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AbnMedOps
Recruit

Posts: 14

« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2011, 04:02:22 AM »

rmcmanus,

Perhaps I didn't express myself as clearly as I should have. It is not that I necessarily would make that remark to my Congressman, but that I would even feel inclined ot do so...and if little-old-me would have that knee-jerk reaction, then I am pretty sure that there must a heck of a lot of other people out there who might also...and many who probably have.

Just look at the type of posts concerning CAP you will find, by the bucket load, on AOPA and many other sites. The specifics complaint and observations often closely align with the commentary on this very board. It seems that the very same conditions and problems continue to plague CAP, year after year and decade after decade. If I am negative, I am severely negative about the apparent fact that NOTHING EVER SEEMS TO CHANGE OR IMPROVE.

Why does this arguably marginal organization continue to generate so much emotion? The love/hate dynamic surrounding CAP is simply amazing to a semi-outsider like myself, and absolutely fatal to the organization when potential members or supporters of CAP are exposed to it.

There are a whole lot of really good and well meaning people, seemingly flailing away in a dysfunctional organizational model that just doesn't seem to be capable of change. Then, after a while, they become former members.

I would love to present some of my ideas for change (or "agendas", if you prefer) for critique.
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Major Carrales
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,106

« Reply #41 on: March 21, 2011, 04:05:56 AM »

When I was commander of the Composite Squadron, one of my goals was to promote better relationships with the GA community.  That included helping out with "fly ins" and putting a friendly face on CAP.  Cadets helps out at County Airports and we made efforts to be as helpful as we would.

CAP should have a great relationship with the General Aviation community...I think it is an unwritten mission.  Pilots should be happy to see us and we should be ready to help them if we can.
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Major Joe Ely "Sparky" Carrales, CAP
Commander
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Robert Hartigan
Forum Regular

Posts: 184
Unit: each

« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2011, 04:12:47 AM »

3. A seeming active discouragement of pilots joining. At least 2-3 times I have been engaged by a CAP member, and when I mention "Oh, that sounds interesting, I'm a private pilot" they immediately shut me down with "Well, CAP IS NOT A FLYING CLUB."  WTF???

(Well, no [Filter Subversion], I know that CAP is not a "flying club" but ya know what? Since CAP doesn't seem to thrive very [Filter Subversion] well on it's own, maybe when I next spend some quality time with my Representative or Senator, or just some staffer or General Officer, I just might be tempted to blurt out: "Hey, those CAP clowns should be de-funded of tax money and turned into A FLYING CLUB!")

I read AbnMedOps comment above as more of a "could happen if all the stars align just right" sort of thing. A reaction on his part to a errant, however condescending remark that he has taken as an insult to his experience and understanding of CAP.  I seriously doubt AbnMedOps would follow through on such an action and even if he did I doubt it would result in congressional action.

I could see the situation play out where someone is interested in CAP and because of some misunderstanding or comments being taken out of context they leave with a negative impression. Then when his friend mention CAP the story is told of his experience and the multiplier effect of customer service results in two less members of CAP. 

Characteristics of the perceiver, characteristics of the target and characteristics of the situation combine to form the process of interpreting information about another person however; barriers like stereotyping, first-impression error and projection may give
inaccurate information. Extreme care must be taken to avoid primacy effects and first impression errors with all initial staff interactions with the public given the remarks and comments of bloggers and forum posters like AbnMedOps.
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<><><>#996
 GRW   #2717
Ned
Resident Philosopher

Posts: 2,214

« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2011, 04:18:10 AM »


 It seems that the very same conditions and problems continue to plague CAP, year after year and decade after decade. If I am negative, I am severely negative about the apparent fact that NOTHING EVER SEEMS TO CHANGE OR IMPROVE.

( . . .)

I would love to present some of my ideas for change (or "agendas", if you prefer) for critique.

Does anyone really have a problem with this???

Apparently so.

Ask a silly question . . .

I can't wait for futher insight by anonymous disgruntled fomer members.
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AbnMedOps
Recruit

Posts: 14

« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2011, 04:19:38 AM »

^  What Robert Hartigan said!   :)   

Thank you for articulating  my in inarticulateness, sir!
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AbnMedOps
Recruit

Posts: 14

« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2011, 04:27:32 AM »

Ned, I have enjoyed your reasoned posts. If you care to use the email feature, I would be happy privately shed my "anonymous" screen name and introduce myself. I do not however desire to post my name in a public forum.

