Former Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite spent roughly $2.4 million on air travel during his eight-month tenure under the Trump administration, traveling to 22 destinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
USA TODAY reported that Braithwaite, who was sworn in last May and resigned when President Biden took office on January 21, traveled to more foreign and domestic locations than any other senior Pentagon civilian.
The trips took place even as the coronavirus pandemic limited travel for most senior officials to prevent the spread of the virus among service members, two Defense Department officials told USA Today.
Among Braithwaite’s trips was a $232,000 excursion in January to the South Pacific’s Wake Island to record a farewell message to the Navy and Marine Corps.
The island is essentially a refueling stop and emergency landing strip thousands of miles from Hawaii where no sailors or Marines are stationed, Navy spokesman Capt. Jereal Dorsey told the outlet.
Braithwaite also flew to Norway, Italy, Greece, Japan and India, as well as several trips to Hawaii and a more than $24,000 flight to attend the Army-Navy football game with his family.
Other service secretaries took fewer trips in the same period, with then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy embarking on 17 trips that cost roughly $900,000 and then-Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett traveling to 19 destinations for a total $1.6 million, according to spokespeople from each service.
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