[Editor’s Note: We received this from a former CAP member. Thank you for your contribution.]
Reportedly, Civil Air Patrol Col Antonio “Tony” Pineda, Jr, wants to become the CAP’s new national commander and get himself two general’s stars in the worst way.
Pineda, formerly the Florida Wing Commander, and most recently the commander of the CAP’s Southeast Region, is said to be campaigning hard to get the top spot in the Civil Air Patrol. Pineda now wants to just skip a grade. Why mess with one little ‘ol star, when he can go directly from Colonel to two-star General? It’s what he did when he first joined the CAP about nine years ago. Joining as a slick-sleeve senior member, Pineda went from basic newbie to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, simply by taking a job as a group commander in South Florida. It was a job, apparently, that at the time, no one else wanted.
What qualified the “Colonel” for such high rank?
Well, he did spend several years as a buck Sergeant in the Florida Army National Guard. He was never mobilized, never deployed, never attended an officer candidate school and never faced combat.
What about the “loyal opposition?” CAP Brig Gen Dwight Wheless, currently the Civil Air Patrol’s National Vice Commander, is also in the running for the top job in the organization.
Wheless, however, is said to shun the politics of it all. Said one source, speaking to us on condition of anonymity, “Dwight feels he is too busy doing his job for the Civil Air Patrol to go around pressing flesh and kissing babies.”
Brig Gen Wheless, it’s reported, has been having a “relationship” with a full-time Civil Air Patrol employee, Robin Hunt.
NOTF received an anonymous letter this week, which looks suspiciously like a “sting” letter used by law enforcement agencies, usually to trap people buying child pornography through the U.S. Mail. Pineda, trying very hard to oust Gen Wheless from the running for the CAP’s top job, is a law enforcement officer, a special agent of Florida’s state police, the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement). The FDLE is known to use this type of letter to attempt to discredit those people that they cannot “get” any other way.
The letter stated, in part, “It is a fact that the National Vice Commander, Brig Gen Dwight Wheless, the very day he was re-elected as National Vice Commander in Las Vegas was in the MGM Grand Hotel Bar celebrating with corporate employee Robin Hunt. He was in full Civil Air Patrol uniform drinking, kissing, and the recipient of a lap dance, and other crude actions, compliments of Miss Hunt, before they retired to his room. It was quite a show.”
Apparently it was quite a show — in the imagination of a Pineda supporter or, possibly, Pineda himself.
Several people we talked to told us a completely different story. According to several sources, Gen Wheless did meet Ms. Hunt in the hotel bar, but they were there with “numerous other people from the ranks of the volunteers and with employees of the national headquarters.”
One source said, “This occurred after the banquet and everybody went to their rooms to change out of their formal attire, mess dress uniforms, etc. After everybody was back into casual clothing, this group met back down at the bar. Dwight had been with us for some time, and finally went over to talk with Robin (Hunt). At one point, he did put his hand on her arm, and he did, at one point, kiss her. Later on, however, Robin, who was not feeling well and went back upstairs to her own room. Dwight stayed in the bar with us for some time. At no point did he ever go to Robin’s room.”
When we made an inquiry about this to National Headquarters, Melanie LeMay, the CAP public affairs specialist, simply told us, “Both parties have been counseled.”
But, counseled for what? Gen Wheless is not married, and neither, apparently is Robin Hunt. And although Ms. Hunt is a corporate employee, she is not under the command of Gen Wheless.
There is no guidance or regulation in the Civil Air Patrol pertaining to adult relationships between volunteers and employees, volunteers and volunteers, or even employees and employees. There is, apparently, no written prohibition.
Additionally, there seems to be actual precedent for these CAP “relationships.” One source told us that CAP Col Panone married a woman who used to work in the CAP’s public affairs shop and they moved to Alaska. And Col Scott Hamilton, a CAP legal officer, also married a female corporate employee.
So, did Gen Wheless and Robin Hunt violate any rule, law, regulation or directive? No.
Do they have a right to see each other? Of course. Did they do anything that CAP cadets do when no one is looking? Of course — not. Does any of this make Gen. Wheless not worthy to command the Civil Air Patrol? At least, it’s not a situation of “Don’t ask…don’t tell.”
As to Pineda, it’s reported that at least several of the Region Commanders are supporting him for the top spot in the CAP. One source said, “I can’t imagine why.”
An Air Force OSI agent, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “You know, this guy is a bad cop. He just might become the CAP’s National Commander one day, and there’s not a thing we can do about it. God bless ’em.”