By Donna Leinwand | USA TODAY
The Civil Air Patrol’s top leader showed no sign of contrition in a letter sent last week to former commanders who had asked him to apologize for behaving disrespectfully toward the U.S. Air Force.
The memo from CAP National Commander Gen James Bobick to the National Advisory Council, obtained Wednesday by Gannett News Service, instead chided the council of 11 former commanders for criticizing CAP “since it appears you are not aware of all the facts relating to the issue.” He invited the former commanders to CAP’s Montgomery, AL, headquarters for a “briefing.”
“This will assist you in becoming fully cognizant of the facts rather than relying on information from those who are more interested in their personal agendas rather than the ultimate good for CAP,” Gen Bobick wrote in the June 23 letter.
The Air Force and its private, non-profit civilian auxiliary have been locked in a power struggle for two years. The Air Force accuses CAP of mismanaging its federal funds, retaliating against whistle blowers and using CAP airplanes for personal trips. It has sought tighter control over the auxiliary, which is known for its search and rescue operations.
Gen Bobick, who was not available Wednesday for comment on his letter, attributes the troubles to “growing pains.” Air Force officials and CAP leaders met Tuesday with two senators to begin negotiating an agreement.
In a letter last week, the former commanders urged Gen Bobick to apologize publicly to Air Force leaders for allowing a dispute between his organization and the military command to disintegrate into name-calling.
“Sadly, CAP has chosen to conduct personal attacks on top Air Force leaders rather than focus on the issues,” former National Commander Gen Lyle W. Castle wrote in a June 14 letter to Gen Bobick. “In several instances, press releases by CAP National Headquarters have crossed the bounds of proper decorum.”
The group threatened to apologize on behalf of CAP if Gen Bobick rebuffed their request.
Bobick responded with a warning of his own:
“For the (National Advisory Council) to take any action that has not been carefully considered and agreed upon by the National Board would be contrary to the rules and, in this case, the bylaws that we have all agreed to support. I do hope that you do not take a contrary position before availing yourselves of the opportunity to hear all the facts.”
The council will meet Thursday by teleconference to formulate its response to Gen Bobick’s memo, Gen Castle said in an interview.
“Until we see the outcome of the meetings, it would be premature for me to comment,” Gen Castle said. “We hope that the meeting will resolve the issues that are outstanding.”