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December 05, 2005



Addressing the PAWG Orange shirts-

Granted, they're not autorized in the 39-1. However, from a strictly SAFETY standpoint, who can tell me that wearing a bright orange t-shirt identifying what organization you're with and what job you're performing isn't a good idea? They're not Air Force standard, but neither are blue nametapes or non-grade patches on the sleeves.

As for the hats, don't even ask me about that. I've been a CAP member of PAWG for 6 years, and I still can't figure out why the hell we wear them. Started out of safety, and stuck out of tradition I guess. Many people are pushing for PAWG to just wear the normal BDU cover like the rest of the world. I long for those days.

I was not down there, as I am an aircrew type of person. HOWEVER. Addressing the AAR, where a PAWG pilot was "self released" and it didn't go through the IC, etc etc. I know this pilot. He was released by NOC on a mission separate from the Air/Ground operations based out of Jackson. As for the ground team, they had an NOC mission number before they ever left from PA. No one "self released" themselves.

As for PAWG teams calling our Wing/CC when things went south. No idea. Our Wing/CC is a micromanager, and I'm betting that it was what was expected from them if there were any issues.

Bottom line: a tragedy happened. Some things went good, some things went bad. Instead of pointing fingers about who screwed the pooch here and who did this and whatnot, can we not be more mature about it and actually find ways to address and correct these issues so they're not issues again?

Eclipse: I would expect a lot of what you're saying from a cadet, but not from a CAP officer, no less a unit commander. You were not mission staff (from what I can surmise from your posts, at least), therefore you're not privy to any of the information as to whether or not they were authorized to take MRE's or conduct operations a certain way, etc etc. You only know what you or other people have heard, and, especially in CAP, things have a huge tendency to perpetuate themselves into a bigger "charlie-foxtrot" then they need to be. Don't add to the fire, for everyone's sake. Everyone's heard the accusations, whether it happened or not, it's a relatively mute point. Adding to the cycle of hear-say isn't doing anyone or anything any good.

Bottom line: there's a bigger issue that happened down there than a group that may or may not have taken more MRE's then they should have. Stop pissing in the wind.

Iraqi War Vet

How could PAWG steal the MRE's if they bartered for them from the military. Sounds like it was a case of some exercising some good troop welfare and leadership by getting something that wasnt being provided at and/or in sufficient quantity.

That would be a novel thing to see....CAP providing MRE's for a mission.

By the way Eclipse, I was referring to you not being there meaning you weren't on base with PAWG when these things were happening, not you weren't there all together.

Also, here's exactly what happened with the MRE Fiasco of 2005. CAP said they were giving airdrops to Stennis everyday. This wasn't true, and we told Jackson that we weren't getting food drops and they insisted that we were getting food and that was that. So we decided to take things into our own hands. Somehow we got our hands on a few watermelons. We traded these to I believe the Marines in exchange for a few palletes of MREs. Then we let the Army use our chainsaws in exchange for an MRE pallet. This was all coordinated by Maj Hamilton from TXWG, who we were told was the CAP IC on our base.

He also got a pallet of NATO MREs from someone he met or knew previously down there. These were not issued to us through CAP or the AF, we got them on our own through means of bartering. When Maj Hamilton left about 2 days before us, he told us to take whatever we wanted from the stockpile of MREs since ILWG wouldn't be there long and they weren't from the Air Force anyways.

We left a TON of MREs at Stennis. I'm pretty sure I have a picture of what we left them somewhere. We only had about 1 box per person in our vans, which amounts to about 30 boxes total, not 90. I was there when we unloaded them and put them into storage at Hawk. There was nowhere near 90. That's how we got permission to take them, from the supposed CAP IC of Stennis. Make of that what you will, but we considered that a go-ahead to take what we wanted.



Yeah, that was kinda my take on it when I heard the circumstances. You and I both know that down where the rubber meets the road that there is always a lot of horsetrading going on. Way I heard it (and I have no reason to belive this isn't true, because it sounds exactly like the kind of situation I would expect to see at an FOB.. Not that I haven't ever been at a couple dozen of those..) was that the Army had extra MREs and they offered them to the PA Wing folk in exchange for the use of some other equipment that the PA Wing folks had and that the Army didn't.

