Trying to see the good side of CAP after only a few months in

Started by 11mike, February 19, 2020, 02:22:10 am

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11mike

Hopefully, someone here as some good suggestions, because of my experience with CAP with our two local units have left a lot to be desired.  So my son joins and does everything ask of him, I had to teach him drill.  With that, we needed to continually hammer the command team to allow him to take a test and to have them entered into E-Services.  This still hasn't improved. 

So we do Wreath Across American, and the Deputy Commander of Cadets has no control over the cadets, all she does is sit on a tombstone.  There was also a boy scout unit there that made Civil Air Patrol look like a joke.  So from my military background and manager as a civilian, this irritates me, but I don't say anything and police my son as a model of the correct behavior.  I thought that maybe just needed more help, so this gave me the idea to join to improve these issues.

 It has been nothing but headaches; I ask to have a position as the cadet testing office because I see the current command just holding all of the cadets back.  So no duty assignment, I email the squadron commander, and I rarely ever get a reply, I called him, and he doesn't answer, so I follow up with email no answers.  He has really only responded once when I sent an email to the other SM on how to get on an Air Force base in another wing/state to be helpful.  He said that I went out of the chain of command by requesting info from the CAP Wing HQ to get permission to shop the Clothing sales for my son's dress jacket.  I was told that since I'm a former military member, I should know these things.  I politely replied that I had access to any DOD base, and my chain of command didn't get involved with accessing different bases/branches. 

So at our last meeting, we met with him after chasing him down from all of his airplane stories because he said he needs to meet with us since my wife is thinking of joining also.  So he goes on to tell us that his daughter is the cadet commander that she can do anything she wants with the cadets because it's her unit, as long as it's not illegal.  On top of that, the family get promoted every 58 days without there being any meeting to complete the requirements, it's just a bug that the drill test got put in in E-Services. 

So I have a commander that is only out for himself and his family that will not reply to any form of contact.  I'm confused what his issue is, and we are the family a unit should want, my wife has a Masters and is a college professor, I'm ex-military NCO, electrical engineer (GROL), and VP in my 9 to 5.  My son is a straight-A student that is the only cadet to do all of the IS & ICUT courses.  All uniforms are aways pressed, and boot shined with every test in E-service completed.  Is this a battle worth fighting?  Is there any value in including the next commander in the chain?

 I don't know if it just me or he's just lazy.  On top of that, he put out he wants to SM to do presentations, so me and my wife both submit proposals, he emails her back, but mine still goes unanswered along with two or three other emails and no duty assignment. If anyone questions what testing I have, I have everything that is opened to me and looking to do SLS.

Does anyone know how to deal with this??????  Have you seen it before????  Sorry for writing a book, irritates me to no end, when people that should be modeling good leadership don't have a clue.

[added some paragraphs to improve readability, ed.]

Eclipse

Without putting too fine a point on it, this does read like someone posting for
reaction, as it hits just about literally every possibly thing wrong in CAP in one place,
and seeing it at this level in two different units would be unusual.

Assuming this is sincere...

Quote from: 11mike on February 19, 2020, 02:22:10 amDoes anyone know how to deal with this?????? 

Give the Group or Wing CC a call and lay it out - leave any nonsense about "going around the chain at the door"
that's "failed leader speak" for "I am afraid of being called out".


Quote from: 11mike on February 19, 2020, 02:22:10 amHave you seen it before????

Sadly, yes, to one degree or another.  CAP is decidedly local, and relies on the abilities
and integrity of its volunteers, which are just as uneven and sometimes improperly
trained or focused as any other similar organization.

Unfortunately, to get anything changed, you're probably going to have to weather some storms
and stick through it.  I would be willing to bet Wing isn't aware of this level of poor leadership
if in fact what you indicate is true.



etodd

At the top you mention "two units". Were all the issues you mentioned in the second one? Were the issues any better at the first one? That one may be easier to change(?) How far away is the third choice of Squadron?
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

11mike

Quote from: etodd on February 19, 2020, 03:30:04 amAt the top you mention "two units". Were all the issues you mentioned in the second one? Were the issues any better at the first one? That one may be easier to change(?) How far away is the third choice of Squadron?

