August 7, 2007

Major General Pineda

As many of you already know, Major General Pineda has been suspended as National Commander, and Brig. Gen. Courter is the acting National Commander.

I will not blog on this development as the blog-god MidwaySix is covering it excellently.

I had the opportunity to meet Gen. Pineda last year at the Wreaths across America celebration at Arlington National Cemetery. My Cadet Commander was escorting him around all day. My personal impression was that he was rather full of himself and making a big media circus about his involvement. My Cadet had the same impression. (This, of course, is my personal opinion, and should not be taken as fact.) But even that is not detrimental as a leader; General George S. Patton Jr. was also a prima donna.

Regardless, He is innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of your feelings, remember that folks. If he is cleared and returns as National Commander, let's salute and execute like the professionals we are.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry to take time out of your busy schedule, but I have a situation that needs your attention. My name is Tony Pineda and I am the National Commander of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), a Federally chartered non-profit volunteer organization which also performs missions for the U.S. Air Force. I’m writing this letter to you because the Board of Governors (BOG) that was set up by Congress a few years ago to ensure cooperation between CAP and the US Air Force, suspended me from office in Aug, 2007. They have misused and abused the powers they were given and there is no one to oversee them and take them to task for these injustices. Members inside the organization who have recently questioned their tactics have been fired and they have instilled a fear of reprisal in the other CAP members. I will try to explain the situation as concisely as possible.

I have volunteered as a member of this organization for 19 years. I joined CAP because I wanted to give something back to this country that accepted me and my family when I came from Cuba in 1962 after my dad was released from prison there because of his involment in the Bay of Pigs invasion. My wife and children are also CAP members. I recently retired as a law enforcement officer with 35 years of experience, leaving my DROP program early to dedicate all my time to my last year serving as the National Commander for CAP.

This problem began in 1996, when I was the Florida Wing Commander and Gen. Paul Bergman was the National Commander. Gen. Bergman ordered me to pay a volunteer member $8,000.00 dollars for services as a contract employee out of a Fla. Hospital District grant. I advised Gen. Bergman that the payment would be a violation of Fla. State Law and that I wouldn’t do it. Gen. Bergman then fired me as the Fla. Wing commander for not making the payment. I went back to the squadron level and worked my way back up to the position of National Commander two years ago.

In Dec. of 2006, an incident occurred at a training session in Fla., of which I had no involvement. This incident involved a CAP Testing officer named Ray Hayden, who made threats against the Fla Wing Vice commander by telling him that he was going to get an UZI and spray everybody. His incident was investigated by the CAP Inspector General’s (IG) office and he was put out of CAP. Hayden contacted me via email and asked me to stop the investigation. I checked with the IG’s office and advised Hayden that there was nothing I could do. He then threatened to tell them that he had taken some Air Force Staff and Command College tests for me back in 2002. It should be noted that these were courses and tests I took to further my knowledge and they weren’t required for my rank or any promotions I received.

The investigation into Hayden’s allegations against me by CAP began in Dec, 2006, by the CAP - IG. I was informed in July, 2006, that they had not found information to sustain the charges and they would be dropped. The normal procedure would have been to present the allegations to the National Board (which is made up of the wing and region commanders nationwide), where I would have had a chance to defend myself and then the board would determine if I should be suspended and the investigation initiated or if there was no merit to the allegations, it would have been dropped. This is delineated clearly in the CAP By Laws and Constitution. I am including that site for your review.

DISCRIMINATION: The precedence has been set that the above process occur when charges are filed against the National Commander. In three previous situations in which charges were filed against the national commanders, they were properly handled by the National Board, not the BOG. However, because Gen. Bergman was on the BOG, he convinced them that they could suspend me and conduct a further investigation. In the previous situations, the one commander was Gen. Bergman and he resigned before the National Board took him out of office. In a second situation, Gen. Richard Bowling, who is now the Chairman of the BOG, had charges brought against him and they were presented to the National Board, where they were dismissed. The third situation involved my predecessor, Gen. Wheless, who also resigned before the National Board heard the charges against him. In those situations, the BOG never got involved as they said it was the duty of the National Board. It should be noted that the other three national commanders are all white males and I am the only Hispanic commander.

VIOLATION OF RIGHTS: I was suspended telephonically at 11:00 pm, on the Sunday night, just a few days before our summer national convention in Atlanta, GA. I was advised at that time that I was to have no contact with any CAP members, except Gen. Bowling. It’s clear they did not consider that my family members are all CAP members. I believe that violated my constitutional rights. I could have understood them saying not to discuss the issue, but no contact was unreasonable.

DENIED RIGHT TO COUNSEL: I contacted my attorney, Neal Poller, who has handled all my personal legal affairs for me for years and advised him of the situation. He told me he would handle it. He contacted CAP legal counsel and was told that it was a conflict of interest for him to represent me as he is a CAP member. He has never done any legal work for CAP and I could not see the conflict. He asked them to reconsider and they advised him a week later that they wouldn’t allow him to represent me. I have contacted other counsel; however, due to the cost I have waited to proceed with that.

