Public Outraged Over CAP National Commander’s Decision

CAP Maj Gen Mark Smith, National CommanderDrinking for Member Wellness is Maj Gen Mark Smith, National Commander

By The Capital-Journal Editorial Board

Editorial: Death Threats Shouldn’t be Forgotten

The Civil Air Patrol made the wrong decision when it reinstated Jonathan Holder.

Less than a week into the 2017 legislative session, Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, introduced a bill that would prevent Kansans from carrying concealed firearms on college and university campuses…

CAP Lt Col Jonathan Holder used to command the 77th Composite Squadron at the Kansas National Guard Armory in Emporia, but he resigned after announcing that Clayton should be hanged for her efforts to keep concealed firearms off our campuses: “This bitch needs to swing from a tree for violating her oath.”

When Holder was widely condemned for posting such a revolting, ominous comment, he whined that his critics were all “social justice warriors who believe free speech only applies to their way of thinking.” But this is just an intellectually lazy way to excuse any remark, no matter how cruel and stupid it is. We often reiterate the importance of a robust commitment to free speech, which is why we’ve denounced President Trump for slandering journalists who criticize him, questioned the surging intolerance of controversial speech on campus, etc. But we also recognize that civil society can only flourish if we maintain certain norms of political discourse — norms that preclude hateful vitriol and death threats.

Moreover, Holder was a commander in the Civil Air Patrol — an organization that provides “training, mentoring and supervision” to cadets as young as 12 years old. While CAP suspended Holder’s membership in February and denounced his comments, he has now been reinstated — a decision that completely undermines the organization’s stated focus on “moral and ethical decision making.” How can Americans trust CAP’s ability to train young leaders when someone like Holder is allowed to return to its ranks? CAP claims to teach its cadets better communication skills, but how is this consistent with the reinstatement of someone who hurled a death threat at one of our elected representatives?

These are the words of a man who flagrantly disrespects the values of his organization — a man who has no business instructing young Americans in “ethical decision making,” “leadership” or anything else.

His reinstatement is an insult to the 56,000 men and women of the Civil Air Patrol.

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Some General Public Comments:

• Tells you all you need to know about the quality of Civil Air Patrol.
– Clint C.

• $25,000 of state funds are wasted every year keeping this private club called “Kansas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol” in business.
– Max Haefele

• Holder’s comments are every bit as reprehensible as the BLM chants, Antifa rants and the bombast of the KKK. All of it is to be condemned.
– Kitty Persson

• This unhinged right wing gun enthusiast should not be training our impressionable young. There is a way to disagree with an opposing view but it seems this idiot has not learned civility.
– Donald Jones

• That is the biggest bunch of nothing that I have ever read. I know exactly what the civil air patrol is and was. …..And until the new conservative hate wave came into play ,behavior such as that was totally unacceptable and still should be. However now we are a nation of hate and unless big changes are made to bring back decency morals and high standards …..we are doomed to see more stories like this. This is a relevant story and I know you want to sweep it under the rug but I’m giving cj online a big thumbs up for good reporting good journalism and a great newspaper. If you don’t like it don’t buy it! Plain and simple
– Michael Engstrom

• Isn’t this the guy who also Tweeted, I think he followed it up with, “Women… women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.” Yeah, that’s Kernel Holder. Now, tell me why it was he didn’t get his wish and be stripped of his commission, divested of any pension or retirement rights, have the buttons cut from his uniform, his insignia dropped in the dirt and drummed out the gate? He sure did do his best to show the rankest insubordination and contempt for the military justice system.
– L.N. Collier

Related Stories:
CAP Kansas Commander Suspended Over Comments on Republican Lawmaker
CAP National Commander Reinstates Kansas Officer After Hanging Post
Civil Air Patrol Commander Accused of Threatening KS Rep
Civil Air Patrol Officer Reinstated After Hanging Post
Kansas Civil Air Patrol Officer Calls for Legislator’s Death
Kansas Rep. Clayton says Person Who Posted Threats Over Campus Gun Bill
Kansas Wing Member Commits Suicide
Rampant Abuse in Kansas Wing

29 Comments on "Public Outraged Over CAP National Commander’s Decision"

  1. It seems that this editorial you covered from The Capital-Journal and the many comments that followed are the ground-zero for the Kernel’s current activity. To his credit Civil Air Patrol’s former NCR commander Col Steve Kuddes appears to be monitoring and providing a calculated vent hole.