The first unit wasn't very bad, the cadets were squared away.  The SMs left a little to be desired, they wanted to bring in suicide survivors for character dev and my wife didn't feel that 12-year-olds need to be exposed to that adult material, she worked as a behavioral specialist for a while so I don't question her opinion on mental health issues. The third unit is at least over an hour one way.

The second unit is where all of the issues stated comes from.  At first, the second unit seemed okay.  But the writing was on the wall after we had an airport day and the uniform of the day was ABUs, squadron commander and his kids were in dress and made it a point to get a photo with the local congressman without anyone else from the squadron, they were all left to park cars.

11mike

Quote from: Eclipse on February 19, 2020, 02:39:23 amWithout putting too fine a point on it, this does read like someone posting for
reaction, as it hits just about literally every possible thing wrong in CAP in one place,
and seeing it at this level in two different units would be unusual.

Assuming this is sincere...

Totally sincere, I read most of the CAP regs and I think if applied correctly it could really lift a lot of kids up.  I know I wish, I had a chance to learn drill and other military bearing before the House Of Pain (258).  The only person at the unit that seems to try and get it on track is the Deputy Commander for SM.  I'm planning on talking to him about this, he seems to want the unit to exceed, but most of the time he refers to the commander.

11mike

Can anyone tell me if I broke any chain of command procedures by talking to Wing Administrator about getting base access in another state? They were really nice and gave me the paperwork to fill out and how to send it back to be allowed by the gate, the goal was to buy my sons dress jacket at clothing and sales. I guess I should add that only the commander's family has dress jackets. The commander tried to correct me when I shared it with other SMs, telling me I violated the chain of command.  I was told that need to go through our wing, then down through that wing.  So I said I want to apply for that and never got a return email or phone call about the matter after I sent the commander the paperwork that I received from the Wing Administrator.

Fester

You should reach out to the Group Commander (if your Wing has Groups) or the Wing Commander and share with them your concerns.  Failed leadership like you are experience will kill a unit fast.
1stLt, CAP
Squadron CC
Group CPO
Eaker - 1996

Holding Pattern

Quote from: 11mike on February 19, 2020, 06:35:12 amCan anyone tell me if I broke any chain of command procedures by talking to Wing Administrator about getting base access in another state? They were really nice and gave me the paperwork to fill out and how to send it back to be allowed by the gate, the goal was to buy my sons dress jacket at clothing and sales. I guess I should add that only the commander's family has dress jackets. The commander tried to correct me when I shared it with other SMs, telling me I violated the chain of command.  I was told that need to go through our wing, then down through that wing.  So I said I want to apply for that and never got a return email or phone call about the matter after I sent the commander the paperwork that I received from the Wing Administrator.

So CAP commanders are really "weird" about Chain of Command vs actual military orgs. Some interpret it to mean that they are literally the Single Point of Contact for all Wing interactions. Personally that would drive me insane, and in my command time I simply asked that people cc me on emails to wing staff for anything that wasn't routine.

It comes down to the commander's preference in CAP, but if they don't have anything communicated, either in commander's calls, a written Command Intent, or even an OI for the squadron, they'd be hard-pressed to make a stink about it in any form of official adverse action against you.

If the commander is as non-communicative as you say, I'd simply email the commander questions, and when you are ignored for 2 weeks, follow it up with an email copying his group commander with a "2nd request" tacked onto the subject line.

As a squadron commander who had a group commander go NORDO on me, emails to the vice commander in the same vein eventually produced the desired effect of the group commander communicating with me.

Note: This process doesn't make you any friends, but it sounds like that wasn't in the cards in the first place.

Capt Thompson

As others have stated, if the lack of leadership and communication is as bad as you say it is, it wouldn't be breaking the chain of command to go to the Group CC. Another thought that may or may not be helpful, how long has the current commander been in his position, and when is his term limit up? If the CC will reach his term limit in a few months there isn't a lot of sense in making waves, just hang on and do what you can until a new CC is named. If on the other hand the CC still has a few years left, then it's definitely time to reach out for help.

