Col Christopher Hayden, the commander that received a marginal rating as the CAP’s Maine Wing commander just prior to being appointed its Northeast Region (NER) commander, appointed the current marginal wing commanders Col Ben Emerick of Rhode Island and Col Cassandra Huchko of Connecticut. Both states have sunken to new lows in morale, membership, mission effectiveness, micro-management, authoritarian policies and poor encampments.
This article will focus on what is happening in Connecticut Wing today: Prior to the summer encampment in 2011, Col Huchko and Vice Commander Lt Col Valleau were warned by several CAP officers that Maj John Lesick was emotionally unstable and had anger management issues related to a previous arrest. Through emails and personal interviews, they were warned that Maj Lesick would “lose it” and that there would be problems with his command of this event. Col Huchko ignored all the warnings and decided to leave Maj Lesick in command at the encampment, even after encampment personnel pleaded with her to remove him during the encampment.
Despite several after-action reports submitted to the Connecticut Wing, and multiple hazing and other IG complaints, there is still an ongoing encampment investigation that the region and wing are hoping will just go away if they ignore it long enough. Apparently it only took 18 months for all these senior officers who made these after-action reports to be vindicated.
Here’s and excerpt from the Hartford Courant, dated March 8, 2013: “A psychiatric nurse at the former Riverview Children’s Hospital in Middletown has been charged with felony threatening after authorities say he invoked the massacre at Sandy Hook in a threat against the human resources director at the state’s Department of Children and Families. John A. Lesick Jr, 41, of Wallingford, posted a $10,000 bond and is currently admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He is scheduled to return to Superior Court in Meriden on Wednesday.”
During the wide latitude of Col Huchko’s leadership; the Connecticut Wing’s inspector general, Lt Col Stidsen, has been forced to resign over mismanagement of the SUI program and several mismanaged IG inspections. The former director of cadet programs resigned for unknown reasons. The former wing safety officer resigned for failure of command follow-up. The chief of staff, Capt John Kelling, a Level One senior officer that was in over his head, tried unsuccessfully to manage the wing staff and all the complaints from the squadron commanders until he recently resigned after nine months. The position of wing inspector general is currently vacant and the position of wing chief of staff has been filled by a member who only recently transferred to the wing and has been a member of CAP for less than six years.
So where is the responsibility of leadership and senior command? Apparently, Col Hayden plans to wait until the end of his command tour to dump these problems on the next region commander.
By ignoring this complete failure of wing command year after year, do we just ignore all these bad command decisions and just wonder what happened to the wing?
“At what point do we hold the corporate officer responsible for the low numbers, the lack of mission trained personnel, and low morale?” a confidential source said.
“At what point do we realize that despite senior command guidance, ignoring our own regulations, multiple national IG complaints, negative culture, xenophobic actions and continued micro-management of all operational training is bad for our wing?”
“At what point do we break the cycle of cronyism, false endorsements and an old school network of previous failed commanders to forge the Connecticut Wing into a vital, real volunteer organization ready to face the challenges of our new missions?” the source said.