I provided the BOG with a copy of the CAP By Laws and Constitution, Article 15, which shows the procedure for suspension and removal of the National Commander and Vice Commander. Their response was that US Code 10 supersedes that and as the governing body of CAP, they can do whatever they want to do. They have not provided me with any evidence of the charges and I have obtained a copy of the statement of Ray Hayden, which has no evidentiary value either. Hayden has a motive for making the allegations; however, I would have no motive to cheat on a test that I didn’t need to take in the first place. They have kept me in limbo for the past month and a half, still under the direction not to have contact with CAP members. They have caused a fear of reprisal among the general membership and the turmoil has not been good for the agency. They are removing from command all of the members who have been put there since I’ve been the commander.

In all fairness to me, as well as to the continued success of the CAP, someone who they have no control over needs to address this issue with the BOG and I am asking for your help in this matter.

- Tony Pineda

Anonymous said...

It would seem tome that Mr Pineda's can give it out, but he can't take it.

He used his position as CAP National Commande to promote himself and that was all.

Now that he's been caught, not even at the National level mind you, he can't stand it.

The man is an embarassment.

People should have seen it coming when he awarded himself the Silver Medal of Valor for standing by the road at a minor traffic accident.

Good riddnace to bad rubbish!

Anonymous said...

Dear members.

The last two months was a horrible time not being able to communicate with all of you. For that I have to apologize but as you know it was beyond my control.

There is always two sides of a story. Now in a short summary I want to share mine with you. Earlier you received the letter to congress that I sent, it describes some of the issues.

First I need for all of you to know that I will never compromised my integrity over anything and I will never place CAP in jeopardy.

The BOG not only took me off command but also terminated my membership and I have no right to appeal to anyone because there is no body and I was told that the BOG can do what ever they want without following any regulations.

Up to this date the only thing that I was told it was because of the Hayden issue. This issue was resolved and the BOG was told that it was not sustained by Col Linker our IG. He told them this at the BOG meeting in June of 07 in Atlanta.

Col Linker also advised Gen Bowling in an email (below) that all of the complaints were not sustained.

Kuddes, et al.

Investigation is complete. The write up is first on my agenda after finishing a few pending complaint items and return from IG travel next week. The report will show that

(1) There is nothing to suggest that the resignations of Starr, Glass and Moseley were not freely given by these officers at the time they offered them.

(2) Kuddes removal was within the scope and authority of the national commander.

There is more to it, but these are the facts it boils down to.

Hayden v. Pineda

This was held up by an effort to get course records from USAF-Air University re. the tests in question. AU’s registrar was understanding and forthcoming, but the reports were blocked by USAF-JAG, requiring a FOIA request, which was itself blocked. This became an extended issue. In the end (late last week), nothing useful was received.

Lacking any forensic information, this remains a case, on one hand, of the word of an apparently troubled former member who admitted committing widespread and repeated course testing improprieties as Testing Officer, and has demonstrated violent behavior at CAP, and the National Commander, on the other. Investigation into the lie-detector test taken by the complainant raises many questions and concerns in its administration. The transcript of the 3-hr recorded testimony of the complainant is strong and convincing testimony to his state of mind and motivation. The preponderance of evidence does not sustain the claim of cheating.

Re: Col. Levitch and wife taking the ECI-13 course un-proctored. Facts are that Hayden admits to allowing this routinely, Levitch claims he was newly rejoined in CAP, didn’t know the testing rules, event happened a few years ago, USAF-AU did not give us the information necessary to discern how many and who may also have done this. I’ll report the facts and leave action to the judgment of the BoG, unless a recommendation is requested.

General Bowling indicated he wanted an executive summary of the cases. I will provide these before the next BOG, even if fully assembling the considerable documentation into a proper package may take a little longer.


We have a major problem that if it is not stop will continue to grow where no one will be able to stop it. The BOG should only be an oversight board not a Governing Board. Most of the BOG members are not CAP members and dont even know our regulations and Constitution and By Laws. CAP needs to be governed by the National Board as it use to be not by outsiders that have no regards for the needs of the membership and who don't have the pride that we all have in our organization. I may not be a member of CAP anymore but I still care very much for this organization and all of you. I will send you another email over the weekend. I don't want to over burn you guys and ladies with this.
Thanks. Tony

Anonymous said...

Professional Development Officers should not take tests for other members! I guess the motivation for doing so is to rapidly advance through the organization you have now corrupted. I have read Ray Hayden's rants over at CAP insights. So many cuss words. Why does he bother?
If Hayden recommends you for high office in CAP, consider that a kiss of death. His violent rages are legendary. Scary person. Scary person indeed.

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