By Carlo Muñoz - 11/13/12 07:26 PM EST
DOD officials handed down the punishment after an inspector general investigation found Army Gen. William 'Kip' Ward spent thousands in DOD funding on lavish trips and shopping sprees for himself and his family while head of Africa Command, The Associated Press reports.
These personal activities resulted in a significant increase in costs billed to Africa Command and DOD, costs that eventually drew the attention of the department's main watchdog.
The DOD IG's inquiry began a year after Ward had stepped down from his post at Africa Command.
Losing his fourth star could cost Ward roughly $30,000 in retirement pay, with three stars generally taking home just over $200,000 a year in pension. A four-star general and flag officers take home nearly $240,000 annually, according to the AP.
Along with a smaller retirement check, a one-time, $82,000 payout will be coming out of that annual stipend and heading back to DOD to pay for Ward's unauthorized expenses.