Young Trouble in Rhode Island Wing

Col Benjamin EmerickCol Benjamin Emerick

By Rhode Island Wing | News of the Force

“Col Benjamin Emerick was given an ultimatum to clean up the Rhode Island Wing. It is foundering with little to no hope of a quick rescue with Col Emerick still at the controls,” a senior source told NOTF today.

“A little history. He was a cadet for a very short period of time. His highest award during his tenure as a cadet was the Mitchell award. He transferred to the senior member side when he turned 21 and jumped all the way to Captain (this was never fully explained, because the Mitchell does not get you captain on the senior side of the house). He was promoted to Major 3 years later and made the wing commander very soon after, ” the source, who requested anonymity as he’s not authorized to speak to the press, told us.

Sources say he was “pre-selected” to make a splash, as a massive argument had recently erupted inside the CAP because of the lack of younger “blood” in power positions.

“No one in his wing wants to listen to him. He is so young, has no prior military or leadership experience, and rules with an iron fist that often comes with youthful ignorance,” the source told us. “Members that have 30 or 40 or 50 years in the CAP feel no need to follow his commands, and most of his commands make little to no sense. He has lost squadrons, lost all the Wing’s aircraft because of lack of use and is starting to drive away the membership that has served the CAP for so long. He has been known to “troll for salutes” from members of the armed services, and constantly refers to himself as “the youngest colonel in USAF history,” which is a blatant misrepresentation of what he and the CAP are,” the source said.

“I am all for younger people in commander slots across the nation, but the CAP must be vigilant and unbiased in the selection of every commander,” the source said. “Placing someone so young and inexperienced in such a privileged position above members who have served in the CAP longer than the colonel has been alive was a bad call. He is not a bad person at all; he was just set up for failure by those above him.”


4 April 2012 (Follow Up from Reader)

Your story about the current Rhode Island Wing Commander is troubling. I think for most people, this story would be hard to believe (especially for military veterans). However, I have no doubt that the claims made in your article can be verified as fact.

Unfortunately, ordeals like this are all too common in the CAP. Most are just like the military horror stories on MilitaryCorruption, except they involve civilian volunteers in a military auxiliary. Though I have to say, this one is uniquely bizarre.

Having served in the CAP for eight years, leaving as a Cadet Captain at the Wing level, I’m very familiar with the corruption in this organization.

Assuming Col Emerick was a cadet for 16 months (which is the minimum amount of time it takes to earn the Mitchell Award), there is no way he could have gained enough leadership and command experience to be prepared for the rank of Captain. Even if he were active as a leader outside of the CAP, the combined experience still would have been inadequate.

However, considering this guy turned Senior at age 21, he had to have been in for at least 3 years as the cut-off age for joining the cadet program is 18. This is assuming, of course, that National Headquarters did not let Col Emerick join the cadet program after turning 18. Either way, it is impossible to train up a competent and qualified Captain in such a short amount of time.

It would be interesting to see how this guy was able to jump to Captain upon turning Senior, having been in the CAP for no more than 3 years. For the average 21 year old, life is too short to have done most of the things required for instant promotion to Captain (with the exception of earning the Spaatz Award).

When I read “No one in the wing wants to listen to him. He is so young, has no prior military or leadership experience and rules with an iron fist that often comes with youthful ignorance,” my mind went back to the many cadet-turned-senior types I came across in my cadet career who fit that description perfectly. It is truly shocking how many there are. When I left the cadet program in 2006, knowing I had witnessed and served with far too many of these types was a big let-down. Even more troubling for me was knowing that of those people, more than half were Mitchell Award recipients.

Your source nailed it when he or she said, “Placing someone so young and inexperienced in such a privileged position above members who have served in the CAP longer than the Colonel was a bad call. He was just set up for failure by those above him.” And this highlights the most damaging consequence of the toxic leadership atmosphere in the CAP: It sets young people up for failure.

Unfortunately, many don’t realize it until after being denied a job opportunity. Not only that, but to add insult to injury, the aberrant Senior Members (and there are many) who groom young people to fail are almost always held harmless from sharing any responsibility when the inevitable happens.

These adults are always quick to take credit when one of “their cadets” succeeds, but should one choose to do something immoral or illegal, the finger is always pointed at somebody else. And when the question of “who taught that kid to be this way?” pops up, in most cases the ones most qualified to answer stay quiet.

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