Since the times of Alexander and Hannibal, forces "in the field" have "horsetraded" things that they brought too much of for things that they needed and didn't have. Thats what separates a *great* supply NCO from a *good* supply NCO: The ability to convert what you have into what you need. :)

I certainly don't want to be an apologist for PA Wing & the Hawk Mtn folks, but jeez-louise folks. Lets concentrate on the important aspects. What's a bigger deal, a unified chain of command that actually gets followed, or MREs? Fight the battles that need the fighting.


"Most good CAP officers succeed IN SPITE of the organization, not because of it. The AAR confirms it again - it's like seeing a new version of the same movie over and over again. If 9/11, Katrina, etc. can't get our leaders -- CAP and USAF -- to make the tough decisions to get CAP out of its never-ending schizophrenic spiral, what will? If not now, when?"

At the risk of repeating myself, our organization has (in my opinion) two core problems:

1) A leadership that is more concerned with historical photos, shiny shoes and drill teams than they are with training qualified ES reponders.

2) A leadership that is forced by it's own corporate charter to serve too many masters (ES, Cadet programs, AE).

Mark my words, the next few NB meeting minutes that you see posted on the CAP website will have a whole lot more discussion relating to historical photos and authorized flight jackets then they will discussing what we NEED to learn from this disaster. ES may get a ten minute powerpoint presentation added to the appendix showing off some new gadget that won't work when the power is off anyway.

We are losing good officers to the CG Aux because unlike CAP, they fly missions, real missions, almost every day and that is what good people want to do, help the country that they love, not quibble over when they can wear a flight suit or what color T shirt they have to wear.

The Cadet program is a vital incubator for our military, but it is not a primary resource for first responders in a national emergency. Our leadership (national and local) is asked to run a military school, a fire department, and a public relations division all at the same time. This is why many squadrons do not even have a decent ES program to speak of. It takes back seat to the Cadet program, as it should in a squadron that is tasked with running a Cadet program.

I've read all the posts saying "if you are going to be in CAP you need to support all three missions." That sounds good but it dosen't happen. I have visted a lot of squadrons in my day, and most are only good at one part of the program, either the Cadet end or the ES end. Very few are good at both.

If you think that I am wrong, get a copy of your Wings ES roster and break it down by squadron. Some will have a lot of people with a general ES, and maybe a couple with a few GT ratings and a scattered aircrew member but that is it. Others will be rife with a broad array of qualified members. Why, because they have an active ES program and train, train, train. No car washes, drill teams, encampments and such, just ES training. Those are the people that we need to develop if we want to build upon the ES program that we have. Otherwise, we are only going to have this conversation again the next time another disaster of this magnitude comes along.

I know that I will get blasted with the "my squadron is solid" folks out there, which I don't doubt, but they need to understand that they are the exception, not the rule.


capt ron

After seeing two tours in Iraq, looking at my fellow CAP members gripe about the 90 case of MRE's is rediculous. Trading what you have is the way things work in the big boys military. The regulations are only followed when it is time to turn in the paperwork to command or in this case NHQ. Lets keep our boys & girls alive and safe- damn the detractors full speed ahead.

Jim Quinn


My 12 years of experience in CAP leads me to agree with JW on a number of points about CAP's ability to supply properly trained ground teams.

I sincerely believe that until CAP HQ bites the bullet and leads us into the world of professional GSAR teams, we'll be the laughing stock at many ICP's at any kind of major SAR function.

It's my belief that we need to be conducting GT training under the guidelines of the National Association of Search and Rescue or NASAR. If my understanding is correct, some states don't allow ground team participation in SAR missions unless the GT members are NASAR certified.

In fact, I've had quite a bit of training in FEMA's CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program sponsored by our local volunteer fire department, and have learned more about GSAR operations in the last 18 months than I've learned in 12 years in CAP, yet I've had a wing-level CAP officer tell me that CAP training goes "far and above" the CERT program's training. Like hell it does! I think that CERT members in CAP should be given full GT Leader qualification via waiver, as long as they also have Comm and UDF training. If I was in a bad situation, I must honestly say that I would much rather have a CERT member show up at my side than a CAP GT at this point, because I KNOW what training the CERTs have and it is far superior to that of the CAP GT's in most instances. Also, CERT members have seen the Incident Command System work as it should, not as it's been bastardized.

