2-star Army general fired for allegedly sending flirty Facebook message to soldier's wife

2star general

Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington, pictured here during a function in July 2017, was fired from his post amid allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with the wife of an enlisted soldier.  (US Army)

A two-star general was fired and recalled back to Washington after allegations that he sent inappropriate Facebook messages to the wife of an enlisted soldier, the Army said Friday.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington, who heads U.S. Army Africa, was removed from his job due to a loss in confidence in his ability to command, the Army said in a statement.

He is the latest in a string of senior Army officials who have been disciplined for bad behavior, triggering the development of new programs aimed at shaping stronger, more ethical leaders.

A spokesman for the Army said Harrington is under investigation for sending the messages to the wife of a soldier who resides on the same base in Vincenza, Italy. Harrington, who is also married, was suspended from his post on Sept. 1, but had stayed in Italy.

The flirty Facebook messages include Harrington's referring to the woman as a "HOTTIE," inquiring about the whereabouts of the woman's husband and asking her to delete the messages, USA Today reported.

Army Col. Patrick Seiber said Harrington will remain in the Army but will be reassigned to the Pentagon.

Earlier this year, the Army began putting together a number of new mental health, counseling and career management programs in order to boost professionalism within the officer corps and get at what may be the root causes of the behavior problems.

Gen. Mark Milley, the Army's chief of staff, told The Associated Press last month that, "we recognized senior executive leaders, with varying amounts of stress, lacked a holistic program that focuses on comprehensive health." He said the military has strived to combat stress disorders, suicide and other problems, but often put the focus on enlisted troops or lower-ranking officers. A new emphasis must be placed on senior leaders, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.