Not sure that I qualify as "disgruntled".... I had a mostly good experience as a cadet, and I hold the best wishes for the organization. But I do have some serious, and I think well-found reservations. Well-founded, or otherwise there wouldn't be this many people on this particular thread.
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NCRblues
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,478
Unit: lostiguess

« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2011, 05:01:00 AM »

rmcmanus,

Perhaps I didn't express myself as clearly as I should have. It is not that I necessarily would make that remark to my Congressman, but that I would even feel inclined ot do so...and if little-old-me would have that knee-jerk reaction, then I am pretty sure that there must a heck of a lot of other people out there who might also...and many who probably have.

Just look at the type of posts concerning CAP you will find, by the bucket load, on AOPA and many other sites. The specifics complaint and observations often closely align with the commentary on this very board. It seems that the very same conditions and problems continue to plague CAP, year after year and decade after decade. If I am negative, I am severely negative about the apparent fact that NOTHING EVER SEEMS TO CHANGE OR IMPROVE.

Why does this arguably marginal organization continue to generate so much emotion? The love/hate dynamic surrounding CAP is simply amazing to a semi-outsider like myself, and absolutely fatal to the organization when potential members or supporters of CAP are exposed to it.

There are a whole lot of really good and well meaning people, seemingly flailing away in a dysfunctional organizational model that just doesn't seem to be capable of change. Then, after a while, they become former members.

I would love to present some of my ideas for change (or "agendas", if you prefer) for critique.

I think that if you wanted to tell your congressman how you feel about CAP you should, but a real life reasoning is that nothing will come of it. Congress is going to vote on the Congressional Gold Medal for cap and it will pass with 100% support. CAP has done way to much good for someone of little to no importance to make a difference.

And lets also be honest with ourselves here...any organization has people (ex members or not) that will yell doom and gloom about it. That includes every police force on the planet, every military, judge, jury, hospital, car dealership, internet provider, even your (shocking i know) congressman has the people that hate it/them. Yet, they are still around...

So I'm sorry if you have "reservations" about CAP. Put them out here and lets talk about them. The vast majority of the posters here hold command positions or staff positions or both. So lets hear your problems and lets talk about them.
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Ned
Resident Philosopher

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« Reply #47 on: March 21, 2011, 05:26:08 AM »

Not sure that I qualify as "disgruntled"....

Well, call me crazy, but anyone who comes on here and anonymously posts about "wannabe pretenders" and a "focus on scandal and backstabbing" in their very first post does not sound like someone who is currently "gruntled."   8)

Quote
I had a mostly good experience as a cadet, and I hold the best wishes for the organization. But I do have some serious, and I think well-found reservations. Well-founded, or otherwise there wouldn't be this many people on this particular thread.

See, that's the internet for you.  The fact that a dozen or so (mostly unhappy) former members continue to post on any internet forum related to CAP is not a very meaningful event.  It actually says a lot more about them than it does about CAP when you consider that we have had over a million members since our inception. 

Some folks deliberately come here with a hidden agenda to spin and churn the waters.  Some were indeed wronged and simply can't let go.  Some are simple trolls and delight in causing trouble for its own sake.

Sadly, that means that even well-meaning former members with positive insights and suggestions have a difficult time being heard and taken seriously. 

This is not a CAPTalk-specific phenomena.  Sadly, there is a trail of dead CAP fora that lead here; many overtaken by such "nattering nabobs of negativism" that average dedicated CAP volunteers were driven away.  This site is indeed well moderated.  But the combination of anonymity and unhappy internet users posting late in the night is a difficult combination for any moderator.  I don't envy them.

As it turns out, I'm actually one of the few CAP members whose job it is to listen to and represent the interests of all members.  That is literally my job description as one of the At Large BoG guys.  So I do spend a lot of time reading and considering the traffic both here and on CadetStuff.  I go to a lot of conferences and activities to meet members and talk about stuff like retention and governance.

And you would be surprised what shows up in my email and PM box.  Human nature being what it is, nobody ever writes to me to say "Hey, just wanted you to know that I'm having a great time in CAP!"  But a lot of people write to tell me about problems.  A lot of problems.  Everything from a suspicion that their squadron commander is playing favorites to vague and ominous warnings that our senior leadership is Evil and Not To Be Trusted.  And a lot in-between.

Which is fine, of course.  It is indeed my job to listen to and represent the membership.  I can't fix specific problems because I have no command authority whatsoever.  But I can be part of systemic fixes, which is gratifying when we can make it happen.

So, the email button works both ways.  If you have realistic issues and potential solutions, I'd love to hear about them.  If I have the time to bat them back and forth a bit, I'd be happy to do that too.