Capt Matt Thompson
Historian, Public Affairs Officer

Mitchell - 31 OCT 98 (#44670) Earhart - 1 OCT 00 (#11401)

Eclipse

Quote from: 11mike on February 19, 2020, 06:35:12 amCan anyone tell me if I broke any chain of command procedures by talking to Wing Administrator about getting base access in another state?

100% no.  For starters, the WAs aren't in the CAP chain, they are administrative EE's
of the corporation.

As mentioned, a lot of CAP CC's misunderstand the point and process of the CoC.



Jester

The way I would handle it would be:

COA #1: find another unit

COA #2: if #1 isn't an option, I'd look into becoming the squadron NCO and helping put the CC back on the straight and narrow as part of the unit command team. 

I've seen #2 personally and it eventually resulted in a new CC come in (with intervention from the group) but it took a while.  The squadron NCO provided a source of stability to the unit during the decline of the original CC and the changeover to the new regime.

Майор Хаткевич

Quote from: Jester on February 19, 2020, 03:32:12 pmThe way I would handle it would be:

COA #1: find another unit

COA #2: if #1 isn't an option, I'd look into becoming the squadron NCO and helping put the CC back on the straight and narrow as part of the unit command team. 

I've seen #2 personally and it eventually resulted in a new CC come in (with intervention from the group) but it took a while.  The squadron NCO provided a source of stability to the unit during the decline of the original CC and the changeover to the new regime.
There is really no need to become an NCO. 

When I came back from college and saw some issues in my/other local units, I simply wrote up my concerns for Group, and passed them on when working the issue directly didn't improve the situation. Remember, higher HQ can't help if they don't know a problem exists, and if a Unit CC is covering for the problem/bottle-necking...it is everyone's duty to make sure the issues get addressed one way or the other. 

(Just don't hit that "Email Nat CC" button. :) )

catrulz

Quote from: Jester on February 19, 2020, 03:32:12 pmThe way I would handle it would be:

COA #1: find another unit

COA #2: if #1 isn't an option, I'd look into becoming the squadron NCO and helping put the CC back on the straight and narrow as part of the unit command team. 

I've seen #2 personally and it eventually resulted in a new CC come in (with intervention from the group) but it took a while.  The squadron NCO provided a source of stability to the unit during the decline of the original CC and the changeover to the new regime.

IMHO, it appears there is either a severe personality conflict between the commander and this gentleman, but I also pick up on the commander feeling threatened by this gentleman.  The evidence is open communication with his wife, no communication with the member. 

Майор Хаткевич

Quote from: catrulz on February 19, 2020, 04:30:51 pm
Quote from: Jester on February 19, 2020, 03:32:12 pmThe way I would handle it would be:

COA #1: find another unit

COA #2: if #1 isn't an option, I'd look into becoming the squadron NCO and helping put the CC back on the straight and narrow as part of the unit command team. 

I've seen #2 personally and it eventually resulted in a new CC come in (with intervention from the group) but it took a while.  The squadron NCO provided a source of stability to the unit during the decline of the original CC and the changeover to the new regime.

IMHO, it appears there is either a severe personality conflict between the commander and this gentleman, but I also pick up on the commander feeling threatened by this gentleman.  The evidence is open communication with his wife, no communication with the member. 
Wouldn't be the first time.

vorteks

Quote from: 11mike on February 19, 2020, 02:22:10 am...my wife has a Masters and is a college professor, I'm ex-military NCO, electrical engineer (GROL), and VP in my 9 to 5. My son is a straight-A student that is the only cadet to do all of the IS & ICUT courses.  All uniforms are aways pressed, and boot shined ...

Gee maybe you're just overqualified for CAP...

