[Editor’s Note: We received this image and commentary today from what appears to be an anonymous team contribution.]
In the past, I was told about scattered reports of commander bigotry, racist jokes, and prepper arms encouragement within Civil Air Patrol. I always laughed it off as more ultra-left attacks on our nation because the unit leaders with which I am familiar do not behave like this. Four years ago we had frequent visits from highly qualified and diverse aviation instructors that seemed to understand and support our efforts. That suddenly ended in 2012-2013.
Over the past few months, I was shown evidence that Civil Air Patrol – U.S. Air Force Auxiliary is now very much IN-YOUR-FACE with the hate symbols of the Ku Klux Klan. A young man that I know was asked to help improve his school’s website and he was told to look around for “best practices” and found a recent 2015 National CAP Balsem Award for this website, please see attached photo. I then remembered a hint I was given that I was in a special unit in “CAP quarantine”? I had no idea what I was being told and I regret having ignored the comment at the time.
When it was clear that CAP National Headquarters approved this particular symbol, I had a trusted friend of mine ask some questions. He told me that these images are very appealing to the “dregs” (his word, not mine) of a target recruiting audience in the Southeast Region Civil Air Patrol. Well, that made sense given the location of those units choosing to display this imagery. More information came back that firearms and aircraft accidents, pornography and the abuse of young moderates (teacher-academic types, Jews, female instructors and other “flaming liberals”) who did not fit with the program led to a “self purge”. A new target audience was being recruited in Southeast Region that would be more loyal to important but unstated objectives and a “firmer” chain of command.
The unit commander specifically stated, in public forum, that they deliberately picked this image of Confederate Leaders on Stone Mountain. This image was chosen over the mountain’s backside and over the natural beauty of Hawk Mountain above Camp Merrill. See quote below. Even worse, the leaders appear to have made this choice during a time of budding social unrest in the United States to send a defiant message.
“I was surprised this past week to find that my unit had been singled out for recognition at the National Conference for a best website award (sorry, I didn’t put us in this year for a dang thing – don’t know how that happened but I am thankful!). Web site design is (sadly) pretty low on my priority list as a Squadron Commander, except in as much as it supports good operations of the unit. I’d like to recognize my S4 and IT designer (LT Scott Davis) and my multiple Balsem Award winning PA (LTC Brian Berry) as well as the Georgia Wing IT staff (MAJ Sam Levie) who all provided solid infrastructure, graphics, coding, and technical input to support a good design, based on a template that we updated a bit (we altered the NHQ provided Mt. Rushmore front page graphics to a local Stone Mountain GA image).
Thoughts and comments? Suggestions for “Excellence in All We Do”?
Spam (Jeff O’Hara, Commander, SSCS)
For your readers around the US who do not know much about Georgia and Stone Mountain, here are some details on the unstated meaning and symbolism selected by this paramilitary organization.
The History of Stone Mountain and Mount Rushmore
The Venable Brothers (William H. Venable [1852–1905] and Samuel H. Venable [1856–1939]) of DeKalb County Georgia owned rock quarries and were involved in the 1915 resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. Sam Venable owned Stone Mountain where a cross burning was held in 1915 and he granted the Klan an easement to the mountain in 1923. The Venable brothers then granted a 12-year lease to Stone Mountain for the carving of the Confederate memorial that was tasked to Gutzon Borglum.
Borglum agreed to include a Ku Klux Klan altar in his plans for the memorial to acknowledge the request of Helen Plane in 1915, who wrote to him:
“I feel it is due to the KKK that saved us from Negro domination and carpetbag rule, that it be immortalized on Stone Mountain”.
Borglum personally made the first cut on June 23rd, 1923 and he developed special techniques and sympathetic connections with the reorganized Ku Klux Klan, who were the primary financial backers. Borglum was a perfectionist authoritarian and tensions with the others eventually rose to a point that in March 1925 Borglum smashed his clay and plaster models and left Georgia permanently. All his work was cleared from the mountain’s face to be replaced by that of Henry Augustus Lukeman. However, for the Stone Mountain project Borglum had developed a Magic Lantern projection technique that would eventually be used for his 1927 Mount Rushmore project.
This demonstrates that the CAP National Website Header of Mount Rushmore is linked to the Georgia Sandy Springs Stone Mountain Header with an inside joke being directed past African Americans, to include Maj Gen Chuck Carr himself. All of this is happening with CAP National and Southeast Region and Georgia Wing approval. In my opinion, there is justifiable anger over this, but your readers will have to decide for themselves.
The command chain of accountability, taught to me by a Civil Air Patrol cadet, includes the following:
Sandy Springs Cadet Squadron: Jeff O’Hara
Georgia Wing Group I Commander: John Aden
Georgia Wing Vice Commander: Joseph Knight III
Georgia Wing Commander: Richard Greenwood
Southeast Region Commander: Barry Melton
National Vice Commander: Larry Myrick
National Commander: Joseph Vazquez
CAP BoG Chair: Jayson Altieri
Secretary of the Air Force: Deborah James