But I have a hard time giving weight or serious attention to anonymous rants.  (Which I think was your choice of words.)
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caphornbuckle
Seasoned Member

Posts: 258

« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2011, 06:27:25 AM »

I believe this is actually a good thread.  At least its intentions are good.

Even though there are former members on here that have had problems with CAP in both the past and present, it still keeps us on our toes in our efforts to both recruit and retain.

AbnMedOps's comments have made me wonder how many other former members are out there with the same opinions about CAP.  He just simply put it all on the table.  Not that it was done in an appropriate manner for a CAP-themed site, but it was said none the less.

For those of us who have been in for many years, we can probably find a former member with AbnMedOps's view of CAP.  Sometimes even worse!  I think this should be considered a "wake up call" for those who try to sell CAP in our backyards and learn from it.  We can try to change ones opinion but only if we know the facts and we can explain to them (sensibly) where they are confused.
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Lt Col Samuel L. Hornbuckle, CAP
Hill CAP
Banned

Posts: 148

« Reply #49 on: March 21, 2011, 11:46:00 AM »

I have spent the last 14 years of my life in CAP and plan to continue to do so. I may not agree with the leadership at times but thats just when I remind myself that the program has changed since I joined and I am here to give back to CAP what it gave me as a cadet.

However that being said a year or so ago I was assigned as Advisor to the Commander of a unit that had just switched from Senior Squadron to Composite Squadron. The squadron commander has 2 years in CAP but very little working knowledge of the regs or the programs.

I had many seniors leave the program because they felt that youth should not be part of the program, I had one leave over a removal of duty position even though he was not showing up as he also felt youth shouldn't be involved.

I had one member threaten to leave because the at time Deputy Commander for Seniors was constantly showing up to meetings 45 minutes late and not having anything prepared for the Seniors to train on or do.

 I had a Senior Member leave because she was verbally harassed by a at time Wing Staff Member for preforming her actual day job (Interpreter for the Deaf) for a Deaf Senior Member at Wing Cadet Competition where she wasn't wearing a CAP Uniform however when Interpreting you can't wear anything that has designs on it (spoke to NHQ and as long as she is functioning as a Interpreter there is nothing we can do about the uniform as it would violate ADA by failure to provide reasonable communications) and because of the lack of training scheduled by the Squadron Deputy Commander of Seniors.
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Justin T. Adkinson
Former C/1st Lt and SM Capt
Extended Hiatus Statues
FW
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Posts: 2,187

« Reply #50 on: March 21, 2011, 02:22:03 PM »


 It seems that the very same conditions and problems continue to plague CAP, year after year and decade after decade. If I am negative, I am severely negative about the apparent fact that NOTHING EVER SEEMS TO CHANGE OR IMPROVE.

( . . .)

I would love to present some of my ideas for change (or "agendas", if you prefer) for critique.

Does anyone really have a problem with this???

Apparently so.

Ask a silly question . . .

I can't wait for futher insight by anonymous disgruntled fomer members.

Gee, Ned, I don't think our (explative deleted) former members have a problem with CAPTalk.... >:D
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,662

« Reply #51 on: March 21, 2011, 02:30:31 PM »

3. A seeming active discouragement of pilots joining. At least 2-3 times I have been engaged by a CAP member, and when I mention "Oh, that sounds interesting, I'm a private pilot" they immediately shut me down with "Well, CAP IS NOT A FLYING CLUB."  WTF???

(Well, no [Filter Subversion], I know that CAP is not a "flying club" but ya know what? Since CAP doesn't seem to thrive very [Filter Subversion] well on it's own, maybe when I next spend some quality time with my Representative or Senator, or just some staffer or General Officer, I just might be tempted to blurt out: "Hey, those CAP clowns should be de-funded of tax money and turned into A FLYING CLUB!")

Welcome to CAPTalk.

BTW - CAP is not a flying club, and the vast majority of those doing the heavy lifting in the organization, are not, and never have been pilots.  No one should be telling you that on th initial meet-up, however the expectations should be set properly on day one so that new members, who happen to be pilots, understand that their aviation skills are important and valued, but not the only reason we want them to join, and flying will not be the
only thing they are expected to do.
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ColonelJack
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,369
Unit: SER-GA-153

« Reply #52 on: March 21, 2011, 02:38:00 PM »

Back to the original thread ...

I posted for quite some time on CAP Talk as a "former" member (well, retired, anyway) before I came back into the fold in 2009.  I maintained some contact with CAP even though I had burned out after 16 years (1981-1997).  Having spent six stressful but fun years as a squadron commander and then moving to the group staff level, I felt at that point I'd done all I could in CAP and the break was very very medicinal to me.

