Rampant Abuse in Kansas Wing

Col Rick FranzCol Rick Franz

By Skip Munger | News of the Force

Sir, I have seen what you have done to help out the Northeast Region as of late, and I am begging you to do the same for my wing. The Kansas Wing is in desperate need of help outside the chain of command. I have attached a letter that was mailed to the entire chain of command in the CAP yesterday afternoon, along with my congressman and the Secretary of the Air Force. Please post this on your news site, or use any portions of it as I know it is long. I bed you to help us.

The letter, in its entirety, follows:

To all CAP command and IG members:

First, let me apologize for the length of this letter, but it is necessary as I have a lot to say. Second, please understand that anyone mentioned in this letter was done so without those members’ knowledge or permission. No one mentioned in the letter had or still has any idea that I have compiled this or will be complaining about the events enclosed.

This letter is coming from a very concerned Kansas Wing member and a concerned parent of a cadet in the Kansas Wing. I fear for my child’s safety at functions and his bright future if I sign this letter so I shall remain anonymous.

Kansas Wing changed commanders in May 2012. The Wing had issues before, but I was told by the incoming Wing Commander to give him a year and he would fix the problems in Kansas. More than a year has come and gone, and contrary to fixing the issues, the Kansas Wing, under Col Rick Franz (and others’) leadership has sunk to new lows.

Several members have complained in the local IG area that was recently under Lt Col Randy Kraatz, but to no avail. Our complaints and outcries at mismanagement or sheer incompetence went without an answer or recourse, and we have had enough.

Now I write to everyone in the Kansas Wing chain of command. I know some of these issues I will list are not specifically banned by regulation, but the problems are causing a hostile work environment for many members as well as flies in the face of CAPR 1-1.

Let me start off with the largest issue in many of our minds, Col Rick Franz. Col Franz has consistently claimed to be a USAF veteran. He has used his veteran status to gain trust and advance his CAP career across many years. He has claimed to graduate basic training early, attended airman leadership school and a non-commission officer academy while serving just six years on active duty.

One of our members sensed something wrong, and contacted the National Personnel Records Center for the legally allowed Freedom of Information Act request on Rick Franz. The center (who holds all USAF records) could find NO service record of a ‘Rick Franz’ with his birth date and date of service.

They had no problem location Rick Franz’s wife’s records, nor his daughters, but they have nothing on him. This issue was brought up during Wing Commander selection boards and was ignored and swept under the cover because Rick Franz was the hand selected replacement. This is a slap to the face of all veterans, and a black eye for CAP that a stolen valor person has rose so high as to command a wing.

Col Rick Franz also has other issues. During the Kansas response to the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado, Rick Franz put people’s lives in jeopardy and exposed himself to cadets from the Texas Wing.

Col Franz put Tonya Carson in charge of the planning and operations section of the full response, with out being certified or even a trainee in those areas. She tried (with permission of Col Franz) to force out Texas members from the mission because they did not have a proper ‘ES note-book.’

An ES notebook is a Kansas waste of time, requiring the member who wants to participate in ES to print off all certifications, certificates and a 101 card and carry it around in a 3 ring binder. Texas obviously did not have this requirement (as it is not a NHQ requirement). Lt Carson then told everyone she was an active duty senior NCO of the U.S. Army and that she was an expert in disaster relief (which is simply not true) and was placed in charge of making all operational plans.

Col Franz needlessly placed cadets’ lives in jeopardy by putting her in charge of such an important and dangerous mission, while dozens of other actually qualified members where on scene.

Col Franz also exposed himself to several Texas Wing cadet members during the Moore, Oklahoma, mission. He changed repeatedly in front of cadets, several times getting completely nude and facing the teenage boys. He was asked to please stop by two of the cadets and he ignored them and changed several more times right in from of the cadets.

When this was brought to the attention of those in charge of the mission, it was again swept under the rug, because he was a “Colonel” and powerful and “he didn’t mean to expose himself.” Nothing was done about this complaint and no follow up was ever made by anyone in command.

But Col Franz’s issues started well before those incidents mentioned above. Col Franz has allowed a Squadron Commander to continue service in CAP after she committed open fraud of CAP. Maj Cathy Metcalf ran the Kansas City Composite Squadron for years and many of her members in the squadron complained to (at the time) chief of staff Rick Franz that Maj Metcalf was embezzling money from the unit for her personal gain.

In 2009, the unit had a large boat donated to it, so they could sell it and use the funds. Instead of declaring it like CAP regulations state, Maj Metcalf listed it for sale and when it sold (for a large sum of money) she pocketed it all. When confronted by members of her unit, she claimed the boat was not donated to the unit, instead it was donated to the “booster club” that she also ran. This was brought to the attention of Col Franz and he allowed her to continue serving, and in fact promoted her.

