[Editor’s Note: We received this information from our inbox. Thank you for your contribution. Dr. Phillip L. Blansett was a CAP whistleblower from the Tennessee Wing.]
Dear Secretary Wynne:
I write to you regarding Civil Air Patrol, the only United States Air Force Auxiliary.
As you know, the Civil Air Patrol was founded by patriot aviators who knew that it would not be long until the United States would be drawn into the war in Europe. They organized themselves. They then presented their patriotic vision of using Citizen Aviators to the President of the United States, who welcomed their alliance.
Six days later, Japan struck Pearl Harbor and their services were needed more than they first imagined. Their confirmed enemy submarine kills, combined with the ability to establish coast to coast radio communications through the use of airborne repeaters, and the willingness of the citizen aviators to patrol our national boundaries for intrusion by enemy agents has earned the Civil Air Patrol an outstanding place in our country’s history.
With the end of World War II and the introduction of the long Cold War, with its flash points in Korea and Vietnam, America saw the modernization of the USAF and some difficult years for Civil Air Patrol.
In the interest of brevity, a course but accurate distillation of its history reveals various periods of drifting, confusion of its mission, and the introduction of questionable methods to achieve its goals. This description of its historical distillation is confirmed and supported by various attempts by Congress to swerve the path of Civil Air Patrol back to the direction and goals originally intended by the President of the United States and Civil Air Patrol’s Founding Patriot Aviators, and, as intended by Congress in its decision to grant a Congressional Charter.
Unfortunately, Civil Air Patrol found itself unable to meet its organizational charter directives under the structure that guides most American organizations. The 501(c)3 corporation that defines Civil Air Patrol recognizes Civil Air Patrol’s governance to be vested, as in all other 501(c)3 organizations, in its Board of Directors. The National Commander serves as its Board Chairman, and each Wing Commander and Regional Commander serves on the Board of Directors, which they call the National Board, as equal members of the Board of Directors.
However, because of the paramilitary structure of Civil Air Patrol, Board meetings evolved into paramilitary staff meetings with the National Commander presiding over a consenting Junior Officer Staff. It is easy to see, therefore, how the Board of Directors could allow, with their knowledge, the Tennessee Wing Headquarters to receive citation after citation for hazardous wiring and structural damage and still avoid necessary and mandated repairs because of the citations being pocketed by a sympathetic Fire Chief who served concurrently for years as the Tennessee Wing Commander. Even when brought to the attention of the Board of Directors, they could not function to instruct the offending Tennessee Wing Commander to comply, because they had become impotent in functioning as a 501(c)3 corporation Board of Directors.
Both the Air Force and Congress repeatedly recognized this inability of Civil Air Patrol, as it had evolved, to self-govern and self-discipline its organization. This conclusion can be verified by the several DOD-IG investigations and reports, the several GAO-IG investigations over the years, and by the superimposition of growing numbers of oversight organizations, such as the semi-separate corporation known as CAP-USAF. When CAP-USAF failed to provide the necessary oversight, the Congress established the Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors (BOG), which directly involves you.
The BOG has only one function, and that is to see that the 501(c)3 Board of Directors complies with the laws of Corporate America, the Needs of the United States Air Force, and the Purposes for which Congress initially issued a Congressional Charter and for which Civil Air Patrol retains that Congressional Charter, a compliance that defiant National Commanders have refused, on the record, to implement, despite repeated DOD-IG and GAO-IG findings. (See the refusal chronicled in CAP’s response to the various DOD-IG and GAO-IG findings).
The drifting by the Civil Air Patrol can be traced directly to the regrettable dysfunction within the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force caused by the ethics failure of Secretary Roche and his subsequent resignation; and, the interim period awaiting your selection and installation as the permanent Secretary of the Air Force. Welcome aboard, sir. Because of the instability at the head of the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, occurring precisely as the Congressionally created BOG was envisioned, created and attempted to be implemented, the Civil Air Patrol was left to wander adrift.