When I came back in, it was to do one specific job in the unit I used to command, and I've had a ball ever since.

Jack
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Jack Bagley, Ed. D.
Lt. Col., Civil Air Patrol
Gill Robb Wilson Award No. 1366, 29 Nov 1991
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TDHenderson
Member

Posts: 88

« Reply #53 on: March 21, 2011, 03:17:21 PM »

I left because of the politics and fallout after She Who Must Be Obeyed destroyed the Iowa Wing.  We were making great strides to bring CAP in Iowa into the 21st century and become a vital and meaningful organization and partner to the State (who, by the way, gave us MISSIONS, things I hear are scarce these days).

Where did I go?  I traded in my BDU's for ODU's and am happily serving the US Coast Guard as an Auxiliarist.  It is very rewarding to work for a parent organization who WANTS us around, treats us as equals, and thanks us for our service.  I have had the honor of being under orders now twice for the Coast Guard and am preparing to be deployed again for the Red River flooding this Spring.

Do I miss the CAP, heck yes.  As a former Cadet and Senior it pained me to no end to leave.  I do hope the AF finds you guys more missions to stay relevant in the future, I'd hate for the organization to meet an end due to irrelevance.

Trevor
Former Member
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peter rabbit
Seasoned Member

Posts: 203

« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2011, 03:34:49 PM »

Quote
BTW - CAP is not a flying club, and the vast majority of those doing the heavy lifting in the organization, are not, and never have been pilots.

I agree - they might be pilots, but a lot of the work is non-pilot duties.

Quote
No one should be telling you that on th initial meet-up, however the expectations should be set properly on day one so that new members, who happen to be pilots, understand that their aviation skills are important and valued, but not the only reason we want them to join, and flying will not be the only thing they are expected to do.

I only know of a few units that are doing that, and they are the better units in the wing.
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Fubar
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Posts: 744

« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2011, 10:04:25 PM »

Where did I go?  I traded in my BDU's for ODU's and am happily serving the US Coast Guard as an Auxiliarist.  It is very rewarding to work for a parent organization who WANTS us around, treats us as equals, and thanks us for our service.  I have had the honor of being under orders now twice for the Coast Guard and am preparing to be deployed again for the Red River flooding this Spring.

I'm not a "grass is always greener on the other side" kinda guy, but I've noticed this mantra from Coast Guard auxiliarists and I can't help but wonder if it's true. I have seen no indication from the USAF that they will ever adopt the Coast Guard's approach to working with their auxiliary and CAP hasn't been assigned any new emergency services responsibilities to fill the void left by the lack of ELT monitoring. What we do very well however is the cadet program, is it CAP's fate to drop a mission and end up with just two?

I was once a volunteer with a group whose parent service was a police department. For a number of reasons, the PD began requesting assistance from this volunteer group less and less to the point all the group ever did was train but was never called upon to help. Sure, the Chief would send someone by once a year to declare how important the volunteers were to the PD and how much they appreciated the volunteers, but eventually most the volunteers got fed up with spending enormous amounts of time and energy training and never getting the opportunity to use that training for real. Most left, pretty much the only folks who stuck around were those that really liked wearing a police uniform and dropping "I'm with the police department" in as many conversations as possible.

I fear the same is occurring within the ES side of CAP right now, mostly because I've lived through it before and I'm starting to recognize the signs. We either need to find another large government agency that is willing to oversee us in the way that congress currently has the USAF doing, get the USAF to find us more missions we can effectively perform for them, or perhaps a combination of the two. Otherwise I fear I'll see history repeat and we'll end up with a lot more former members at a faster attrition rate than we can sustain.
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #56 on: March 21, 2011, 10:11:00 PM »

Where did I go?  I traded in my BDU's for ODU's and am happily serving the US Coast Guard as an Auxiliarist.  It is very rewarding to work for a parent organization who WANTS us around, treats us as equals, and thanks us for our service.  I have had the honor of being under orders now twice for the Coast Guard and am preparing to be deployed again for the Red River flooding this Spring.

I'm not a "grass is always greener on the other side" kinda guy, but I've noticed this mantra from Coast Guard auxiliarists and I can't help but wonder if it's true. I have seen no indication from the USAF that they will ever adopt the Coast Guard's approach to working with their auxiliary and CAP hasn't been assigned any new emergency services responsibilities to fill the void left by the lack of ELT monitoring. What we do very well however is the cadet program, is it CAP's fate to drop a mission and end up with just two?