To this day, she is still living off of squadron “booster funds” and she is not even the commander anymore. Col Franz repeatedly told members of that Squadron and Wing staff that Maj Metcalf was under investigation “at the National level.” If that is true, why is she not suspended or removed from active service?

Col Franz has also allowed a member who hazed and abused cadets to continue to serve and transfer units inside the Kansas Wing. Capt Bob Wakefild had several IG complaints filed against him for cadet abuse, hazing, and inappropriate touching of a female cadet, just to name a few.

Col Franz allowed this monster to stay in CAP and assume a new leadership role in another local unit with direct access to cadets. This is sickening and yet standard practice in Kansas.

Col Franz surrounds himself with less than honest people, and removes anyone who dares speak out against him. The (very recent) former wing IG, Lt Col Randy Kraatz, has told everyone in the wing that he was a police detective “in the Dallas area” for 13 or 15 years (it depends on who is telling the story). The only problem with that is, he is only 35 years old. 35 minus 15 is 20.

So, a major department in Texas hired a 20 year old kid to be a detective? I think not. Also, there is no record of a Randy Kraatz holding a peace officer license for the grade of detective for any length of time according to the Texas government, nor does the city of Dallas have any record of him serving.

Lt Col Kraatz is part of the ‘good ole boy club’ that Rick Franz has brought back into Kansas with a vengeance. Kraatz intimidates people and uses his position as an IG to threaten people with a 2b [termination] if they do not do as he instructs.

Col Franz is also surrounded by other impotent liars or ‘yes’ men. Both of his Vice Commanders do absolutely nothing, and one of them has no idea what the modern CAP really is. Lt Col Mike Madan showed up to an NCSA without applying or even knowing what it was. He told the director that he thought because he was a Vice Commander he could go anywhere or do anything he wanted to.

The other Vice Commander, Lt Col Dwyan Filkin, has done nothing on Wing level expect teach ES. He is silently distancing himself from Col Franz because he knows what is going on is not good, but he will not stand up to Franz.

Col Tim Hanson is the head of logistics and vehicles in Kansas and drives a corporate truck around everywhere he goes, even when not on CAP business. In all the years I have been a part of CAP I have never seen anyone other than Col Hanson drive that truck. In fact, he tells members that they are not authorized to drive the truck and are not even allowed to ride in it.

Multiple times, Col Hanson has been seen driving the truck for personal items at Walmart or trips out of state. This has been complained about hundreds of times, yet nothing has been done to fix this issue. Col Hanson is rude and condescending to anyone below the age of 50, and will call and harass you if you do not do as he says.

Maj Lenette Lehan is the current wing chief of staff, as is nothing but trouble and rude. She considers herself an expert on CAP because she spent 4 years in the Army as an admin troop. She interferes in squadron affairs, quotes regulations that do not exist, and makes up work for squadrons because she disagrees with regulations.

In the last wing inspection, she argued with the inspector about a wording in a regulation and had several findings in her secondary position as Kansas’ head of administration. Col Franz has been alerted time after time that she is rude, condescending to members and unhelpful and not informed on her job. He does nothing about it, as she is part of the ‘good ole boy’ club running Kansas into the ground.

Col Franz recently fired the only member of wing staff that was making a difference and encouraging growth and participation out of the members. Capt Quinton Laws was fired at the Wing conference (in public) for “incompetence and a failing program,” even though he was the Wing deputy commander of cadets and had achieved a “highly successful” rating at the most recent Wing inspection.

No other area was graded that high during the inspection. Capt Law was forced out because he spoke out against the ‘good ole’ boy’ club that Rick Franz is the godfather of.

Col Franz also recently removed a squadron commander from office against his will. Maj Danny Phillips was removed from command after his ‘4 years’ even though he asked to remain on for one more year to complete the upcoming unit inspection, as he did not feel it was right to dump on a new unit commander.

He was removed anyway and told he had failed being a unit commander. This is simply untrue, as Maj Phillips was instrumental in running the Salina unit and keeping it from closing, without the help of any wing staff.

Col Franz has also lost or misplaced a lot of Wing cash, and used the Wing encampment to refill the coffers. Col Franz informed the Wing at a commander’s call that the previous head of communications (Maj Holder) had lost almost $7,000 of communications money and equipment and that the USAF was looking for the money.

After the wing winter encampment, he told the wing at a commander’s call that the missing money was located, but the winter encampment “took a hit around $7,000 and that ‘next year we will have to raise the price for attendance.’ Coincidence? I think not. The encampment finance officer was seen keeping track of all transactions on a plain paper notepad and later uploading different numbers into the encampment tracking system. This is standard practice for the Kansas Wing.

