National Commander of CAP Ousted

Tony PinedaTony Pineda

By Ken Kaye | Sun Sentinel

Maj Gen Antonio “Tony” Pineda of Plantation has been ousted as National Commander of the Civil Air Patrol, after being accused of asking another member to take exams for him.

On Wednesday, Pineda denied any wrongdoing and lashed out at the organization, saying its Board of Governors failed to hear his side of the story and abused its authority.

“After 20 years of service, this is how they treat their volunteers?” Pineda, who achieved the Civil Air Patrol rank of Major General, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I’ll tell you this much: I’m not volunteering anymore.”

The air patrol’s Board of Governors voted to remove Pineda on Tuesday after a “careful review of the facts and circumstances,” Richard Bowling, the board chairman, said in a statement. Amy S. Courter has taken over as Interim National Commander.

The organization launched an investigation into Pineda after Ray Hayden of Tamarac said he took U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College exams in 2002 and 2003 at Pineda’s request.

The tests, which cover military tactics and history, are intended to prepare military officers for high levels of command. They are not required of Civil Air Patrol officers to advance.

Hayden, who was an air patrol member at the time, said he was afraid if he refused to take the test he would be forced out of the organization. He has since left anyway, saying the group “illegally” refused to renew his membership.

Pineda had a different version. He said he failed to support Hayden after he was involved in an insubordination incident, and that Hayden filed the complaint in response.

Further, Pineda, 58, who recently retired after a 27-year career in law enforcement, said the board refused to provide him with documentation supporting its action.

“They have absolutely nothing,” he said.

Steve Cox, a Civil Air Patrol spokesman, said the organization had no further comment in response to Pineda’s allegations.

Pineda said he was “relieved” to be done with the air patrol.

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