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Dragoon
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« on: January 02, 2007, 12:01:33 AM »

Hope we can avoid the flaming that killed the last thread.

Speaking as an "RLO" (cute term, that), here are some of the challenges I see associated with creating true CAP NCOs.

1.  NCOs come from the ranks - that's where their core strength comes from (as opposed to officers, who enter as managers).  It gives them a "muddy boots" feel of what the rank and file airmen have to do.  The current model of CAP NCOs doesn't have them coming from the "ranks" of CAP members.  They certainly will know no more about the challenges and duties of the average CAP member than any officer will.  Perhaps less, since most officers "came through the ranks" of CAP.

2.  Having NCOs means designating NCO positions - positions that belong to the NCO corps and are NOT filled by officer.  What does a unit do if they don't happen to have an NCO handy to fill the job?

3.  There is no CAP enlisted force to manage and care for.  What exactly do the NCOs advise the officers on?

4.  In a corporate CAP full of golf shirts, an optional rank system, and no regulatory authority commensurate with rank, how the heck can we be "more military" without major changes to the by laws and regulations?


(By the way, I got to peruse the mid-1940s CAP membership manual.  Back then, unless you were a pilot, everyone came in as enlisted.  Pilots got to be flight officers.    Stripes were earned by accumulating some level of "points" with points given for everything from Radio Classes to First Aid Training.  Officers were designated to fill specific positions in the unit, and the grades were determined by the size of the unit.  I couldn't figure out if you gave the grade back when you stepped out of the officer job.)






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lordmonar
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2007, 12:18:40 AM »

As a RLSNCO, I have got concur with your post.

Further more...if we limit CAP NCO to ex-or current RLNCOs we form a cadre of untouchables.  No one can join them who has not served in the military and they will soon become a little clique inside the squadron.
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
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JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2007, 12:44:03 AM »

I respect you guys for your knowledge, but I'm not so ready to cut the idea off at the knees.

First of all, we have ALWAYS had NCO's in the CAP in one form or another.  Secondly, some NCO's are genuinely reluctant to suddenly be second lieutenants.  Thirdly, the AF is a little different from some of the other services with respect to the authority given to senior non-commissioned officers.  AF NCO's are frequently placed in management positions, under very loose and intermittent officer supervision.  I don't see any problem with the current regulations allowing RLNCO's to keep their stripes.

That being said, they place themselves in an unusual position.  They can't be promoted, so where is their incentive to grow and learn the CAP way of doing things?  More ribbons?

Having a senior NCO to motivate and monitor the development of NCO's, and to give them guidance in their unique role in CAP, sounds like a good idea.

It sounds, from Chief Chiafo's comments, that a greater role is anticipated, perhaps even to develop a separate career track for NCO's.  But since we don't know what that role might be, its a little hard to discuss it without random and wild speculation.

As for right now, though, a CAP member wearing E-7 stripes can be, by the Air Force, assumed to have been an E-7 in the RealMilitary.  The same cannot be said of an officer wearing bars, tracks, leaves, birds, or stars.  That automatically extends a certain level of credibility to the CAP NCO that is not enjoyed by the CAP officer.
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Another former CAP officer
Major Carrales
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2007, 12:57:19 AM »

In my short 8 1/2 CAP career I have found CAP NCOs to be among the hardest working most ardent CAP members in the Patrol. 

I think the current practice of "honoring" active duty/retired NCO's with their military rank is the best practice at present. 

Short of a total restructure of the CAP Senior Program, there is no solution nor mechanism to create any other type of CAP-NCO.
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DNall
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2007, 01:06:38 AM »

I'll give this one a try... and start it by saying plz all keep this one professional.

Hope we can avoid the flaming that killed the last thread.

Speaking as an "RLO" (cute term, that), here are some of the challenges I see associated with creating true CAP NCOs.

1.  NCOs come from the ranks - that's where their core strength comes from (as opposed to officers, who enter as managers).  It gives them a "muddy boots" feel of what the rank and file airmen have to do.  The current model of CAP NCOs doesn't have them coming from the "ranks" of CAP members.  They certainly will know no more about the challenges and duties of the average CAP member than any officer will.  Perhaps less, since most officers "came through the ranks" of CAP.
I certainly know what you mean, but let me give you another angle. If this semi-independent NCO corps is out there doing what CAP-RAPs did (& still do to the extent they're around)... isn't down in the Sqs, outside the political BS, isn't that where you get your boots dirty? I realize these guys wouldn't be coming up from OUR ranks getting their boots dirty in OUR mud, but theoretically they could be the bridge between the field & the command echelons, thereby short-circuiting a LOT of political BS, and by speaking truth to power & holding firm a high standards... I don't know if it works or not, but it's a good idea & it's bold. We haven't seen a lot of that lately so I'm for giving it a shot. Big picture though I think it's just one element of many you're going to need to get CAP really on track (however you want to define that).