Please don't "flame" me over this unless you've been CERT trained in addition to CAP trained. Ask one of your CAP members who happens to be a fireman/EMS guy and who is familiar with CERT--he'll tell you that in most cases my opinions probably ring true.

Again, this is NOT a slam against the average CAP member, and there are exceptions to my general opinions.

I've seen the posts over the years about the USCGA and how the USCG treats their auxiliary as true brothers and team members. Many people that I know personally have jumped ship and don't regret one moment of their decision. While they're out doing some real work on real ships, real helicopters and real boats, we're still trying to figure out just who is in charge of this outfit. It's sad.

I'd really like to see some responses to my post, and hope that someone with some pull at NHQ take some of this post and the expected responses and put them on the table for discussion.

Again, don't take this post as a slam; don't take it as an attack; and don't take it as disrespectful to my colleagues in CAP, please. I'm grateful to a lot of people in this organization for helping me get to where I am today. Take my comments as suggestions to improve our efforts, our training, and our reputation throughout the SAR world.

I respectfully ask for comments from any and all of you...

Jim Quinn, Major, CAP
Group VII HQ
Tyler, TX


Good post, JW - sums up the whole ballgame.

CGAUX has its share of issues as well, but the mentality is different, and that's the key. In our area it is crystal clear - THEY have all the missions and WE have all the toys. We practice in brand-new aircraft and fly an ELT once in a blue moon - they're up every day on patrol using their own a/c. And I've seen CGAUX members in the planning room right next to the guys who are about to go strap on a HH-65 and save a life or two - THAT's what most of us are in this org. for, not for what kind of coat we wear.

Katrina is a HUGE opportunity to learn both how to respond operationally as well as to reverse the 40-year-old perception that we're a flying club for ex-mil guys. We've made some tremendous progress just since 9/11 but I don't think we will really get where we should be until the hard decisions are made. Specifically, CAP's leadership needs to:

1) Focus on what we DO, not what we look like doing it. I don't mean completely ignore the uniforms, etc. since they do have a role in membership morale, but it just can't be 60%-70% of NB meetings.

2) FIX the relationship with the USAF once and for all. Frankly, this probably starts with us and not them. It means accepting more control over things and higher standardization (and standards) in what we do. So be it - we'll all be better off for it.

3) I'm going to risk being flamed and advocate the spinoff one or both of the non-ES activities. The split personality of CAP means that by trying to accomplish everything, we end up doing nothing well.
Separate & distinct "commands", ES & Cadets/AE, would concentrate the membership into where they want to be, and would dramatically increase our efficiency, professionalism and morale. It's just like companies that spin off divisions but retain seats on the board, or military commands that split into functional areas. I hate to break it to NHQ, but it is how things get done.

Virtually all of the CAP officers I know joined for one reason - to make a difference and help out. Period. But in spite of all the best intentions, it seems we're often our own worst enemy because we're neither fish or fowl, neither loved or hated by our parent service, etc. What matters is getting the missions, and then getting the missions done - everything else is secondary.


WOW, two posts in a row and I did not get blasted for splitting CAP into two programs.

I like the reference to the corporate split when they recognize that they cannot manage "non-core" business units effectivly. I think that a lot of people agree with myself and the previous two posters but we have a lot of ex-cadets in leadership positions that don't see it the same way.

Many have said that if we split things up, the Cadets will lose out on the ES side of things or that they will lose Senior Member support. I see it another way; the SM's that are there for the Cadets will lose the burden of running a dual program and the Cadets that are interested in ES as well would be free to attend the ES meetings that the ES units hold.

More imprortantly, the leadership in charge of each program could focus on that program and that program alone.

Maybe we need to take baby steps first. Establish a national level ES board made up of 12-15 Wing ES Officers that would meet and make policy for the ES side of the house. Many of the current national policy makers lack a well rounded ES resume or aren't active in ES missions at all. I can't remember the last time I saw my Wing CC at a mission.

Lets keep the good ideas flowing.


 Scott Murphy

I just wanted to toss in my 2 cents here - the last few posts that I've read are exactly why I come to this board. I am not here for the drama - although it is entertaining sometimes. I think we are really actually running a good dialogue about ES now and that's refreshing.


