US Nuclear Commander fired for cheating at Iowa Casino

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Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, who was deputy commander of the United States’ nuclear forces, nuked his military career after being caught cheating at an Iowa casino.

Several weeks ago, Giardina was busted for passing fake poker chips at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino. He was said to have used $1,500 in counterfeit chips while playing in cash games. Using fake chips is considered a felony in the state of Iowa. However, prosecutors decided not to level any criminal charges at the disgraced commander.

Perhaps the punishment that Giardina received from the military was enough. General Robert Kehler quickly suspended him from his duties after hearing about the matter on September 3rd. Giardina remained at Strategic Command for a few weeks, but was unable to perform his regular job due to the punishment.

When the story went public on September 28th, military officials began working to remove Giardina from his post. President Obama approved the removal on October 3rd, which essentially fired the poker cheater from his lofty position. Giardina has since been relocated to a lower-ranking job within the Navy until the investigation concludes.

There have been very few points in US military history when a deputy commander has been dishonorably removed from their post. Former Strategic Commander Eugene Habiger made this clear when he said, “I know of no other case ever of a deputy commander who was relieved for cause.”

Aside from the rarity of a deputy commander being fired, it’s a complete precedent for one to be reprimanded for cheating in casino poker. It is also somewhat strange that somebody with such a lofty government position would stoop as low as to cheat in casino games.

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