Seriously there's a bit of an elitist vibe going on here that may be rubbing somebody the wrong way. Working with volunteers is a very mixed bag. There will be people stepping up from all backgrounds and abilities and motivations. CAP takes what it can get...often it's just moms or dads with no advanced degrees or military experience ( :o ) filling in the voids. You may have read all the regs and pamphlets- and that's great- but you've still got a lot to learn that can only be gained from time and experience in this org. Learn to work with it and do your best in your own lane as you go. You will be frustrated.... as someone around here recently said, it's going to be like skating uphill, and I'll say with dull blades at times. But with a kid in CP it'll be worth it to stay involved and work to make the program great for him and the other cadets who will also benefit (otherwise I'd just tell you to move on and thanks for tryin').

11mike

Quote from: vorteks on February 19, 2020, 07:15:50 pm
Quote from: 11mike on February 19, 2020, 02:22:10 am...my wife has a Masters and is a college professor, I'm ex-military NCO, electrical engineer (GROL), and VP in my 9 to 5. My son is a straight-A student that is the only cadet to do all of the IS & ICUT courses.  All uniforms are aways pressed, and boot shined ...

Gee maybe you're just overqualified for CAP...

Seriously there's a bit of an elitist vibe going on here that may be rubbing somebody the wrong way. Working with volunteers is a very mixed bag. There will be people stepping up from all backgrounds and abilities and motivations. CAP takes what it can get...often it's just moms or dads with no advanced degrees or military experience ( :o ) filling in the voids. You may have read all the regs and pamphlets- and that's great- but you've still got a lot to learn that can only be gained from time and experience in this org. Learn to work with it and do your best in your own lane as you go. You will be frustrated.... as someone around here recently said, it's going to be like skating uphill, and I'll say with dull blades at times. But with a kid in CP it'll be worth it to stay involved and work to make the program great for him and the other cadets who will also benefit (otherwise I'd just tell you to move on and thanks for tryin').

While I hear what you're saying, I have kept my head down and just tried to adjust what affects my son, which in return affects all of the cadets.  I think the SMs that has been around are very well rounded, a couple of IT guys, retired and active state cop and a cardiologist.  They just don't have any kids in the cadet squadron, they are looking for flight time. The SM DC seems to love us since my wife is willing to be a recruiter, just won't overstep the commander.  My 9 to 5 is more like a 24/7 and I'd just wash my hands of the whole thing, but my son wants to stick it out and force them to do the right thing.  To answer the question above a time frame of command, he has about 19 months left, he took over after the previous squadron failed, then split and then moved.  From research, it looks like he has been in CAP for a really long time.

Quote from: undefinedIMHO, it appears there is either a severe personality conflict between the commander and this gentleman, but I also pick up on the commander feeling threatened by this gentleman.  The evidence is open communication with his wife, no communication with the member.

I have no idea why this guy would be feeling threatened by me, that is not my goal.  I just want the cadet squadron held to a standard that I have not even mentioned to anyone.  Command of a squadron looks like it eats up a lot of time, while I have been able to make every meeting except one, I have spent a few on the phone dealing with issues at work.  My employees love dealing with me, so I don't think I come off as an errant ***.  I did force the issue of command following through with what they promised to my son and getting his tests scheduled.  I also asked if I could get a website set up to get into regs since we don't have a calendar, everything is done by email a day or two before a meeting.  I was told that John Doe just got a signed to that after I cornered him in a conversation about it.  One thing I do is wear the uniform of the day to match the cadets, the commander runs around in his flight suit with a baseball cap on inside.  Everyone else wears some form of corp uniform.  I think it is important to model the behavior you want from the cadets.  Plus it makes my son feel better that I'm in the same uniform when we go to eat after the meetings so that he doesn't feel odd when people come up and thank him for his service.

For a personality conflict, if there is one it is totally on him.  I'm very political when I need to be, I did go from E1 to E5 in 2.5 years.  Like I said my employees prefer to deal with me over my boss, do to the fact I really try and treat everyone as I would like to be treated.  I even go out of my way to talk to any new people at the meeting to try and make them feel included since most people are given the cold shoulder.  But overall I haven't really overstepped and been trying to get a feel for my role in mentoring cadets and how he is going to take me holding everyone including his kids to the CAP standards and still making it fun.  At this point, my wife wants to recruit, but she doesn't want to sell a lie to the new cadets that they can grow in the unit, so far it seems only his kids are allowed that privilege.