The difference between "barter" and "grand theft", many times is decided by an IG or a judge.

Eff the damn MRE's - there was so much food and water down there by the time we left that it didn't matter anyway - though in all the "justifications" I don't see any names which were actually in command of the MISSION who authorized PAWG's actions.

As to whether I was "this or that" and "couldn't know", etc. - that's all just deflection and not worth addressing.

My final word on this will be a note as to why so many of us are either pissed or disappointed.

PAWG is supposed to be a beacon in CAP - they get, (or used to get under Ridge) more money than most states by a factor of about 10x, and they have the Hawk.

To listen to the rhetoric, PAWG guys are the BEST there is.

They sent more people, brought more equipment, and should have had more training than any of the other unts deployed - yet when they got a chance to play in the big game, they fell flat on their faces. And it looks to me like it may have been because they believed their own press.

I know that pilot had a NOC mission # - and that doesn't justify his operations for a minute.

ICS does not mean that the letter "S" is visible!

Any ES asset worth his badges knows that the IC and branch directors are supposed to run the show. If you receive a tasking from ANYONE other than someone in the mission chain, you are breaking the rules.

Yet so many of us choose the "officer of least resistance" route to justify actions we know are, at best, questionable. At a minimum he should have made further inquiries as to why he was being sent, or better still, contacted the AOBD and got the full story (but the risk there would have been not being able to "get in the game").

And stand down the "just following orders crap", we all know how it works in CAP, and that
doing a "wait one", and asking some follow-up questions is encouraged to make sure everyone
has the same story.

Then we have a cadet, who is bored and tired, calling his mom because he doesn't like the situation. That's the poster child for never letting a cadet operate in a disaster area again.
With everything else these guys had to handle, the concerns of one mother who doesn't like that
"Johnny is missing school for nothing" are suppose to dictate the mission schedules?

Come on.

And as far as PAWG calling their Wing CC to question their operations, that's grade-school stuff.
We all deployed with the understanding that once we checked into MS, we were under local IC control until we were relieved and dismissed. Any of us who have been in positions of authority know how it pisses us off when a subordinate hops or end-arounds the chain to try and get a better answer. Any of us, apparently, but people from PAWG.

This was not a situation where a moment's hesitation might cost lives, that happened the week before in areas we weren't deployed. This was supportive assistance to 2nd and 3rd-wave operations. So all the nonsense about "getting it done, despite the regs" is also crap.

In the areas we were operating there was little immediate danger from the public,
(assuming we followed the ROE) little in the way of natural hazards that couldn't be safely circumnavigated, and the most serious inconvieneinces were heat and the ops tempo, which most of us office-bound softies found to be an eye-opener. And frankly, we were all having the times of our lives - finally getting to use our skills and gear for more than ballast in our vehicles. I seriously doubt PAWG felt they were in danger of starving - if they were, they shouldn't have been down there so ill-prepared.

And no one seems to be acknowledging the fact that PA refused to send the cadets home.
Once they were told they couldn't work in the AO, what was the point of keeping them down there? Just reading that blog should give unit CC's CPT nightmares.

Where were the seniors when these two kids went on a "commando mission". I use the term kids, because properly trained cadets wouldn't do that, and properly supervised cadets wouldn't get the chance.

Nothing has been made of the fact that these two cadets were sneaking around a military base, at night, unescorted by any seniors, during a "state of emergency" in MS. If they had been shot or otherwise injured, the conversations here would have been quite different.

As I've said, the details in this are just noise - good coffeehouse fodder and justification for the opinion already held by many people outside PA.

The vitriol and disappointment comes from the fact that they should have known better. They should have made the rest of us look like a bunch of NEWBs.

Instead they wandered around playing army, disobeying or misinterpreting orders, placed their cadets at risk unnecessarily, and basically made us all look like a bunch of goobers.

They should have know better.

I don't even recall what's written on that journal, but the deputy sheriff told the PAWG members earlier in the day they could use the showers. So the seniors sent them over and the cadets came back and said that the officers wouldn't let them use the shower. End of story.

I think maybe the reason the seniors were a little desperate was because there were no showers anywhere to use, and after going that long wearing BDUs everyday in sweltering heat may pose a little bit of a hygene issue. Hell, even the Army had use of the high school's stadium showers (who were nice enough to let us use them after begging them at 9PM at night).

As for cadets calling home to their mothers: So what? They have every right to complain since they were drug all the way up to Jackson, told they couldn't go out in the field anymore, then put in the garage of the building, out of the well air-conditioned HQ, because they apparently would get in the way of a bunch of generals and high ranking people. I'd call home to my mother and complain too if I was one of those cadets. No one ever said parents should determine mission schedules. When cadets are pulled out of the field and are just sitting there when they could be at Jackson helping with mission base stuff (i.e. NOT being thrown in a garage to sweat and do nothing when there's a large, air-conditioned area just next door where tons of work could've been done), that's a little ridiculous, you have to admit.

Oh, and
"In the areas we were operating there was little immediate danger from the public"

You mean a FLWG senior member getting a shotugn pointed in their face wasn't an immediate danger?

ROE in CAP??? Oh geez...some of you people need to turn off CNN and stop watching the news. There is no ROE in CAP, perhaps ROI, but not ROE.

Send cadets home during a mission? Who is going to take them home? Are you going to condone sending these "kids" as you refer to them home without their seniors? Do I sacrifice my team to send a few seniors home with these cadets? How do they get home without the transportation that got them there? Do they whip out their visas and go buy plane tickets at airports that are flooded?

If I had been on that CAP team and had procured my own MRE's, I damn well would have taken some too. I know CAP isnt going to get them for me...better save them for the next diaster relief mission and use them to the replace the ones I brought here on my PAWG did.

Cadets getting shot on a military base? Why is anyone on the INSIDE going to get shot if they are in areas that arent sensitive.

"wandered around playing army"

Is that a bad thing? The most frustrating thing for military officers in CAP is the number of seniors who dont play army while they are in CAP. We have clowns parading around in military rank who couldnt do the job of their military rank equivalent much less than that of quality enlisted soldiers.

I read this blog for information and I get so sick of being innundated with the whining of computer geeks and pogues who just dont have a clue...


Just when I thought I was out...they pulls my back in again...

Both the above posts make my point for me in a lot of areas. As to the playing army thing, you completely missed my point, so I will leave it on the table. What I will say is that if all you want is information, without "a wailing and a gnashing of teeth", simply stay out of the comment forums.

ROE, ROI, FOB, AO, blah, blah, blah. Just terms most of us recognize and understand, whether they actually appear in CAP manual is silly to even bring up.

As to the FLWG member - he caused his own problem and is my example of not following the RO...((*pshew*))... >INSTRUCTIONS<.

As I heard, he was a chaplain w/o any GT qual's, so his standing as a field asset is questionable at best. This has become a hot topic in IL - as to whether chaplains, CISM people, and others, who are not field qualified, should be deployed in GT-scenarios.

He approached a home, in a flight suit, without a safety vest, by himself.
This was very soon after news reports that FEMA ID's had been stolen and looters were
using them and military uniforms.
He was the reason we went from teams of 2 to 3 on each contact.

For those of us following the rules, there was some, but minimal, threat of violence.

How and whether those cadets should have been there at all is a point of even further debate away from the AAR. If you compare some of the dates in the blogs, etc., it would appear that
PAWG rolled VERY early, and regardless was in the AO…((*blech*))…disaster area…obviously before CAP's plan, flawed that it may have been, was finalized.

Fine - it wasn't their fault and they got caught in the middle.

But once the RO…((*gag*))…instructions…about age were put in place, these cadets became a mission liability. There was nothing for them to do and they should have been sent home. If that meant some of the PAWG people had to leave as well, so be it.

Maybe we should all review ORM while we have this discussion, one of the tenants of it and ICS is that if you don't have a mission duty, stay / go home.

Was their presence so critical to the state that risking their cadet's safety, as well as school attendance, was a priority? No. Neither was PAWG's presence, or any of us as a specific entity.
There were people all over the country that could have back-filled their posts, and eventually did.

Now to the security of the airport, my interpretation of 52-16 does not allow for me to tell
unsupervised cadets to "go see what's up with the showers".

Since being shot is a bad example, let's look at the reality of the situation.
A dark airfield with potholes, storm debris, snakes, fire ants and all manner of natural hazards.
(damn, I swear MS had everything in the GT book). The EOC was about a 1-1/2 to 2 block walk
from our camp, unless you cut through the trees, which was pissing off everybody because
people were tracking mud all over the place, so it was blocked off.

Bad things happen to kids in well-lit neighborhoods, bright parks, and shopping malls.
The opportunity for bad things to happen at Stennis, with hundreds of people milling about, including any number of evacugees, etc., is staggering. On several occasions we saw people who had obviously sneaked into camp and were eating at the mess - the first clue is them standing around in the salad tent eating right from the serving tables. And let's not forget the ubiquitous "walking into a prop" This was a busy airport, active most of the day and night.

These kids could have disappeared into the night, never to be seen again, with their CC's standing around in their kilts making excuses. Not because they were serving in a critical
role and couldn't stand down, but because they got caught in the middle and their leaders were too over-the-top about their own mission that they lost sight of their duty of care with the cadets.

And we only know of this one published account of their wanderings. Does anyone here really
believe that these cadets weren't regularly wandering all over the base looking for something to do or see?

Would I have been smoking mad to drive all the way to Stennis, mill about for a few days, then be sent home because I had chosen to bring cadets. Damn Straight.

Would I think twice the next time about whether I should bring cadets at all? Damn straight?

Would I have left my cadets to hang out in an FOB during a real mission scenario with nothing to do but play cards and look for trouble? No way.

Cadets are never to be left unsupervised. Never.

The minute they had no mission, they had no business being there. They became as much of a liability as the members who showed up without credentials, radios, or other critical gear.

Just as a notice, the post above Eclipse wasn't made by me, who has been posting through this with no name, but by someone else sharing completely opposite views of myself.

For once I think I do agree with Eclipse. You're right, if the cadets were sitting around doing nothing, they should've been sent back home. However, I believe that they could've had SOMETHING to do at Jackson if the seniors would've had their heads out of their butts and stop being so ridiculously stuck up. The cadets were standing around quietly talking to each other enjoying the first air conditioning in over a week, not being disruptive, and they got scolded to go outside into the garage. A bit ridiculous if you ask me. Should cadets have been in the field? Probably not, however much I want to believe that they were. Should they have been utilized to do things around mission base? Absolutely.

Also, on the idea of who would take the cadets home? This all relates back to Midway's idea on CAP airlifts. There were so many flights out of there that one had to be heading up north sometime. One two senior members and a van of cadets could've driven to a base (or right from Stennis), leave one senior to drive the van back to the base and one senior for the cadets on the plane, and fly back to a base up north, and have someone from Hawk come down and pick them up from whatever base, or just drive the damn van right on the plane if it was a heavy tanker. It wouldn't be hard to coordinate, only if we were actually more under the AF than this corporate charlie-foxtrot we've got going on here right now.


I would say that we have beat the "Take the Cadets home" horse to death and we may never come to an agreement.

Hopefully as more people start to post AAR's here, based on first hand knowledge, we can put together a "top 10" list of things that we can all take back to our units to learn from.

I have been as guilty as anyone in bickering back and forth on this blog but this subject goes way beyond the normal "green hat vs. orange hat" debates that we often have here. This is the real deal and we need to take complete advantage of the lessons (good and bad) learned.

Lets put our heads together here and make some good come from all of this.

I was not there so I cannot offer much in the way of wisdom. Lets hear from those that were so we can start that list....


Okay, some problems that I personally saw our group or myself face:

Cadets sitting around doing nothing when I'm sure there was base staff or comm jobs to be done

Lack of communication, and when someone said something was wrong, the other end ignored the request. (National said they airdropped us MREs, we didn't get any and requested they perform a drop for us, and they told us they dropped them and there was nothing more they could do)

Better means of transportation to disaster area (Driving for 2 days vs. getting a quick military flight down)

Better pre-deployment instructions on exactly what to bring, what vaccinations should be had, what dangers might be faced, how long you may be expected to be there. This would include having each squadron mandatorily have lists of their ground team certified members and team lists on file at Wing so there can be an idea of how many people might be able to go

A clear outline of where cadets stand. I'm all for them helping out in disaster area, if they're deemed safe enough and there's something for them to do. If they can't safely help in the field, have them do base staff or something. Cadets should get to experience these things, helping at a base or in the field.

Information Officers. Sending articles out to the PAO mailing list, posting multiple articles daily on the CAP website, getting spots on major news stations, etc. They talk about recruiting...what better for kids to see someone their age down there helping with one of the worst natural disasters they've seen?

Give teams a clear idea of what they're going to be doing before the team arrives. I went down expecting the worst: dead bodies lying in streets. The cadets were prepared, also. They were told they'd see them, even though in actuality they didn't. They were told if they have even the slightest inkling that they absolutely couldn't handle it to go home right then and there. They were handed Vick's for under their noses in case of the smell. Obviously it wasn't that bad down there. Give teams an exact idea of what their mission will be instead of leaving them wondering based on what the media is telling them is going on down there.

Have a system that works ahead of time. On that first sortie, the Leica data entry systems were horrendous and barely ever worked. They were a complete waste of time when people could've been helped instead of having seniors who were extremely technologically illiterate trying to work a GPS data entry system that they'd only received a 10 minute class on from Gen. Glasgow.

Have classes on interviewing people. I know the Red Cross has family services classes and they cover victim interviewing. Something like this should be implemented since some people really don't know what to ask or what information to give.

Stop with the PR garbage. We wasted hours upon hours for the national commander to come talk to us and he never came when we could've been out doing sorties. Also, one day consisted of Gen Pineda following around a ground team and taking video shots. He wanted to leave areas that hadn't even been checked yet because he had to go to other places. That shouldn't fly. Let people do their mission and stop with the PR crap that people on a disaster relief mission don't care about. That a national commander should have better things to do at a time like that and a public affairs/information officer should've been taking care of all of that.

Better disaster services training in general. GTM stuff covers SAR, but not disaster relief too well. Incorporate more of that into the GTM training.

Establish logistics right away. Where are members going to get showers, so they don't have to try and sneak in police ones? What shirts and hats should be worn in the field? These things should be all put on a briefing paper and handed out to everyone participating in any mission, anywhere, anytime.

If I think of anymore I'll post them. There's some of the stuff that went wrong that I can remember right now from down there.

I’m the Owen Younger who compiled this AAR. I had no idea that it was posted to the blog until just now when I got an email from a buddy of mine in Maryland. I have read a few comments about my effectiveness and the effectiveness of the mission staff, and I have seen a number of PAWG members respond critically to the report. What I have to say about the performance of the ground teams is in the report, and I stand by it.

There were a number of other comments asking why we didn’t do one thing or another. Its all in the report, read the report. We DID request additional mission staff support. Hell, to get a PSC I grabbed a guy off of one of the Illinois GT's because the NOC didn't ever send me one!!! I did not ask for an IO and that shortcoming is mine – as I spelled out in the report. You don't like that only a few people write the AAR??? There were 214 people on the mission from 16 states. If I waited for everyone the AAR would not be done until 2012. Look, second-guess me and the rest of the staff and IC's all you want. I'm not going to have the mission all over again just to satisfy those of you who don’t like what we did. The bottom line is that the results are what they are and we either learn from them or don't. And I include myself in that statement, by the way.

If you think the best way to make CAP's performance in the next serious disaster is to take shots at me, the staff, or the AAR, go right ahead. I can take it. The purpose of this AAR is to try and clearly identify where we can improve – IC’s included. Nothing included in this report was intended to be a personal attack, and I have nothing against the PAWG or Rangers. I have been around CAP for a long time and I do understand that sometimes its hard to take criticism any other way than personally, but we'll never be able to get past the problems we faced in this mission unless we look past the personalities and instead focus on culture and process. It is my sincere hope that all CAP members who are committed to our ES missions gain from the experience of the guys who did their best to try and manage this mission. We are trying to find a way to build a better mousetrap for next time.

Know this:
1) This AAR is accurate and I make no apologies for what I have written.
2) I make absolutely no attempt to avoid responsibility for my own shortcomings as the IC. The failures that happened on my watch are mine alone. I make no attempt to avoid that whatsoever.
3) If we are ever going to be effective in the future we have to take a hard look at the culture, training and process we encountered here. We may not like what we see, even about ourselves, but if we’re not honest about what happened then we’re not fit to serve next time.
4) It was one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve as one of the IC’s for this mission, and I had the opportunity to work with some of the finest CAP officers I’ve ever met. You guys are my brothers.