  2. Turn this all over to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. I would have done that in 10 seconds. Anyone lacking the balls to make the pitch is going to be caught up in the cover up.

  3. Smith’s action here really does expose Civil Air Patrol’s hypocrisy and use of the core value of “respect” as a tool for them to poke, setup and remove their political opponents or whistleblowers while turning a blind eye to these offenses from their own.

  4. This Mark Smith and Jonathan Holder maneuver is beyond the pale of hypocrisy on “respect”. Civil Air Patrol has a way of inflating egos into unsafe behavior. Kansas has two Civil Air Patrol member aviation deaths that don’t appear on your site. Cadet Major Ryan Sageser and his father Markham Sageser who were with Emerald City Composite Squadron. The accident happened November 5th 2006.

  5. The Civil Air Patrol has become a black-eye caricature of the US Air Force.

  6. During the change of command ceremony in early September, millions of Texans were without basic necessities like food, water and medicine from the hurricane. While many needed rescuing and help, Mark Smith stayed in his 5-star hotel room, ate gourmet food, drank clean water, handed out many awards, paraded around in his pressed uniform, slept in a nice comfy warm bed, spent time sight seeing and had a good ole time with the good ole boy club.

  7. If you have a problem in Civil Air Patrol,

    If your wing IG has just been terminated,
    If the Chaplains believe false rumors about you,

    If you have learned that no one else can help, then

    maybe you can tell the story to AuxBeacon.

  8. Urgent. Are you going to run our contribution regarding what just went down at CAP HQ at Maxwell?

  9. More outrageous behavior going down in Civil Air Patrol. I have friends inside who I care about. Please, please post the suicide prevention hotline number.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

    1-800-273-TALK (8255)

  10. I have been a member of Civil Air Patrol since 1998. While I don’t agree with what some members have done, I don’t think it’s appropriate to judge CAP as a whole. There are some really amazing members in this program who are doing wonderful things for our youth. I take pride in my volunteer position and have made a huge impact on many young lives in the program. CAP has even taught me so much as a teen. I learned how to respect others, carry myself professionally, and save lives. Again, there are always a handful of people who ruin it for everyone. But it is never fair for someone to disrespect the CAP members who work hard to uphold the values of our program and the US Air Force. CAP is an amazing program and has done amazing things for this country. Please don’t forget that.

    • I see no examples of “anyone judging CAP as a whole” by lobbing insults at naive, well-meaning, low-level volunteers. It is not just a handful of trouble-makers as you suggest. Disgraced national commanders and the CAP-USAF have grown a Civil Air Patrol culture that is corrupt from the head down through a command structure that uses intimidation, defamation and denial to silence men like Col Allan T. Stein.

  11. Maybe Holder knows some secrets?

  12. Is this modern CAP Major General Mark Smith asking us if we’ve ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

  13. Members and parents who openly tell the truth about Civil Air Patrol suffer paybacks and slander in attempts to discredit them.

  14. I have two children in Civil Air Patrol. I would not join so that I could supervise without being in their chain of influence. They periodically grumble about how the parents who are ranked members run interference to advance their own kids, especially the home schooling types.

    A few days ago, mine came home from school to tell me that they are being razzed a bit (nothing violent yet) for being associated with a program that attempts to cover up its accidents and derelict commanders and pilots. They showed me the Reddit pages and this site and News of the Force and they asked for my advice.

    So, I called a few adult senior members, and they told me that in the past all of these scandals had always blown over, and they would just ride it out and keep trying to do good. However, things are now different they say. The exposed evidence that national and region leaders attempted to conceal fraud, theft, accidents, alcohol, child molestation and threats of intimidation and excommunication to those making official reports is going to be a big problem. They say that some members have been voting with their feet and that others worry that they will be disgraced for having turned a blind eye to all of this.

    There is no JROTC program option for us but I am thinking of having them stick with their sports and join a science program instead.

    • I agree with what you just said. I recently pulled our sons out. The adult commander refused to deal with a “troubled” adult member that was reigning havoc. Most of cadets have quit. Our patience has run out. We did try to contact the state wing office, but no response. It is very disappointing. It is like beating a dead horse.