Майор Хаткевич

Quote from: 11mike on February 19, 2020, 08:14:39 pm
Quote from: vorteks on February 19, 2020, 07:15:50 pm
Quote from: 11mike on February 19, 2020, 02:22:10 am...my wife has a Masters and is a college professor, I'm ex-military NCO, electrical engineer (GROL), and VP in my 9 to 5. My son is a straight-A student that is the only cadet to do all of the IS & ICUT courses.  All uniforms are aways pressed, and boot shined ...

Gee maybe you're just overqualified for CAP...

Seriously there's a bit of an elitist vibe going on here that may be rubbing somebody the wrong way. Working with volunteers is a very mixed bag. There will be people stepping up from all backgrounds and abilities and motivations. CAP takes what it can get...often it's just moms or dads with no advanced degrees or military experience ( :o ) filling in the voids. You may have read all the regs and pamphlets- and that's great- but you've still got a lot to learn that can only be gained from time and experience in this org. Learn to work with it and do your best in your own lane as you go. You will be frustrated.... as someone around here recently said, it's going to be like skating uphill, and I'll say with dull blades at times. But with a kid in CP it'll be worth it to stay involved and work to make the program great for him and the other cadets who will also benefit (otherwise I'd just tell you to move on and thanks for tryin').

While I hear what you're saying, I have kept my head down and just tried to adjust what affects my son, which in return affects all of the cadets.  I think the SMs that has been around are very well rounded, a couple of IT guys, retired and active state cop and a cardiologist.  They just don't have any kids in the cadet squadron, they are looking for flight time. The SM DC seems to love us since my wife is willing to be a recruiter, just won't overstep the commander.  My 9 to 5 is more like a 24/7 and I'd just wash my hands of the whole thing, but my son wants to stick it out and force them to do the right thing.  To answer the question above a time frame of command, he has about 19 months left, he took over after the previous squadron failed, then split and then moved.  From research, it looks like he has been in CAP for a really long time.

Quote from: undefinedIMHO, it appears there is either a severe personality conflict between the commander and this gentleman, but I also pick up on the commander feeling threatened by this gentleman.  The evidence is open communication with his wife, no communication with the member.

I have no idea why this guy would be feeling threatened by me, that is not my goal.  I just want the cadet squadron held to a standard that I have not even mentioned to anyone.  Command of a squadron looks like it eats up a lot of time, while I have been able to make every meeting except one, I have spent a few on the phone dealing with issues at work.  My employees love dealing with me, so I don't think I come off as an errant ***.  I did force the issue of command following through with what they promised to my son and getting his tests scheduled.  I also asked if I could get a website set up to get into regs since we don't have a calendar, everything is done by email a day or two before a meeting.  I was told that John Doe just got a signed to that after I cornered him in a conversation about it.  One thing I do is wear the uniform of the day to match the cadets, the commander runs around in his flight suit with a baseball cap on inside.  Everyone else wears some form of corp uniform.  I think it is important to model the behavior you want from the cadets.  Plus it makes my son feel better that I'm in the same uniform when we go to eat after the meetings so that he doesn't feel odd when people come up and thank him for his service.

For a personality conflict, if there is one it is totally on him.  I'm very political when I need to be, I did go from E1 to E5 in 2.5 years.  Like I said my employees prefer to deal with me over my boss, do to the fact I really try and treat everyone as I would like to be treated.  I even go out of my way to talk to any new people at the meeting to try and make them feel included since most people are given the cold shoulder.  But overall I haven't really overstepped and been trying to get a feel for my role in mentoring cadets and how he is going to take me holding everyone including his kids to the CAP standards and still making it fun.  At this point, my wife wants to recruit, but she doesn't want to sell a lie to the new cadets that they can grow in the unit, so far it seems only his kids are allowed that privilege.
Honestly, even if you sound like (gasp!) you're proud of your life accomplishments and may come off to some as being on a high horse, I wish most parents were even a quarter as involved as you are. Sure, we're getting one side of the story here, but at the point where a parent has to get involved in getting (I'm guessing drill testing) routine cadet program items scheduled so that his kid has a chance to advance...I'm betting there's plenty of room for improvement.