Quote
2.  Having NCOs means designating NCO positions - positions that belong to the NCO corps and are NOT filled by officer.  What does a unit do if they don't happen to have an NCO handy to fill the job?

3.  There is no CAP enlisted force to manage and care for.  What exactly do the NCOs advise the officers on?
My impression has been that the chief is leaning in toward the AF 1Sgt system more than the broad NCO concept. That would mean representing lowly members to command - seeking ustice, fair treatment, universal standards, etc; & advising command levels on needs of the force rather than needs of the middle men.

I do however recognize that tehre are currently too few NCOs to make wide scale impact & distribution is a problem. Even if you could get members to "take back theri stripes," I still think you're going to have to go recruiting to fill teh need, and that is going to require a defined concept. I think that's what the fishing over here is about, looking for input on the scop/scale/etc that should be sought.

Quote
4.  In a corporate CAP full of golf shirts, an optional rank system, and no regulatory authority commensurate with rank, how the heck can we be "more military" without major changes to the by laws and regulations?
It's been changing significantly for 20 years, and in the wrong direction. I think it's about time for some swing back. We've already paid a big price fo going to far & we're out on the edge now. It's time for big change & for a multitude of reasons. That doesn't have to be hard or painful though, but it is VERY necessary to preserve & protect CAP.

Forgve me if I brissle a bit at that way you put that - "optional rank system" & such. I know it's messed up right now, but there are consequences for not following orders & you can choose to teach your members that they are in a military-like organization with similar expectations & that there ARE consequences for everything they do, & you can back that up locally. If you wanted to do it in your Sq by force of will alone you could. It's ahrder to scale that up, but not really a lot more complicated. CAP is what we make it be, & we don't HAVE to have force of law or anything else to indoctrinate our members to the correct way of thinking. It's doable is all I'm saying, & in theory not all that complicated.

they will soon become a little clique inside the squadron.
My impression was that, like Iowa field grade officers, they would not be assigned to Sqs or accountable to any but other NCOs up a seperate chain to CCM, who reports directly to CAP/CC. Maybe I'm wrong about that, & it has it's own problems if I'm not, but I think they're aiming pretty high on this one.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2007, 02:07:07 AM »

Anyone know how rank of CAP NCOs is indicated in the CAPWATCH database?  Either there aren't any in my Wing (which is a possibility -- I don't recall seeing any) or they are designated as Senior Members.  If there were an NCO, would it indicate their rank in the rank column?
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DNall
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2007, 02:11:47 AM »

They're listed as SMs. Promotion authority is local & paperwork never leaves the unit. That's why NHQ will be confused if you tell them you want to revert, cause they don't deal with it & all you're really asking them to do is take you from Major to SM & indicate it isn't for disciplinary reasons. It isn't tracked at all anywhere that I know of.

I think one key thing to establish initially is can they go back to the O-grade down teh road if this doesn't work out or they change tehir mind.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2007, 02:14:13 AM »

At a minimum we should change the system to indicate their actual CAP rank.  Their is a separate column in that table that indicates "Senior" or "Cadet" so its not like they could get confused about their status. 
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mikeylikey
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2007, 02:14:49 AM »

(By the way, I got to peruse the mid-1940s CAP membership manual.  Back then, unless you were a pilot, everyone came in as enlisted.  Pilots got to be flight officers.    Stripes were earned by accumulating some level of "points" with points given for everything from Radio Classes to First Aid Training.  Officers were designated to fill specific positions in the unit, and the grades were determined by the size of the unit.  I couldn't figure out if you gave the grade back when you stepped out of the officer job.)

I have a ton of those old manuals, ranging from the first one up to the 70's.  I would love to scan them and place them online.  Anyone know if that has already been done somewhere?  They are really neat to explore the past with. 
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2007, 02:26:27 AM »

One of the main challenges I see is that the CAP system right now is not set up for two different sets of ranks/grades.  Yes, we technically currently allow for CAP NCOs and we also have Flight Officers, but in most units, many commanders and CAP members don't know what to do with them, who they are, or even how to address them half the time.