  15. Avatar PinedaStaffers | September 23, 2017 at 02:58 | Reply

    The recent legacy of this organization is still littered with baggage from the past.

    Tonight I am reading the 2007 NEC Minute meetings to find that Vazquez and Myrick were both on Antonio Pineda’s executive national staff.

    If you knew what it was like back then, Pineda only allowed people he trusted and could control because they were compromised. Anderson was on his staff too.

    There has never been any sincere attempt to clean up this mess since the 1999 FBI raid detailed in the book written by Allan Stein.

  16. Lt. Col. Jonathan Holder’s reinstatement seems to confirm that Civil Air Patrol’s mission is a low one per the Trash-Talk Indoctrination article that exposed Lt. Col. Larry Julian. They are looking to recruit expendable people they can use as pawns and cheap labour to feather their caps.

  17. Lisa, I’m not sure what you meant by, “So is Skip Munger and the cast behind AuxBeacon?” To answer, “News of the Force” is “behind” AuxBeacon in that we support each other and share stories, but AuxBeacon is a completely separate entity from NOTF, and the other way around, too.

  18. Avatar Emporia Gazette | September 20, 2017 at 21:39 | Reply

    The Emporia Gazette hinted at the point missed by the CAPsters at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery Alabama.

    “As the commander of a squadron based at the Kansas National Guard Armory in Emporia, Holder was among the adult mentors responsible for promoting integrity and self-discipline among cadets as young as 12 prior to his suspension.”

  19. Avatar 4HonStephClayton | September 20, 2017 at 20:21 | Reply

    I am currently a member of CAP, the flimsy plastic-paper card is in my wallet, but not for long.

    I would like to openly (but anonymously) APOLOGIZE to The Honorable Stephanie Clayton on behalf of those aviation professionals who sought to promote the stated objectives and values of a program that has deceived them.

    [Editor’s note: This is the first such apology we have received from a CAP member. Yes, we did verify it.]

  20. Photo and story are both sickening. Who is stupid enough to post for a photo like that and how does that become National Commander?

    • Who is stupid enough to post for a photo like that?
      – The new national commander, Mark Smith, that’s who.

      How does that become National Commander?
      – Why don’t you ask the BoG chair, Judith Fedder. She hand selected this clown.

  21. I, for one, think that this new standard of free and anti-bitch communication in Civil Air Patrol is going to be a great boost to my recruitment efforts to get more of “our kind of people” into the program. Too many of our female Spaatz cadets don’t seem to have the “right mindset” for where our paramilitary operation needs to go.

    With this precedent, we CAP members can more openly share our secret hopes. We can share our vision that our true-blue, red-wearing CAP leaders will soon be the Class A messengers of justice able to indirectly speak of placing heavy prickly ropes around the necks, wrists and ankles of our vanquished [redacted] enemies. [Editor’s note: caught this for ya.]

    Oh Glorious Dreams of subtle Inference and no direct statement on our part! Which emotionally immature future Company assets will think twice before opting out of ridding us of these meddlesome journalists?

  22. ABC News ran an AP version of the story on the morning of September 18th.

  23. Avatar RickNJaneGompert | September 20, 2017 at 17:34 | Reply

    The more I read about Civil Air Patrol through time, especially in the 1960s and the 1950s the more disgusted I become that this has not been corrected by our Congress. The story from Tex Gadget on Lt Col Allan T. Stein was an eye opener. Your new commander appears completely unaware of how he will be used as an expendable tool.

  24. Aloha kakahiaka, from the Valley Isle.

    This is an important story breaking at just the right time. CJ Online’s — Ahrens, Johnson, Beers Jr., Burton, Cushinberry, Hall, Lucas, Padilla and Stauffer — are all heroes for telling the truth on this.

    So is Skip Munger and the cast behind AuxBeacon.

    I would only add that Civil Air Patrol creepers have been successful in getting the American public to forget CAPs involvement in the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy.

    They’ve gotten away with things before and will always try again.

  25. Corruption protecting a few piggy leaders always leads to a total denigration of the quality of the service.

    Air Force Lowers Promotion Standards to Address Officer Shortages

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