Col Franz is also putting my child’s well being at stake along with every other member and cadet of Kansas. Col Franz is forcing Kansas Wing to work with St. John’s Military Academy. This academy is in financial ruin (the wing finance head is also the CFO of this academy) and is under investigation by the state of Kansas for child abuse, sexual assaults and major hazing issues.

It has been in the Kansas news cycle at least once a month for the last year. Most recently, a member of Kansas Wing and an employee of St John’s Military Academy shot and killed himself over the sexual assault and sodomy of two cadets a St John’s. This member was in direct contact with CAP cadets and was instrumental in getting Kansas Wing to participate with St John’s. When he committed suicide, the Wing was told by Col Franz to keep quiet and don’t mention that this person was part of Kansas Wing.

I am afraid for my child’s life at CAP, and he is no longer allowed to attend anything without myself present. I am not the only parent who feels the same way.

Col Franz is bogged down in scandal after scandal, more than can be typed out here. He is protected by his best friend, Col Regina Aye, who was the Kansas Wing Commander before Rick Franz and is now the Region Vice Commander. She hides his indiscretions, pays for his trips (because Col Franz is unemployed and unable to afford to be the Wing Commander) and protects him from people who speak out.

I am now begging the chain of command up to and including the National Commander to remove the ‘good ole boy’ club in Kansas Wing before the Wing implodes. Kansas Wing has lost an aircraft because we are the last out of all the Wings in flying hours. We have the least amount of pilots in the Region and we are losing cadet members faster than we can replace them. Parents are scared and angry for their child. Col Franz is leading this Wing down a dangerous path that will one day get someone arrested or killed.

His minions carry out his dirty work for him, while his friend, the Region Vice Commander, protects him. Please, protect out members and cadets from this unhinged man and his minions. CAP is supposed to be fixing itself after the very public issue with a former national commander, but apparently Kansas Wing is allowed to do whatever it wants without checks or balance.

Remove this man from command and bring in someone from outside the wing to stabilize it. The safety of cadets and members are at stake here, please don’t sweep this under the rug!

Signed,
A very worried parent and member”

13 August 2013 — Follow Up

Col Rick Franz, as chief of staff of the Kansas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol and later as Wing Commander, was aware of several inappropriate relationships that were ongoing inside Kansas, a source has told NOTF.

The most striking of these was a relationship between two male cadets. Now, CAP regulations do not cover cadet dating as the CAP would have no control over cadet members outside normal meeting/activity times. It was general knowledge in the Wing that these two cadets where having a “relationship.”

However, in 2010, one of the two cadets turned 21 and transitioned over to the senior member side of the house, while the other one stayed a cadet for a couple more years. Yet the relationship and knowledge of this inappropriate relationship went on even after one became a senior member. The Kansas IG was contacted on multiple times over this fact, and the wing membership at a commander’s call was told that, “The Wing Commander is aware.” But no action was taken at all. In fact, the situation escalated.

The senior in question was Mitch Edwards, of the Kansas Wing. He started to have cadet male members’ sleep over at his house, even going so far as to talk openly about it in front of the wing commander and other staff members assigned to Wing functions.

Col Franz recently appointed the Salina Squadron a new commander. This member, Maj Doug Dutton, has been in the CAP for only a handful of years, yet was selected over members better qualified with decades (or more) experience. Maj Dutton is also the Kansas Wing’s head of finance and the CFO of the embattled St John’s Military Academy.

Maj Dutton’s wife is the relatively new commander of cadets, and her first action in that position is to promote her cadet daughter cadet commander of the “cadet advisory council.” Her daughter is unqualified, shows no leadership abilities, and in fact her former squadron commander refused to promote her until such time as she showed initiative and passed a PT test (which she has yet to do).

Cronyism runs rampant in the Kansas Wing under Col Franz. A former member of the IG team was removed from that position because he spoke out against a local unit, “Wier School Squadron 802,” getting their SUI pushed back several different times. In fact, that unit has yet to receive an SUI inspection since it opened up, while other units are given no leeway with inspections.

Col Franz (and others in authority positions in the Kansas Wing) has shown a pattern of disregard and contempt towards Civil Air Patrol rules and regulations. “No one is willing to speak up over these situations, as we are all afraid of the reprisals that will come our way if we are caught speaking about it,” the source told us.

“The summer National Conference is going on in Denver, CO. My contacts inside those meetings state that this information (from the previous letter) is once again being swept under the rug. It is time for the National Commander to make a change in the leadership in the Kansas Wing to save a once very prosperous wing and make all the members feel safe again,” the source added.

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