One of the central aspects of Congress’ establishment of the third layer of super-regulatory organization above the 501(c)3 Board of Directors which seems intent on failing to govern, and above the CAP-USAF which finds itself compromised, was to have a Board Of Governors (BOG) made up of Air Force Senior Officers and Civil Air Patrol appointees. In the vacuum when SecAF Roche was not appointing Air Force Senior Officers, Civil Air Patrol National Commanders placed Civil Air Patrol appointees who, incidentally, had Air Force service in their history, but also service in and primary loyalty to Civil Air Patrol and its chain of command in their history.
This infused the BOG with contagion regarding organizational loyalty and defeated Congressional Intent to have a balanced USAF-CAP Board of Governors. Also during which time, as reported by the current National Commander just days ago, more than 53,000 members have left the Civil Air Patrol within the last 36 months, which he claims is more than the number who are currently members. While the National Commander of Civil Air Patrol states that there are over 53,000 members on the rolls ready at a moments notice, he fails to categorize those members into appropriate categories: Active, Inactive, Cadet, Mission Ready and Personnel-Not-Mission-Capable.
CAP Maj Gen Pineda states that investigation shows that the members have left for reasons that he characterizes as Poor Leadership, Lack of training (which is STILL Poor Leadership), and Lack of meaningful activities and/or duty assignments (which is STILL Poor Leadership). Yet he implies, and all can see, it is not the poor leaders who have left and are leaving Civil Air Patrol. Rather it is the once dedicated, once energetic, and capable volunteers whose time, treasure and resources are squandered by the characteristics of poor leadership that he has identified. Some, sir, have opted to lead from outside of CAP, as have I, never diminishing my patriotism, or dedication the Core Values of the Air Force of Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in All that We Do.
The attachment to this letter contains an Annotated Evaluation with hyperlinks to web pages supporting my request for your intervention, and focusing on areas of need. My reason for writing, sir, is not to “tell” but to motivate: The American Taxpayer deserves better stewardship of its treasure; the United States Air Force deserves a fully operational and ethical Auxiliary which delivers dependable resources; and, those who join your Auxiliary, sir, deserve a safe, fulfilling and ethical means to deliver patriotic service.
One such annotation is very personal to me. The occurrence was a comment by a “Trusted Member of Tennessee Wing Staff” who off-handedly referred to my oldest son as “Oh, the Black Boy.” My concerns regarding this issue are very simple, and very clear. My son is what he is, as, Sir, you what you are. Labeling neither makes nor changes anyone. But it was a shock to hear the TNWG Leader share his assessment and label. It was simply inappropriate. The TNWG Leader and I have long since reconciled and forgiven what he acknowledges was an inappropriate and insensitive comment.
The fall-Out within CAP leadership at every level, however, continues, with all levels of leadership defending the assessment and proclamation initially proclaimed, even though withdrawn by the proclaimer years ago. It has eerie similarity to the silence of Moderate Islamists in the shadow of Radical Islamists who break their silence, not to condemn the Radicals, but only to condemn those who would criticize other Islamists, however tragic their behavior becomes. And that is the issue. I maintain it is a primary reason it is so difficult to find those who claim African American heritage in CAP Field Grade rank or above in fields other than Chaplain.
It is exciting, sir, to see your appointment of the Commander, First Air Force! But to stem the tide and reverse the trend of hemorrhagic bleeding of good members from Civil Air Patrol, full attention to your appointment responsibilities to the Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors, adjusting its membership to comply with Congress’ design, is critical.
I have only touched on the salient points of the Civil Air Patrol dysfunction. I have developed a web page which provides full annotated references for your convenience. I have also notified my Tennessee State and U.S. Congressional Representatives of my letter to you, and my plea that you, and they, do whatever is needed to do to restore Civil Air Patrol to its former patriotic glory.
This letter is sent by email, email@example.com, in order to facilitate linking to expositional websites. A Paper Copy has also been sent for your records.
Phillip L. Blansett, Ph.D.
1 ATTACHMENT: Annotated Evaluation of Major General Antonio J. Pineda’s “Poor Leadership, Poor Leadership, Poor Leadership” remarks to the 501(c)3 corporation Board of Director’s meeting of Civil Air Patrol, with web links.
Secretary of Defense
Chief of Staff, Air Force
Chairman and Vice Chairman, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee
Chairman and Vice Chairman, U.S. House Armed Services Committee