Personal Assessment of Rhode Island Wing Vice

CAP Maj Gen Joe Vazquez, CAP Lt Col Will Stranahan
CAP Maj Gen Joe Vazquez, CAP Lt Col Will Stranahan

By News Editor | The Kent County Daily Times

About Mr Stranahan…

To the editor,

This letter shall serve as a character assessment of Town Council Candidate William Stranahan.

I served in the Rhode Island Wing Civil Air Patrol for 5 years with Mr Will Stranahan. My role as a Mission Pilot, Director of Operations, Transportation officer and an active participant in cadet programs allowed me to interact with Mr Stranahan frequently. I was the recipient of numerous awards of outstanding service due to the work that I performed both in the air and on the ground. Unfortunately I, along with numerous other pilots and air crew members and cadets, resigned from the organization after Mr Stranahan was selected as the Vice Commander of the air wing. A non-pilot, non-aviator, in a command position of an air wing? Do the math.

In Feb 2013, I was appointed to a board of review in a matter concerning a cadet when Mr Stranahan forcibly attempted to have this particular 16-year-old cadet thrown out of the Civil Air Patrol for using the term “BS” in an email. Mr Stranahan went to outrageous lengths to try to ruin this young man’s attempt to become an army medic. The board convened with Stranahan, the Wing Commander, and the young man and his mother. I was completely embarrassed at the attempts that this adult made to try to permanently flaw this young man’s reputation. In the end, the young man was exonerated and Stranahan’s allegations were dismissed.

Mr Stranahan, as a Cadet Squadron Commander, had two USAF-owned vehicles in his possession for 2 years for the purposes of shuttling cadets to events. In October of 2013, the vehicles were removed from him because he failed to perform the required monthly maintenance, let the RI inspections run out, lost the vehicle log books, let one of the vehicles’ RI registration run out, and lost the vehicle titles. Several other people had to clean up Stranahan’s mess. The vehicles were seized by headquarters and were in deplorable condition upon return. I may remind you that these vehicles are paid for by the taxpayer.

The primary goal of the Civil Air Patrol is to recruit teenagers to ultimately serve in our armed forces and more importantly, provide an opportunity to learn to fly through the cadet orientation flight program. During the time of Mr Stranahan’s command of the West Bay Squadron, he failed to get one single cadet into the air. It was not until I took over the flight program did any of his cadets fly. Once accepted into CAP, cadets are guaranteed to fly within 60 days. During the course of 4 months and flying over 100 cadets, I was continually asked by parents why their child was never able to fly prior to this time. The answer was obvious. Stranahan had no leadership or organizational skills. Some of the cadets had been in CAP for 4 years and had never stepped foot into the aircraft.

During the flight program I met with all of the cadets prior to flight and asked them about their experiences in the program. Likes, dislikes, ways to improve the program, etc. were the fundamental questions. I was deeply saddened when the cadets of Mr Stranahan’s Squadron made statements indicating that “our commander is lazy,” “he has favorite kids and if you’re not one of them you get treated like dirt,” “he is incapable of managing the kids,” “he doesn’t do anything with us,” etc, etc.

In view of these comments a conference call was made with the Wing Commander, Stranahan, and the other squadron leaders where these comments were discussed. The fact of the matter is that CAP is a mentoring program and Stranahan’s cadets had little to no respect for him due to the way they were treated by him. His actions caused the loss of many cadets during this time period.

Mr Stranahan recently was seen knocking on doors canvassing the neighborhood for votes in his National Guard Uniform, a direct violation of Title 10, for which he was reprimanded by his superior officer. I also find it compelling that Stranahan filed declaration papers while still under Title 10, another direct violation of the military code.

With such disregard for people, property, and regulations, how could anyone think that this man could legitimately represent them as a town council member? Mr. Stranahan has no professional background, no fiscal experience, and clearly lacks the ability to lead. Is this what the fragile city of West Warwick needs at this juncture? Is this city not compromised enough? Leadership is what is needed, ineptness is not.

Rob Cote, Warwick

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