Brig. General James Michael “Mike” Caldwell
has submitted his resignation from the Oregon Military Department effective July 1 due to allegations that he made inappropriate sexual advances to a female subordinate.
Caldwell is the deputy director of the Oregon Military Department and commander of the state defense force. The military department last week claimed Caldwell's departure was a "retirement."
Caldwell was unavailable for comment. A call to his attorney was not returned.
The incident took place at a state emergency preparedness conference in Hood River held from May 7-12. According to people familiar with the situation, Caldwell pulled out the electronic key to his room at the Best Western Hood River, where the conference was held, and tossed the key across the table to an Oregon Emergency Management employee with a suggestion that she join him in his room.
There were multiple witnesses to Caldwell’s alleged proposition. The woman declined, but Caldwell, 61, who is married, then reportedly sent her additional suggestive text messages from his room, sources say.
Capt. Stephen Bomar, a spokesman for the Oregon Military Department, says that when asked about the incident later, Caldwell resigned.
“There were allegations made,” Bomar says. “When approached with those allegations, Gen. Caldwell submitted his resignation, and it was accepted.”
“Brigadier General Caldwell has dedicated his heart and soul to the success of this agency,” Major Gen. Raymond J. Rees said in a statement dated May 31. “We cannot thank him enough for his countless contributions. We wish him well in his retirement.”
Caldwell has not been back to work since the incident, the military department says.
“Officially he is out on medical leave now,” Bomar says. “He will no longer be a part of the military department as of July 1.”
Caldwell’s joined the military in 1971. He has been a state employee for more than 20 years. His annual salary is $131,688.
The incident comes at a time when the armed forces nationally are under intense scrutiny for high numbers of reported sexual assaults. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has promised to crack down on a military culture that tolerates such behavior.
Caldwell is the brother of former Oregonian Editorial Page Editor Bob Caldwell, who died last year.