn’t all about sex, she says. She furnished a copy of a handwritten letter from Haight who encouraged her while she fought breast cancer. She also bears a tattoo with his name on it.
Gen David Haight at a press conference in Logar province in 2009 flanked by a group of Afghan governors and police chiefs
Their affair continued through his postings, including at the Pentagon. The two lived not far from each other in Northern Virginia, and Haight stopped at her house most nights after work before going to his own home, she said.
Investigators also determined that he had spent nearly 24 hours on his government cellphone and sent more than 800 emails on his military computer to Armstrong.
The letter of reprimand effectively ended his 30-year career. A board will determine his retirement rank. A clean record could have earned Haight as much nearly $123,000 in his first year of retirement. If he’s busted back to colonel, his pay could drop to about $98,000.
He now joins a growing list of military brass indicted in recent times for misconduct. Defense Secretary Ash Carter fired his senior military adviser, Army Lt. Gen. Ron Lewis In November for allegations of personal misconduct, a case still under investigation.
Air Force Lt. Gen. John Hesterman was next in March, after investigators determined that he had sent sexually suggestive emails to a married female officer.
The Navy continues to investigate a group of commanders involved in the “Fat Leonard” bribery scandal – trading secret information about ship movements for prostitutes and other blandishments to enrich Glenn Defense Marine Asia and its owner “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis.