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May 14, 2006


"What are we going to do about it?"

Turn in my 2b.


To improve the membership in the CAP, we first have to look at the top. The General has to be go, he has gone a long way to show his true colors. I will leave the rest to you, but I am walking. This is not what the CAP is all about. The mission is on it's rear end. It only has one way to go and that is down with less membership until we can install some real leadership at the top. Someone will step up to the plate and turn this around, but has to be real soon.

Midway Six


I can't agree with blaming NHQ for all our woes.

I've seen plenty at the Region, Wing, Group, and Local level which has had me consider hanging up my spurs at one time or another.

At the end of the day, it's the people I serve with that keep me going...

...but that's just me.


Last guy out, shut off the lights, willya? The AF is big on energy savings.



You couldn't be more wrong. CAP lives and dies at the local level. The majority of our members do little besides go to local meetings and participate in local activities. If National can do anything to solve our retention problem it is to provide the resources squadrons need to provide an engaging program that will keep members coming back.


We need to be honest with the guy coming in the door, of what we do, what we don't and before they sign the membership forms what they want to do. I have found folks in CAP quit for 2 reasons, they do too much and burn out or no one gives them anything to do and the just fade away..

Unless things change drastically between now and 10/31/06, that number will be 65,001, as I will not be renewing my membership following a 10+ year experience with the CAP. While it is true that the organization lives and dies at the local level...what transpires at the higher echelons of command does and will have an impact on the effectiveness of the organization. The section that I currently serve in the organization has suffered greatly at the hands of National by its decisions.

To those who have decided to "vote with their feet," you just don't get it: It's not about being scope-locked on a webcast, it's about keeping the faith with the member serving alongside you. I'm sure that they are not living and dying over uniform changes or other minutiae. They just want to make a difference, like all of us. Leadership in CAP is not all about NHQ, its about what we do where 'the rubber meets the road.' What are we going to do about it? Do the best we can, make the most of the cards we are dealt, and be frank and honest with the folks coming in the door. Let's not create false expectations. CAP is not for everyone, but lets try to keep the good ones. . .

Unfortunately, I do get it -- having served from every level of CAP from Squadron to Region, one does deal with the cards dealt. There are times, however, where because of the decisions made at NHQ, those cards adversely effects how we can effectively serve those whose CAP careers we are entrusted with.

It is very disturbing to share with new members the Core Values of the CAP... Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence, and Respect --- only to see those at the highest level of our organization bend the values to the point of being the Core Suggestions.

It has been a privilege to serve the members of the squadron, group, wing and region in which I have held various assignments...the interaction from cadets and senior members alike have enriched my personal and professional life. However, there comes at point when one has to honestly face the decision whether or not it is worth the time, energy and money in an organization where the leadership is often isolated in their thinking and actions from the membership they have the privilege of serving.

Prior to serving in CAP, there were other community organizations where my skills were utilized...they still exist and hopefully I can find a place to contribute.


Member retention is a serious problem, one that I think merits giving our National Commander an extra term or two to get to the bottom of.



I'm one to believe that retention isn't a problem. It is a symptom of a more serious disease; a disease that Civil Air Patrol has been infected with for quite some time. Strangely enough it's many other symptoms bear a disturbing resemblance to Alzheimer's Disease.

Civil Air Patrol, as a whole, has forgotten where we came from and therefore have found it difficult to chart a clear course.

New members join this organization for what they see on the surface and quickly find that regardless of what they were told when they joined, they are still destined to the same fate.

I agree with V1, that a lot of our problems reside at the top of CAP. For well over ten years National Commander after National Commander has been the medic that this organization needed to survive, but survival is not enough anymore. We need a doctor! We need a cure.

To use another analogy; if membership were related cash flow, Civil Air Patrol would be defined as bankrupt. Most corporations in our situation would cut their losses and reorganize. I firmly believe this is the path we need to take and we should count on our Air Force counterparts to guide us were we need to go.

For twenty years CAP as chosen to ignore the Air Force example. Perhaps to disance ourselves from the military or to merely do things the our own way. On the contrary, the Air Force has thrived and has become the premiere military branch in the most powerful country in the world. Furthermore, the Air Force didn't accomplish this by sacrificing its people or its many other assets. As a matter of fact, quality of life for Air Force personnel has only improved greatly over the last twenty years. Also, the Air Force didn't rise to the top by maintaining a non-standard organizational structure that every commander was entitled to embrace or ignore on their own whim. Speaking of the Air Force organizational structure: it works. Why don't we pick up AFI 38-101 and go to it?

Now, no organization is without its flaws and the Air Force is no different, but that is what puts CAP in a unique position. A position to pick and choose what aspects work best and which ones we would care to do without.

This all being said, action must be taken now. It must be highly visible, highly justified and even more highly supported by all echelons of command; from the lowest airman to the highest general.

We need more skilled personnel, more professionals, and members with mission essential skills that have a reason to stay... They're utilized! (Can you tell I am a Recruiting Officer)

Civil Air Patrol is going to have to become professional both in operation and appearance to survive. In an age of increasing technological advances and national security concerns, we cannot afford to look like “the good ol' boys flying club teaching youngsters about aviation”; an appearance that I admit, has served us well for the last sixty-five years, but this is the 21st Century. It is time to move on and take on more responsibility… Grow up, if you will.

Civil Air Patrol should strive be become the premiere air response agency in the country with advanced ground support. We must have complete aerospace intelligence in all our missions to protect our assets and our people in addition to being an organization that is invaluable to the federal government and any other agency that requires the skills we have the potential to possess. For example, we could use staff meteorologists to brief pilots and perform resource protection for all inter-agency assets on the ground. Skills that will prove very useful in response to any natural disaster or prolonged search and rescue.

The Cadet Program is going to have to become the key to the ignition. For without it, we can't go anywhere. It is the essence of our future not only as an organization, but as a nation as well. Cadets willing and capable may need to take on greater responcibility and larger tasks. Especially those age 18 and up.

No amount of discussion in this forum is going to incite change. That change again, is tied to the top levels of Civil Air Patrol, but I am a firm believer that this type of overhaul is going to change the impression that CAP members have about this organization and their willingness to stay in it.

A. Member

The issue isn't quantity, it's quality!

We don't just need members for the sake of having a large member base. That already is part of our problem. Quite frankly, we could stand to weed out a lot more members IMO. I don't know why those 65K members left. Sure, it may be helpful at some level to understand this but the bottom line is that if they weren't committed to the organization then it's probably better that they moved on. The organization should be much more concerned about the quality of the product/service they are offering that they are of membership numbers.

Just my $.02.

Major Carrales

This is a hard one to call.

Volunteer is just that...ask anyone in CAP about priorities, FAMILY, WORSHIP and WORK, seem to be the main priority with CAP members. That is as it should be.

Volunteer organizations will always be limited by the fact that most members will aways have "life to deal with."

I cannot wait until I am retired so that I can be a full time CAP member, but until then as a Teacher it will have to be reserved to weekends and summers.

All that aside, there will always be a small corps of people in every unit keeping it going. The heart of the people will augment it, but there will be some that just can't go and can do only what they can....answer a ELT call, but never make a regular meeting.

I will work on this...see what solution can be presented.


You all think that you cannot affect change. True in the given structure and with Attila as your leader, it will be difficult.

I suggest a 2-pronged attack:
1) Legislative. I suggested at the city council meeting to not support CAP in the local community at any city sponsored events, usage of any city facilities, invites to any community celebrations, and I took this message to Senator Bond's, Rep Senator Missouri, level and everyone in-between;
2) Donations and Funding. I suggested to the National Commander of the VFW and the National Commander of the American Legion to pull all funding/donations and denounce CAP as a corporation for their lack of Core Moral Values, Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do. The Veterans in my community pulled funding TOTALLY. My American Legion will never ever donate to CAP ever, and AMVETS, VVA, MCL and VFW in the local area all pulled their donations to CAP.

You say that pulling funding only hurts the people left. Well the truth is that--the truth. Bottom line is my unit learned a valuable lesson by losing their unit; they learned it and didn't lose an eye, or have brain damage or worse yet lose their lives; they learned that corporate deception and deceit is the truth and at 13 years of age I think they learned a valuable lesson—but do you want your 13 year old to learn that at 13 years of age. I didn’t, but I used the situation to teach all the cadets the reason we have core values and the reason we fight those that do not have those values.

You speak of retention, how about even keeping a unit of upwards of 50 cadets, some with 7 years in the unit! Oh and I am the Commander of an American Legion Post, member of other VSOs, Chairman of a Veteran's Commission for my hometown, and oh BTW, 23 year member of the USAF and still kicking at 45 years old. I was in CAP for a little over 5 months and it was not because of the local Commander that my 2B was turned in for, but the flood gate that followed, disbanded the school unit I was in. 2 years ago that Commander was selected as Volunteer of the Year for a City of 75000 people!

But Tony Pineda decided that the unit had to go, and as a corporation there is nothing anybody in the government, USAF, local community or anyone can do anything against Tony Pineda... Except Congress and the Senate, there the wheels turn.

You see, CAP the corporation gets partial funding from your tax dollars and as such the Senate military appropriations committee and the Senate armed services committee both have a say-so in what goes on there. On the legislative front, you e-mail them, your Congressmen and Senators.

I am not a disgruntled CAPPY that was forced out, I am not a member who was told they couldn't go somewhere with someone, I am not a Tony Pineda hater, although from his actions you can tell what type of person he is, and his actions speak very poorly for Tony Pineda, the name.

On the contrary, I am a Father, a Husband of a former USAF member who wanted to get the whole family involved with the wonders of CAP and I am an activist that believes we can do something to make this right. I hope one day to get back into CAP with my Daughter and Son and especially my Wife who wants to continue to serve. I think there are enough people out there with DIRT on Tony Pineda and if not the truth, then they have conjecture and you know what the liberal media will do with conjecture. The story is, I heard it from a friend of my sister's cousin's boyfriend's Grandfather...

Call your local newspaper or put in an editorial on the call in page. Call your talk radio station. Contact your local legislature representatives, from the city to the county to the state and on up. Believe me, you can get the word out there for people to hear and see that CAP is not right.

My e-mail is above. I will tell you whom I have spoken to and what has happened here is sleepy Missouri. I can "show you" what we have done in the local community, how CAP embraced the Veterans, and vice versa, and how our drill teams are in the Veterans Celebrations on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, POW/MIA Day, Veteran's Day and Pearl Harbor Day. Yes the Veterans invited us to all those and we presented flags to Senators, Governors, 2 Star Generals, War Heroes and the St. Louis Cardinals. But alas, the entire unit is gone in less than 4 months.

Please tell your story, let the world know that Tony Pineda is not the leader we want, nor the leader that America needs. Take him down, like he as taken so many down before him... Fight the good fight... God Bless and Good Luck in all your travels...

Major Carrales

This smacks of TREASON!!! If I were to do this, I would be betraying the efforts of, not only myself, but of all the people in my unit.

I am not going to betray over a year of work retooling our unit and getting it out in the public eye to do good because of the actions of people I have never met who are doing questionable things a whle continent away.

We have done a lot, the problem here is that many units and CAP officers are giving their alligience to individuals instead of to the greater good of the Civil Air Patrol.

Leaders come and go...the legacy of their actions may resound for years to come...but the organization must go forward.

As I said, I don't know the Major General, or any of these people involved in any of this stuff. All I know is that Civil Air Patrol coverage in South Texas is too thin and I need to do my damnest to get my unit to fill that gap.




Is there really a retention "problem". As long as new members join to replace those that drop, there will be no real emphasis on retention. Money from membership dues will remain constant, and CAP will carry on.

On the other hand - 65,000 members have left!!!! I'd say maybe we need to look more closely at "why". There is a lot of sitting around time which must surely be major factor.

It takes an active leadership structure at all levels to go out and "find" (no pun intended) meaningful work/activities/missions for the 56,000+ members of CAP to be involved with.

There are other factors, to be sure, but I'm reminded of the quote from the movie "Field of Dreams" - "If you build it, they will come". We've got 52 wings, let's get them all involved!


Did my comments from yesterday morning get eaten? Does this thing work? Hello? Is this thing on?


Dear Folks and Colleagues in Missions,

Retain THIS! ;-)

Turnover and Retention is always an indicator of organizational stability.

If I hear JetMaster correctly, it also shows to go you the potential power of actual members: The power that they also have from without the CAP legal entity, also known as a Corporation. Yet, how oft-forgotten, an organization (please note that I say organization, as in, living organization) which cannot live in a vacuum; without at least some form of external feeding tube ala Shiavo.

For all I know, JetSet was underestimated. Dang! Who wouldaknown he was so influential in his community.

My grandpappy always used to warn me: ''Neverrr underestimate the power of a schmuck''.

This guy is obviously no schmuck. but given his <6months longevity within CAP, he has not had the opportunity to exercise the spirit and letter of CAP's Top Secret Reg CAPR35-5. So, for all I know, he is an SM and not even a butterbar. I personally believe in the power of a butter-bar. Heck, I used to work with this Sergeant who had a PhD in Psychology. What was this sergeant doing in the service? He was a SATCOM Ranger, and a very sharp one at it. Lots of other ones like him supported NORAD.

Withholding moneys and sponsorship at the local level and to the extent JetSet has described, amounts to an effective boycott.

For the boycott to be truly effective, it can't just be an embargo for no apparent reason. Each organization must expressly communicate their rationale for which their withdrawal of support has been decisional, along with a ''get-well'' card / suggesting the conditions which must be met before monetary support may resume. If the organizations really believe in the spirit of CAP, may I suggest that the moneys normally allotted for CAP not be diverted, but rather placed into escrow so that upon amelioration on CAP's condition so that they may happily rejoin the list of approved volunteer organizations for this very respectable list of donors, it may receive back-donations so that it may resume where it left off?

This would be much less likely to be the case if these organizations loose hope in CAP, so, along with your message for withdrawal of support, how you appear in your faith in CAP to these organizations will certainly have a direct effect on how CAP at that level will likely receive continued support once it has corrected itself in their view.

I will try to remain non-judgmental about your decision. Some may call your actions treasonous, for you, being a CAP member would appear to be calling for a boycott against yourself and your own organization.

But, unlike many CAPpers in positions of authority about whom I am sorry to confide, I congratulate you on your military retirement and honour the service you have given the country and the continued service you planned to perpetuate upon joining CAP.

I thank you.

Before CAPPers leap to the notion that your activism may be treasonous or unpatriotic, let us remember that the democratic values our service-members signed up for to protect are precisely that of the right to free speech, the right to protest. And although it is true that a servicemenber in many respects cannot pubicly state ones own opinion, a service-member cannot organize, a service-member cannot organize or picket for a servicemember is under UCMJ under which it is forbidden. So, as it has often been IMHO best said, a service-member gives up their democratic rights so that others would have democratic rights.

Now, something about many of CAP's members is that they are under their own self-inflicted impression that, because they are a paramilitary organization, they are in the military themselves and begin to act more military in some cases than the military itself. I wish that were to be put into practice in other areas where being more military-like would raise and enhance the image and general standing of CAP, but no, yet perhaps in the future, maybe after the shake-out, re-org, rattle and purge.

But for those who keep forgetting, CAP does not fall under UCMJ, as much as some would love for it to be. CAP is a corporation, most of its members are still benevolent, philanthropic and volunturistic. Its leadership is charged and entrusted with facilitating this aim.

As with any _corporation_, when its leadership fails its employees, or even worse, manipulates perceived realities with the intent to deceive, think Enron, or does its people real wrong, its members, if informed beforehand enoughly, (think the value of an informed membership or electorate) before the Enronesque shambles actually take place, in a democratic society, have a right to picket, assemble, organize and protest. -And that is whether you or I agree with those who picket, their right remains, excepting the law is against them if this picketing endangers human life or anything else considered to be of high enough import for the flavour of Government holding office at any given time: (Such as the case of the Air Traffic Controllers who were told to stop striking or lose their jobs under the Reagan Administration, then they lost their jobs to a bunch of young whipper snappers who are all now retiring simultaneously).

But, there are still lessons to be learned about placing embargos over entities because of its leadership.

It would seem that a boycott is most effective if performed on an entity which is mostly constituted by peoples who's behaviour the boycotter wishes to curb.

The bus boycott during the civil rights movement comes to mind; so does the Boston Tea Party. Sometimes the outcome is more peaceful than other times.

Yet, when embargos have been placed on entities whose leadership solely we wished to curb, sometimes even in hopes that the rest of its members would uprise and topple it from within, history tells that one would be more prone to failure:

a) The Cuban Embargo (Castro, left to his own devices, clings on to the enemy's coat-tails and once he can lift himself of his own bootstraps, clings on for dear life. The remaining citizens feel betrayed as they suffer from the effects of the embargo levied against them and coalesce behind their leader for that leader. The minority of folks who are in alignment with the policy behind the embargo leave like bats out of hell, leaving behind those who can't and are most affected by the embargo.

b) The embargo against Nicaragua left General Daniel Ortega to rely solely on the Soviet Union for its aid. The Soviet Union did provide, established presence and further alien-nation away from the US. This time, though, learning from the Cuban experience, a stealthy mix of service-members and Coasties (yes Coasties) set up Palmerola Air Base in Honduras to support and train the Contras as well as coordinate efforts for Panamanian Air Force personnel under the tutelage of CIA employee General Manuel Antonio Noriega to serve as intelligence agents and proxy terrorists to blow up the streets of its capital Managua to destabilize and overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Today both sides reached a consensus and amnesty, both sides participate in Nicaraguan government and given that both sides freshly remember how we supported Ignacio Somoza, the despot who ruled Nicaragua before Ortega have decided to keep the US, who disapproves of such peaceful amnesty truces, at an arms length. Yet another embargoee that we lose.

c) Embargo against Lybia: Muscleman Colonel Moamar Ghadaffi oversaw a regional terrorist organization, or at least gave it a semi-approving blind eye. Not only was there an embargo, but also air-raids which actually killed one of his sons at Ghadaffi’s own home. There was a whole lot of kicking and screaming and a lot of bravado on both sides followed by some obstructionism. Then, suddenly, out of the blue and inexplicably, Ghadafi woke up one morning and decided to seek the services of a US assigned hypnotist to explore the kinder gentler side within him and become teh US' best friend and and with it and amidst a thousand points of light jointly with us sail into our sunset. Well, at least there wasn't another war and/or invasion. I still think we ain't seen nothing yet.

d) The embargo against Panama: Neither did its people there rebel against the regime of General Manual Antonio Noriega. The ex-CIA agent that since had fallen into disgrace before the eyes of the US Governemt since the days when it he was asked to be its terrorist by proxy against its brothers from Nicaragua. The people of Panama, who at the time had Latin America's largest mass of middle-classers were the ones who most suffered from this embargo which caused amongst them unprecedented bankruptcies and squalor. Nonetheless, Noriega and his troupes went on smelling like a rose, Why? Noriega and Ghadaffi, yes, Ghadaffi, had suddenly became awesomest of friends and Ghadaffi, having been there done that, gave him of his own wealth, money bags to ride the wave of US sanctions. So, the people suffered and the leadership thrived! ...of course, until the US bombing and burning of many consecutive residential blocks within the city of Panama and the subsequent invasion and overthrow. What most people don't know about this story is that Noriega has since gone from the status of ''common criminal'' (the term enema combatant had yet to be invented) to that of P.O.W. under Geneva conventions. We were hoping to eventually extradite him back to Panama, but have postponed it indefinitely given the current elected president happens to be the son of General Omar Torrijos who recently re-opened the investigation of his father's mysterious death (aeronautical accident where falls and crashes from the sky for no apparent reason). Fortunately for Panama, General Omar Torrijos had already signed the Panama Canal Treaty which reverted control of the Canal from the US back to Panama. So, the US does not see this circumstance at this time as being the most favourable for this maneuvre.

e) The brief embargo, bomb-raid, invasion and take-over of Afghanistan: All is well. Kinda. Mr. GQ is at the helm and they have pardoned a converted Christian from his execution. The oil pipeline through Afghanistan has been completed. OK, they are under Sharia law, and poppies are flourishing once more, which was not one of the objectives, but, hey! That was the will of the people. And we are still smoking and exterminating die-hard Talibanis out of their fox-holes. Just yesterday, 75 of them! But doncha worry, everything is under control. Also, along with it we have established bases over just about every Stan in the world. Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Elbonistan... ...things a re a bit rough around the Bads though as our presence is not so welcome wherever there is a town that ends in bad, specially Beriberibad. But things are looking up here, perhaps because the embargo was short-lived and we went straight for the jugular.

f) The embargo on Iraq: Followed by the food-for Oil program. More civilian casualties resulted from lack of medicine and basic necessities than that of our current campaign, although at this rate, not for long. While teachers, doctors and lawyers became reduced to the status of taxi-drivers and menial workers because of closures and bankruptcies, Iraqi Forces continued getting paid until.... ....Operation Iraqi Liberation. Notwithstanding, a small level of effort until we can, if we are lucky, restore peace and order and the American Way (well, as much as possible) under the newly established Bureau of Iraqi Affairs, which, by-the-way will be under Sharia law. Would you like Halal McMutton with that?

g) The embargo against Venezuela: Will it lead to the sale of F-16s to Iran? And the subsequent invasion or toppling of the democratically elected leader of Venezuela? Hey! At least no likelihood of Sharia Law there. But maybe they will throw it into their new constitution out of spite for interventionistic meddling. *LOL* In the mean time Latin American Countries all round, except for the two artificially being propped up by us are coalescing against us. Why?

h) The embargo against Iran: This one sound so familiar. Except that this time we really don’t have the resources for another invasion. At least, I don’t think so. But, who am I to question? For all I know we may have hidden reserves of soldiers, money and weapons to make these ends meet. And even if after 30 years, say we succeed, will the Sharia Law of its constitution align with the faith-based initiatives some of our ruling CAPers include in their daily prayers? Let's not forget the $100 oil barrels. No! Please don't expect this to be the big one, the definitive one. The one that will finally bring oil prices down! OK, for those of you in high places who act as though CAP is a faith-based initiative, your own, that is, perhaps I should caution you that this may indeed be the big one. Repent now, amend your ways and all will be forgiven. ;-)

So _what_ do these experiences teach us? A lesson experienced is not necessarily a lessons learned.

From the looks of it: Go straight for the jugular, don't play double agent and forget about embargoes unless you feel that it affects the leadership more than it affects the people.

In the case of the Civil Air Patrol, I truly believe that most of its members are well meaning patriots in the true sense of the word patriot. Beware of the power-hungry poser who sees CAP as a way to support self and inside buddy click at the expense of others and looking magnanimous and heroic while doing so. Most CAP members are one who wishes to do one's people well, acts upon it and is darn proud of it.

May I suggest that as we strive to ''surgically'' extract those hunkered-down malignant cells, that we not throw the baby out with the bath-water, that our innocent collateral damage not be >50X more than that of our military casualties and then, that we not sing glory or claim victory too prematurely as the test of time will truly tell if such an experiment was indeed successful.

Remember, '’Semper Vigilans’’ CAN be from the bottom UP!!



See You Next Time

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