Because we have the no-grade-wearing golf shirt combo, and that no real authority derives from our earned grade in CAP, and because of a host of other reasons, one has to wonder what our rank system ought to be.  The way is stands now, our senior member grades could be A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I and it wouldn't change the way the system operates.

There is a bigger, underlying issue besides wanting to simply graft a formal NCO program onto our current set-up.  I think doing so would only be prolonging the development of a solution to our current structural issues, which sooner or later need to be addressed.  A number of proposals have been tossed out and the arguments have gone back and forth on this issue.

But I see a nunber of issues with simply "adding on" a formal NCO program to our current structure, none of which are a personal opposition to CAP having NCOs, but rather a concern for better organizing the way CAP does things.
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2007, 02:30:39 AM »

They're listed as SMs. Promotion authority is local & paperwork never leaves the unit.

Had a MSgt in my old unit who was listed as such on eServices... Probably an anomaly.
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Mike Johnston
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2007, 02:36:31 AM »

They're listed as SMs. Promotion authority is local & paperwork never leaves the unit.

Had a MSgt in my old unit who was listed as such on eServices... Probably an anomaly.
Mike,

A ruling if you will.  Look at the latest CAPF 2.  It has a section for NCOs and describes that one is to wait until verification is received.

http://level2.cap.gov/documents/u_090403102245.dot

Does this mean it might be set in and recorded if sent in with proper documentation?
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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2007, 02:43:08 AM »

I suppose so.
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Mike Johnston
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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2007, 04:47:57 AM »

A ruling if you will.  Look at the latest CAPF 2.  It has a section for NCOs and describes that one is to wait until verification is received.

Does this mean it might be set in and recorded if sent in with proper documentation?
Verification FROM THE MILITARY, meaning you stapled a copy of their DD214 to the form & put it in their file.

If you send a signed information copy to NHQ they might record it in eServices, but it doesn't matter cause the signed form is the final word.

Not that it bears on the conversation
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Dragoon
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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2007, 11:19:58 AM »

Points worthy of counterpoints

I'll give this one a try... and start it by saying plz all keep this one professional.
I certainly know what you mean, but let me give you another angle. If this semi-independent NCO corps is out there doing what CAP-RAPs did (& still do to the extent they're around)... isn't down in the Sqs, outside the political BS, isn't that where you get your boots dirty? I realize these guys wouldn't be coming up from OUR ranks getting their boots dirty in OUR mud, but theoretically they could be the bridge between the field & the command echelons, thereby short-circuiting a LOT of political BS, and by speaking truth to power & holding firm a high standards... I don't know if it works or not, but it's a good idea & it's bold. We haven't seen a lot of that lately so I'm for giving it a shot. Big picture though I think it's just one element of many you're going to need to get CAP really on track (however you want to define that).

The argument you are making here doesn't require NCOs - it's an argument for an independant oversight (IG?) kinda group that helps standardize things.   You could do it with ex military NCOs, or ex military officers, or former GAO auditors or just about any professional group.  Don't think for a minute that NCOs hold some kind of lock on "speaking the truth" over any other group of folks - it's more a matter of where they stand in the organization than what they wear on their sleeves.


Quote
My impression has been that the chief is leaning in toward the AF 1Sgt system more than the broad NCO concept. That would mean representing lowly members to command - seeking ustice, fair treatment, universal standards, etc; & advising command levels on needs of the force rather than needs of the middle men.

When the "lowly member" is an officer, why should you use an NCO to represent him?  Our force has no enlisted.



Quote
It's been changing significantly for 20 years, and in the wrong direction. I think it's about time for some swing back. We've already paid a big price fo going to far & we're out on the edge now. It's time for big change & for a multitude of reasons. That doesn't have to be hard or painful though, but it is VERY necessary to preserve & protect CAP.

I absolutely agree that being more professional and accountable would be a big help.  25 years in CAP (and 20+ years in the Army) have not convinced me that being more "military" is a cure all.  It's one method - but there are many professional and accountable organizations out there that don't wear uniforms at all.

Quote
Forgve me if I brissle a bit at that way you put that - "optional rank system" & such. I know it's messed up right now, but there are consequences for not following orders & you can choose to teach your members that they are in a military-like organization with similar expectations & that there ARE consequences for everything they do, & you can back that up locally. If you wanted to do it in your Sq by force of will alone you could. It's ahrder to scale that up, but not really a lot more complicated. CAP is what we make it be, & we don't HAVE to have force of law or anything else to indoctrinate our members to the correct way of thinking. It's doable is all I'm saying, & in theory not all that complicated.

