[Editor’s Note: This arrived this morning from a concerned, anonymous contributor. Senator Tom Harkin, worked with many leaders, to include Senator Bob Dole, to write the ADA. He was the first Senator to testify on the floor of the U.S. Senate using Sign Language to support the ADA. Senator Harkin believes strongly in the rights of people with disabilities because of the relationship he had with his late brother Frank. Senator Harkin saw first-hand the discrimination faced by his brother; consequently, Senator Harkin’s work within the Senate reflects a strong disability policy.]
CAP talks a good game about complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, if you actually HAVE a disability [details redacted], the “compliance” is selective at best.
I am [details redacted] and on Social Security disability. I made that clear when I rejoined CAP in 2009 and was reinstated to my grade of Captain. It was not a problem until the last squadron I served had a mandatory change of command. I had submitted my paperwork for promotion to the rank of Major and under the previous commander I got the impression it was going well. However, the new commander rejected it, saying my attendance was not what it should be.
Unfortunately, living with a disability means that I cannot predict what each day will bring and how I will cope with it…let alone being at CAP every week and every weekend activity the Commander sets. To be fair, he did set some goals for me to be “promotable,” but he also insulted me by saying “they’re looking for a shining star to promote…you’re not it.”
A short time later my wife was diagnosed [redacted medical problems] and I submitted a request to be relieved of my duties. To his credit, the Commander agreed. After my wife started recovering (thank God!), I submitted a request to my Commander to return to duty in the unit gradually… but I also wanted to know where I stood in the unit. He sent me a “10 Things I Hate About You” type list to me (I still have it) saying all the ways I had failed the squadron; i.e., not living up to his standards to be promoted to Major, not being part of the SUI, and being critical of me for keeping my safety qualifications up online and doing CAP coursework online as “not being helpful to the unit.”
He also said that it wasn’t about my disability, it was about my commitment to the unit and said I was stunned, to say the least. I asked to meet with him personally. He refused…
I went to the Group Commander and asked to meet with her personally. She and the Deputy Commander of Group did meet with me.
Unfortunately, the options they set out were few:
1. Stay in until I had enough time for retirement.
2. Transfer to the wing “ghost squadron.”
They said there was nothing else they could do.
I have no desire to Come And Pay just to be on the rolls until retirement. Apparently, despite CAP’s stated policy on disabled individuals, it hasn’t filtered down to the Squadron level. […]
I have no desire to be part of an organization that does not even enforce its own stated policies and lets a Commander set his/her own policies based on his/her beliefs, [in violation of CAP regulations] not what CAP states on paper about individuals with disabilities.
I also suppose my history of commendations (including a Commander’s Commendation and selection by the local chapter of the Air Force Association as Senior Member of the Year) don’t mean anything.
So be it.