Semper Vigilans.

Owen Younger



Come on, guys.

Only one way to summarize 99% of the above postings.

Negativity and pointing fingers and put-downs.

None of that is what I want to see when I go into a real mission.

I want to see my team working together, to solve the problem(s). Working together.

Come on, guys. If you are truly interested in mission-related emergency services, then let's work together. To be constructive. To be supportive of those who served, and those who will serve. To face the reality of the fog of war, so to speak, and NOT to be so damned cock-sure of ourselves, in the style of Monday morning quarterbacks who didn't even suit up, much less play in the game. If you are truly interested in working on my team to provide mission-related emergency services, Do NOT put down others of our brothers, who are doing everything they can, in the face of overwhelming uncertainty and in the absence of communications to and from, to do their best, to provide service before self. The best way they know how at the time. Let's be positive. Constructive. Supportive. Mission oriented. And go forward to make it better and brighter.

Up we go!

If you are truly Owen Younger who compiled the report, as you say, then someone should add a recommended remedial action of having the AAR writer be proficient at professional writing or take a course in professional writing before writing and broadcasting such an important document. This responsibility carries over to the other contributors of the report you are compiling. Particularly in the case of such an important Action as the Katrina Disaster Relief.

Personal biases and inflammatory personal attacks have no place in such an important mission oriented report.

The report is nothing if it is not inflammatory.

A constructive, team-oriented approach to performing our best on a mission should carry forward into writing and compiling the After Action Report as well.


Personally, what anyone has said about PAWG doesn't bother me. We have our shortcomings, as does everyone else. I'm mainly disturbed because it appears that the authors went OUT OF THEIR WAY to identify and highlight PAWG again and again negatively. If PAWG sucked so badly, that's fine. But I have an EXTREMELY hard time believing that no other team down there had problems worth mentioning. I'm not defending PAWG one bit, if they bit the big one, they did. It needs to be addressed. However, I believe that the opinions in the AAR are just that: opinions. Not factual statements, not constructive criticism, but biased opinions, unprofessionaly stated.

Think about what would happen if this hit the media, and moreso, if they cared enough to do anything with it. Granted, you guys succeded in making PAWG look like a bunch of idiots. However, you've also succeeded in making CAP as a whole looking like an idiot. What ever happened to the "praise in public, punish in private" rule? You want to make PAWG your whipping boy, no problem. But it needed to be done in a manner that is kept quiet, and to those key persons that actually have a reason to be involved with it, i.e. IC's and senior mission staff from the mission, National HQ, and the affected Wing staff. Not everyone and their mother in CAP needed to know about a lot of this.

Bottom line: I think this document is less of an AAR and more of the IC's personal blog.


"...I have an EXTREMELY hard time believing that no other team down there had problems worth mentioning..."

Yeah, I was surprised, too, and yet, the facts speak for themselves. (Though if you actually >READ< the document, you'd see that other groups were called on the carpet as well, but none were as exciting or visible).

BTW - AAR's are supposed to be honest field documents, not edited novels.

The whole POINT is to call out goobers for goobers in the hopes that changes will be made.

The PAWG-beating here and elsewhere may look like "piling on", but they bring it on themselves with the "we're better than the universe" attitude they walk around with.

It seems like it is mostly their cadets who have the PAWG swagger, but no one in their senior ranks seems to be concerned enough to tell them to STFU, and it obviously is being instilled in them at Hawk.

To make things more annoying, regardless of the excuses, PAWG obviously had one of the worst experiences, hacking people off all the way to the stars, and yet when they got home they were one of the most vocal groups with press releases and blog postings all over about how successful they were.

It was bound to bite them on the dark side eventually.

As to airing dirty laundry, you can't have it both ways. Either we're a transperant organization or not.

You can't pick on RH, DW & RG on one hand, then cry foul when we beat up on people you like.


BTW - over 13,000 words written here on this subject.

2000 more and Midway Six gets a free set of steak knives!

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