Capt Thompson

I can tell by your writing that you most likely have a very strong personality, and that will rub some people the wrong way, but that's beside the point. It sounds to me like a discussion with the Group Commander may be in order, and until things smooth out keep helping your son to push forward.
Capt Matt Thompson
Historian, Public Affairs Officer

Mitchell - 31 OCT 98 (#44670) Earhart - 1 OCT 00 (#11401)

11mike

One thing that I forgot to add is the commander asked me if I was into flying and I said I have no interest in flying and added that if the opportunity is to be on a helicopter we usually take it, like our last Huey ride and that I spent many hours in Blackhawks.  He led into this speech about how bad helicopters are, to where another SM corrected him on the safety of autorotate.  This may have been a turning point on getting even more ignored, with no replies to emails or phone calls, request to be assigned a duty position being ignored.

catrulz

Quoted by 11Mike: I have no idea why this guy would be feeling threatened by me, that is not my goal.  I just want the cadet squadron held to a standard that I have not even mentioned to anyone.  Command of a squadron looks like it eats up a lot of time, while I have been able to make every meeting except one, I have spent a few on the phone dealing with issues at work.  My employees love dealing with me, so I don't think I come off as an errant ***.  I did force the issue of command following through with what they promised to my son and getting his tests scheduled.  I also asked if I could get a website set up to get into regs since we don't have a calendar, everything is done by email a day or two before a meeting.  I was told that John Doe just got a signed to that after I cornered him in a conversation about it.  One thing I do is wear the uniform of the day to match the cadets, the commander runs around in his flight suit with a baseball cap on inside.  Everyone else wears some form of corp uniform.  I think it is important to model the behavior you want from the cadets.  Plus it makes my son feel better that I'm in the same uniform when we go to eat after the meetings so that he doesn't feel odd when people come up and thank him for his service.

For a personality conflict, if there is one it is totally on him.  I'm very political when I need to be, I did go from E1 to E5 in 2.5 years.  Like I said my employees prefer to deal with me over my boss, do to the fact I really try and treat everyone as I would like to be treated.  I even go out of my way to talk to any new people at the meeting to try and make them feel included since most people are given the cold shoulder.  But overall I haven't really overstepped and been trying to get a feel for my role in mentoring cadets and how he is going to take me holding everyone including his kids to the CAP standards and still making it fun.  At this point, my wife wants to recruit, but she doesn't want to sell a lie to the new cadets that they can grow in the unit, so far it seems only his kids are allowed that privilege.
[/quote]

11Mike, I'm a former 11B, high speed, low drag.  It really intimidates some people.  Don't know when you served, but there's a good chance your also a combat vet.  E5, combat arms, possible combat vet, and a self starting go getter.  I can easily see why he would be intimidated.  I've been in the same position before, and I am not a combat vet.

This perceived threat can create and fuel the personality conflict.  Remember your leadership training, barriers to communication.  There are several factors that you bring that could cause him to through up barriers, and the commanders kid and favoritism (perceived or real) is a barrier on your side. 

I've found in CAP, a good staff carries a poor commander.  Conversely, a good commander can carry a poor staff (although the commander is headed for burn out). A poor commander mixed with a poor staff, and this can be for many reasons, is basically a unit that doesn't function. A staff might get the paperwork done, but lacks the moral courage to stand up to a poor commander.  A staff might look the other way when they know things are not being done correctly for fear of being ostracized or kicked out of the group.

At some point your going to have to decide how much your willing to do to either solve this problem or throw your hands up, and take your son to another unit.  It's possible they just don't deserve you.