I was once a volunteer with a group whose parent service was a police department. For a number of reasons, the PD began requesting assistance from this volunteer group less and less to the point all the group ever did was train but was never called upon to help. Sure, the Chief would send someone by once a year to declare how important the volunteers were to the PD and how much they appreciated the volunteers, but eventually most the volunteers got fed up with spending enormous amounts of time and energy training and never getting the opportunity to use that training for real. Most left, pretty much the only folks who stuck around were those that really liked wearing a police uniform and dropping "I'm with the police department" in as many conversations as possible.

I fear the same is occurring within the ES side of CAP right now, mostly because I've lived through it before and I'm starting to recognize the signs. We either need to find another large government agency that is willing to oversee us in the way that congress currently has the USAF doing, get the USAF to find us more missions we can effectively perform for them, or perhaps a combination of the two. Otherwise I fear I'll see history repeat and we'll end up with a lot more former members at a faster attrition rate than we can sustain.

Get your ground pounders together and call your local friendly Red Cross chapter. I'm pretty sure they would like the extra hands come a natural disaster.
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
Fubar
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 744

« Reply #57 on: March 21, 2011, 11:05:53 PM »

Get your ground pounders together and call your local friendly Red Cross chapter. I'm pretty sure they would like the extra hands come a natural disaster.

Very true, but they'll want everyone who shows up to become a Red Cross member. There is a significant amount of training that they do in their DSHR system and they won't care about any CAP training received (most of it won't be applicable anyway). They do have a procedure for "spontaneous volunteers" to handle the influx of folks who just show up to help during a disaster, but they limit what they can do and try to funnel them into becoming a regular ARC member.

As to ground teams, I'm afraid it's one of the signs of a mass pending exodus I've seen before. Granted, these types of things can be locally driven, but ground teams here really aren't mobilized because they are rarely needed. Again, lots of training but never getting the call to use the training.

I'm by no means lamenting the lack of crashed aircraft, fortunately it doesn't happen often. In those rare occasions where an aircraft has crashed someplace other than the airport, my wing has located the aircraft and notified the local law enforcement agency. LE gets their people on scene within minutes thanks to their helicopters. They call the air ambulance and the patient(s) are whisked away. All of this occurs while the ground team is either mustering up before departure or making a multi-hour drive (adhering to posted speed limits) to the crash location. By the time the ground team arrives, the only thing they end up doing is "scene security" for a few hours and then going home. This hasn't led to retaining talented ground team members.
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cap235629
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Posts: 1,251
Unit: SWR-AR-083

« Reply #58 on: March 21, 2011, 11:11:20 PM »

of the 5 most recent (within the last 2 years) live missions our squadron has been tasked, only 1 involved a downed aircraft.  The other 4 were ground searches for missing persons.  We also responded to 2 ELT searches right before the changeover.
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Bill Hobbs, Major, CAP
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Tabhair 'om póg, is Éireannach mé
JohnKachenmeister
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Posts: 3,352

« Reply #59 on: March 21, 2011, 11:42:52 PM »

The specific reason I left CAP was a realization of a lack of integrity among some officers at Wing and Region level, but my dissatisfaction with CAP (and Wing's dissatisfaction with me) had been growing for some time.

I spent many years as an Army officer, and believe I can correctly diagnose and treat the organizational malaise that CAP suffers with.

CAP pays lip service to "Excellence," but violently resists any efforts to achieve excellence.  Training of junior officers is poor, and the cadet program has been dumbed-down and softened to the point that it is meaningless.  Yet each time I proposed changes to improve officer training, I was met with "We can't do that." or "This is a volunteer organization."  "You can't get the pilots to... (insert any task here)."

At a FL Wing encampment, even the cadets were moaning how soft the training was.   Apparently, FL Wing thinks we have a bunch of delicate delinquents wearing AF blue.

CAP regs set no appearance or realistic training standard.  Charlie Manson and ZZ top can run cadet programs or fly missions if they wear white and gray.  Moms can run cadet programs after taking an online course with a paragraph about saluting.  Cub Scout den mothers get more training than CAP provides for junior cadet program officers.  Yet we tell our "Customers" that we are the auxiliary of the finest Air Force in the world.  They can see with their own eyes that we would not stand up favorably against the Libyan Air Force Junior ROTC.

Training is hard work.  CAP does not want to do the hard work of training a viable and respectable force.  It is easier to find excuses.

The lack of integrity pushed me over the edge.  The lack of excellence drove me to the cliff.
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Another former CAP officer
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