Here's the big zinger, and I understand you would bristle at it, because it is truly annoying.  But still true...

CAP in rank has no power.  Zero.  Take a look at the constitution, bylaws and regulations.  Unlike the real military, a CAP member does not have to obey the orders of higher ranking officers.  He merely has to obey those appointed to positions over him.

A Captain can completely ignore a Lieutenant Colonel.  However, he can't ignore his First Lieutenant squadron commander!

An Incident Commander can be a senior member without rank, and boss around everyone including generals, as long as they aren't currently in the command structure.

In other words, our grade means nothing.

Could it be otherwise - sure.  In fact I'm all for it.  But without fixing this problem, adding other trappings of the military is unlikely to be really effective.





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A.Member
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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2007, 02:44:09 PM »

Here's the big zinger, and I understand you would bristle at it, because it is truly annoying.  But still true...

CAP in rank has no power.  Zero.  Take a look at the constitution, bylaws and regulations.  Unlike the real military, a CAP member does not have to obey the orders of higher ranking officers.  He merely has to obey those appointed to positions over him.

A Captain can completely ignore a Lieutenant Colonel.  However, he can't ignore his First Lieutenant squadron commander!

An Incident Commander can be a senior member without rank, and boss around everyone including generals, as long as they aren't currently in the command structure.

In other words, our grade means nothing.

Could it be otherwise - sure.  In fact I'm all for it.  But without fixing this problem, adding other trappings of the military is unlikely to be really effective.
I agree with your last point completely.  It is a huge challenge to our organization and one that needs to be addressed. 

Unfortunately, the solution means that many toes will be stepped on (and I'm fine with that).  That is because in order to correct the problem, real standards have to be implemented.  There are people in Group, Wing, Squadron commands (and maybe all the way up to National) that, quite frankly, don't possess the skills that are truly required for such a position.   In the "real world", they may be the line worked at an assembly plant - a perfectly fine job, I'm sure, but one that may not require the managerial or decision making skills of a leadership position.  Yet, when they come to CAP, they get to "play" "Major" and/or even "Commander".  Certainly that isn't every case but there are enough examples to illustrate that this is a problem.  There is no formalized process for truly developing those skills.

Unlike the "real military", rank is essentially awarded to anyone that completes the correct amount of paperwork.   Instead, there should only be a certain number of positions available at any given rank - the paperwork should be the minimum requirement (BTW, AFAIDL 13 should be one of the minimum requirements to wear the butterbar and the course should be supplemented with formal classroom sessions - not to be waived unless a person has held a real Commission).  Our cadets must go before promotion boards, why should the "officers" be any different?  Still, the trouble with this is that unlike the "real military"  there is no retirement - especially from the higher ranks.  The organization ends up top heavy.  Quite frankly, the attrition from the higher ranks is more likely to be the result of someone dying than it is stepping away from the organization.   So, the trick is, how do you manage the ranks to get a proper system in order?  I don't know the answer but if we could figure it out and get it implemented, I think the organization would benefit significantly.  The idea of returning senior enlisted ranks is appealing but still does not solve the problem.  Duties/responsibility perhaps should be commensurate, in some way, to rank.  Regardless, rank must have some meaning.  We do ourselves and the real services a disservice when it doesn't.

If that issue is solved, it may go a long way in solving a good number of our other issues.

Another issue I see, and you can often see it emphasized through discussions on this board, is that we get too many non-rated (non-pilot) persons in Command positions.  We are the Civil Air Patrol, not the Civil Ground Patrol or anything else.  The organization's roots are in flying.  Now, I'm not saying that a person must be a pilot to be a Commander but there should be a much higher percentage than there are currently.  Far too often I see Wing Commanders that don't fly and have no real interest in it.  That should be very much the exception but I don't think it is.  In the "real" AF, it's pretty tough to rise to the top if you're not wearing wings, just as it's difficult to rise in the Army if you don't have jump wings.   
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"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci
Major Carrales
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2007, 03:26:15 PM »

Actually, the term Civil Air Patrol is all that inclusive...

Civil- Community Service, or rather Civil Defense in the face of challenges originally presented by WWII.

Air- The harnessed energy of the nation's private pilots organized to serve.

Patrol- Both as a term modified by the word "Air" and as its own.  The original CAP had mounted units, forest units and a host of other Civil Defense jobs.  It goes to figure that aircraft alone are relatively useless as a patrol unless they can 1) Communicate (the COMM is as much a part) and 2) someone to communicate with (thus Ground teams are a part of it)

I cannot subscribe to the idea that AIR OPS is all.  It is a very big part of it all...especially when we also add the term "USAF Auxiliary" and the three missions which go far beyond merely flying. 

