The Unfair Civil Air Patrol Termination Process

Arthur Friedman

By Arthur Friedman

[Editor’s Note: This is an example of how a typical Civil Air Patrol termination plays out. Usually, it is a kangaroo court process. CAP is represented by a volunteer high-end lawyer while the accused has to spend their own dime on a lawyer or go alone to be slaughtered as in this case.]

January 29, 2012, 09:01:49 PM

I don’t post on CAPTalk, but this is a situation that I’d like to get some help on from other CAP members. So I am here to ask one question/post one topic.

My friend is a Senior Member and has been very active in CAP as a pilot, squadron officer, etc for the past few years. I noticed however that he has not been at the meetings for a long time, so I asked him about it. Long story but he has been terminated by the Squadron Commander. I don’t understand the details, but it seems like the only reason for the action is that the CC or the deputy CC doesn’t like him personally.

My question here is, what types of things would normally get one terminated for cause? I am pretty sure my friend has not committed any crimes, or done anything illegal, unethical or improper. There is an issue about his flying that he was put on a mandatory retraining schedule after there was some disagreement about runway usage at a glider event, and he seems to have been setup for a bogus form five check ride that was rigged for him to fail. I am myself very sad to see this all happening because I am sure my friend is a good guy and in fact is an asset to CAP.

So my question is, what sorts of things would be normally be valid reasons for a 2B action? (I already know what the reg says, I’d like some concrete examples from past actions)

One more thing, this is still waiting for appeal. If he loses the appeal (and it seems like CAP can boot anybody for anything according to the regs) I think I will probably quit too – I am just so disappointed at people who I used to trust and respect backstabbing our mutual friend.

January 29, 2012, 09:34:22 PM

I am not here to air details of the individual or the case. I am just trying to get a feel for what normally is a good reason for getting rid of someone who otherwise seems to be a good guy.

It sounds like you have been through this process in some manner. Would my friend be able to bring along another CAP member (not a lawyer) to act as counsel?

In the meantime, this member has been getting ratings past private pilot, WINGS, etc… it seems to be like they are cataloging every little thing he has doing wrong in the past three years. BTW, <>is there a “statute of limitations” for this lists of things he may have done wrong? I mean, membership is a one year at a time thing, can they bring up something he did wrong from two or three years back?

January 29, 2012, 11:58:08 PM

Yes, I am well aware of the politics that go on in CAP. Our wing has always seemed to be a very friendly supportive bunch and one that seemed above that sort of thing and that is why I am so discouraged. And our squadron also is a very close bunch trying to do the right thing with not much resources. So I am very frustrated and disappointed to find that there is some serious back stabbing going on here and that it is so extremely pointless – I would have expected the CC to be much much more tolerant and helpful if he did in fact see a problem. The member in question has about a full page of ES qualifications along with wing level assignments after only about five years in CAP. for the leadership to go to the lengths it apparently has gone to attack this guy really really bothers me. It is not anything like what I would have expected of him. This is completely out of the blue for me. It really seems to violate a lot of trust and a lot of the spirit of our ethics.

Another issue that really bugs me is that I strongly suspect that I am the only one who knows that my friend is being expelled. No mention of this has occurred at the meetings or anything – he just hasn’t been seen anywhere, and in a few more days he will probably be permanently gone – and still no one will know other than the CC and the deputy CC. And of course, none of us can talk about it because CAP doesn’t talk about personnel matters.

January 29, 2012, 11:49:03 PM

I did ask him straight up. And got an hour on the phone. He is not really sure why this is happening so neither am I.

January 29, 2012, 10:12:12 PM

Sorry, the “every little thing” they are looking at has nothing to do with his flying. More like failing to arrange a meeting on time with someone for some administrative function assigned to him. That sort of thing. With respect to flying other CAP instructors had no problems with him, just the one that did the check ride.

January 30, 2012, 08:52:41 AM

Yes, he is still on the unit list. I can browse his rather lengthy list of achievements as well.

I am sorry, but I don’t get that at all. From the perspective of the average Joe in the squadron, “Bob” has been there friend and squadron member in CAP for years, but now that you mention it, they haven’t seen him at the meetings for a long time. They thought “Bob” was just busy with his real life. He wasn’t at the Christmas party either. Nothing is ever said about “Bob”. Finally, they happen to notice that the squadron list doesn’t have him on it anymore and they ask squadron CC about it and get a vague answer like, “Oh he left CAP and I can’t say anything more about it.” So from the squadron member’s viewpoint, a good friend just got booted out of CAP and no one knew anything about it (really in this case no one does know about it).

January 30, 2012, 08:13:55 PM

I just think that this is not the military, this is a group of civilian people who join together to do emergency service volunteer stuff. They have been together for years and they are operating under the assumption that everyone is a friend you can count on no matter what. A sudden unexplained expulsion for no clear reason sort of really ruins that camaraderie.

I seem to be hearing that somehow these proceedings need to be kept confidential by – of all people – the person being charged. What if he wants a public hearing? I see nothing in the regs that indicate that there is an expectation on CAP’s part that the charged person has to “keep quiet”. Seems very unfair.

In other words, we cannot trust CAP to do the right thing. Sad.

January 30, 2012, 08:46:57 PM

I hear you. My friend has confided in me and has asked for my help. I feel that my integrity calls me to stand by a friend and fellow CAP member. He deserves to be able to defend himself with an adviser if he wants and I as his adviser should NOT have to worry in any way shape or form about reprisals against myself simply because I stood up to challenge the charges against a fellow CAP member. I don’t want trouble, but if I have to choose between doing the right thing for a fellow squadron member and having a long CAP career, well…

January 30, 2012, 08:54:27 PM

I am a bit stressed out by the whole thing and am going to stop reading here. I’ve got a packet of 2B charges to read through here and it isn’t the way I ever wanted to see my time in CAP go. This is sort of a huge betrayal, sort of like I can no longer trust people I have been friends with for five years. Not fun.

I was not here to gossip. I was here to find out what the correct use of the 2B process was. I am also not here for your amusement. Things have changed considerably and I will report back as to how this process worked out in a few days.

March 13, 2012, 12:12:37 PM

It was a sham, kangaroo court – he didn’t have a chance. They set him up for failure, brought in high end lawyers, denied him representation, broke the regs, conducted everything in secret and CAP lost a good person for no reason. Stinks. And remember, it can happen to YOU.

March 13, 2012, 12:34:41 PM

He has no further interest in CAP. He will find a better place to volunteer. What a waste. I am not sure I want to stay either.

March 13, 2012, 01:02:44 PM

We spent hours in that hearing. It just isn’t worth it to him to appeal this any further. He wasn’t about to spend thousands of dollars to hire a lawyer to counter their lawyers. Their lawyers were there as prosecutors, not as facilitators. It was just a big waste of time to get rid of someone who could have been a useful ground team member. Ultimately, it was a personality conflict with the squadron leadership, nothing more. Squadron leadership was convinced that this person did not belong and then created evidence to support that conviction. No MARB, it’s over

March 13, 2012, 03:37:26 PM

CAP got the services of its members – high end lawyers who would have cost the organization thousands and thousands of dollars if they had been paid. Against that, my friend got to be by himself while the lawyers ran the show. They were judge and prosecutor, deciding for the board what the procedures would be and what evidence would be presented. If he wanted equal representation, he would have been thousands of dollars out of pocket. Highly unethical and unfair and there was nothing that he could do about it. Just not worth it to stay in an organization that has decided it is not your friend and wants you out.

You have NO rights as a CAP member. Not even the right to a fair hearing when you are thrown out.

Not even a “thank you” for the time you served.

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