I will not take anything away from our pilots, but in a world where there are more squadrons than aircraft it goes to show that some units will have to have other focus.

Second...this desire for a NCO corps in CAP is somewhat misguided.  Ours does not operate as a traditional military structure like the USAF.  If we allowed everyone to enter as a PFC/Airman, the need for NCOs would be evident.  But since we enter everyone starting as an Officer and reserve the NCO structure as an honor to prior service...having a group of people as NCOs would be viewed as disingenuous at best and poser/pretenderism at worse.  That would be my fear. :o

One must ask themselves this question...
Is the call for NCOs a call for a needed element of CAP membership, or a desire to go around wearing chevrons?

We need to look critically at his.

Now, if we offer the option to prior service CAP members and create a mechinism for advancement (SDFs offer such promotions...one's Federal Service would be unchanged but their CAP NCO status would reflect Professional development)...that might be a way to do it.  The NCO promotions would be based on valid prior service and thus be viewed as more "genuine."

Also, CAP would need some distinctive chevrons to avoid CAP NCOs confusion.
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Monty
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2007, 03:37:39 PM »

My most proud accomplishment in my Air Force service, even exceeding my "beating the odds" and earning an enlisted commissioning program opportunity, was earning SSgt - so let it be known UP FRONT that no joy (for me) ever compared with competing for and earning an NCO grade.

That being said...

I do not support (in my heart) CAP senior member NCOs resting on their past accomplishments as they progress towards a future in CAP.

Firstly, a CAP NCO is limited in his/her ability to progress within the program.  Granted, many seniors are about as proactive about their own professional development as a turtle, but I see no reason to compound the problem with stripes (i.e., forget NSC...it's for Majors and above with the exception of seldom-granted waivers from Region Commanders.)

Second of all, I have heartburn with ANY military member, officer or NCO, thinking that their military career (apples) is directly applicable in CAP (oranges.)  There is a distinct tenor associated with being a CAP senior that is hardly akin to the demeanor used as a military member.  To rest on one's laurels and feel that there is a direct transferral of mentality from one to the other is a gross misunderstanding in my opinion.

Third, I have yet to see how an NCO senior has any real use within our watered-down officer/senior system.  As seniors, there is in essence, no other authority via rank 'n grade except that which is granted through command tenures (and whatever the commander delegates to others.)  A CAP NCO working as a Public Affairs monkey has as much reach and ability - or lack thereof - as would a 2d Lt Public Affairs monkey....or even a Lt Col Public Affairs volunteer.

In my estimation, the difference boils down to nothing more than a guy or gal that wants to look different and rest on what they did.....and such a choice, while an entitled one, is essentially a disservice to CAP.  No CAP NCO can participate to his/her full potential and further, robs me (as a commander) of my ability to motivate cadets to progress within the program.  "Sir, why go beyond C/CMSgt....Chief 60-year old doesn't participate in the senior grades like everyone else, so why must I as a cadet?  I'm top dog!"

I've always had problems with folks trying to cross the CAP "ghostbusters" streams...  I will ALWAYS be kind, polite, and professional to any member of CAP (even the butt-nuggets that I see in person and often, here on these forums...at least, to the best of my ability.)  All the same, my kindness, politeness, and professionalism to a fellow volunteer is simply due in no small part to the fact that they are fellow volunteers - none of these attributes flows to others on account that they wear stars, bars, leaves, or sleeves.

It's the CAP way....which differs strikingly from how I would approach the same subject during my blue suiter days.

FWIW...and worth the price you paid for it, those are my thoughts on the matter....  :)
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A.Member
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« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2007, 03:40:20 PM »

I cannot subscribe to the idea that AIR OPS is all.  It is a very big part of it all...especially when we also add the term "USAF Auxiliary" and the three missions which go far beyond merely flying. 

I will not take anything away from our pilots, but in a world where there are more squadrons than aircraft it goes to show that some units will have to have other focus.
I don't disagree.  Certainly, there are other aspects to the organization but fundamentally our core is in aviation - and that's were all those other aspects point back to when you drill it down.  It's the core behind everything we do.  It's why we were created and why we do what we do...many seem to forget this.
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2007, 03:43:03 PM »

A.member

Yes, we're all in it together.  There are people who actually like paperwork and finance and the like.  (not I)  I say let them have at it.

Major Carrales
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