Air Force Major General Christopher E. Craige assumed command of the Air Force Personnel Center, and brought with him the tried and true tactic of ignoring problems in the hope they will just go away.
For all we know, Major General Craige is a nice guy, a loving husband, and a wonderful grandfather. He’s possibly the life of cocktail parties in Washington, dancing with a lampshade on his head, but Major General Craige is woefully lacking as a military commander.
When Major General Craige received information about a plethora of problems associated with the Air Force’s Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program, he just looked the other way. Flag-ranking military officers generally embrace the same “plausible deniability” as their civilian counterparts.
So, Major General Craige stuck his head in the sand and did nothing to clean up the Air Force AFW2 Program. This caused a tremendous amount of wasted money and the chronic neglect of many of our Wounded Warriors which caused needless suffering. We expect this type of behavior from the admirals of the United States Navy. Unfortunately, the United States Air Force has demonstrated they are no better.
We share with our readers a letter from an individual in the chain of command who, between the lines, was begging MG Craige for his intervention. But, the politically savvy major general decided to let our Wounded Warriors to twist in the wind and did nothing to help.
THE LETTER TO MAJOR GENERAL CRAIGE…
To: CRAIGE, CHRISTOPHER E Maj Gen USAF AFPC AFPC/CC
Subject: Toxic AFW2
Maj. Gen. Craige,
I am writing to you because I am concerned about a very important resource for our Airmen, the Air Force’s Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program.
RCCs have a difficult job and are often one of the few people helping our Airmen through difficult times such as a medical board or cancer treatment. I encourage you to reach out and talk to these RCCs and do whatever you can to support them. Many of them suffer from compassion fatigue, carry very large caseloads and receive little support from AFW2 or its contract, AFSC Magellan.
I encourage you to reach out to these RCCs. Many are disgruntled with the program’s “leadership” – to include the incompetent branch chief, Scott Wilson, and the AFSC contract. RCCs are told they are replaceable and that their concerns are not relevant.
We need more RCCs and a manning assist, yet the only thing Scott and the program does is file monthly waivers for RCCs to carry more than the allotted amount of caseloads. Nearly all the funding and support for AFW2 goes to the support side of the program. If you don’t believe me, then I can give you a long list of RCCs who are ready and willing to talk to you.
As you can gather, I am aware of a number of problems within the AFW2 program. My colleagues and I have reported them a number of times over the years to our program manager (up until recently the PM was Roy Flores) as well as AFW2 “leadership.” However, the problems are consistently swept under the rug.
What you see and know of the organization is different from working inside the program. It is an organization plagued with extreme favoritism, extra-marital affairs, excessive spending and mismanagement of funds, overall lack of integrity, disrespect and overall toxicity.
I am not alone in my thoughts. Countless others (current and former employees, as well as wounded warriors) feel the same way and have filed IG complaints, written the CSAF and CMSAF, documented the issues in command climate surveys over the years (have you read them?), filed complaints with the AFSC program manager, quit working there, have been threatened by AFW2 staff, and most recently, gone to the media with their concerns.
Does this sound like a healthy organization to you, sir?
A former AFW2 female contractor reached out to me and shared all of her legal correspondence related to the harassment she experienced from Moses Espinosa, back in 2016 and 2017. Moses was a contractor at the time and yet, despite MULTIPLE complaints about his bullying and threatening behavior over the years, Marsha hired him as a GS employee and has since refused to do anything about his repeated unprofessional behavior.
By repeatedly failing to do anything about Moses, other than a tiny slap on the hands, time and time again, the Air Force’s message to everyone in this unit is that it’s perfectly ok for one of its contractors-turned-GS employees to bully and threaten colleagues and wounded warriors. Moses is a married man and father to young children, yet Marsha and the rest of her partying traveling support team failed to do anything about his affair with contractor Kortinae Lazano.
You know who this ultimately affected? The other contractors who worked with Kortinae – who were told they could never travel in Kortinae’s place. Even after this affair became a big issue and was reported during the Warrior Games in 2019 and during the Germany CARE event in July 2019, the only people to suffer Col. Flatten, Marsha and Randy’s wrath were the ones who complained about it.
Even after more than a dozen people provided SWORN statements to an investigating official a year ago about Moses, his behavior and his extramarital affairs, Marsha continued to bring him and Kortinae on the same TDYs together (to include the annual boondoggle to Hawaii). Why is he still working in this unit?
Aside from being shady and a host of other negative things, it’s a huge slap in the face to countless people (military, contractors and GS employees) who provided sworn statements and have repeatedly brought up the same issues about Moses. I can’t make any of this up General Craige. It reads like an embarrassing soap opera.
I trust your PA team alerted you to an article about AFW2 on www.militarycorruption.com? I assure you, the information in this article is true despite the colorful, crude language. (editor: now wait a damn minute here) While I didn’t write this article, I am aware of the sources who provided input.
I have read the substantiated IG reports, legal correspondence, pages of material provided to the SAF/IG and AFPC/IG, and have heard from countless people affected by the people you entrust to run this program.
Col Mike Flatten, the former AFW2 director, did nothing to alleviate any of our concerns. Instead, he used AFW2 TDYs to bring his wife and children on taxpayer-funded vacations. He allowed his young son to run around and scream during official events.
I’ve seen the video from Scott AFB in August 2019 of his young son running around a live archery range while wounded warriors and coaches had their bows drawn, ready to fire. I’ve seen the photos of everyone from the CSAF to AFW2 employees holding his children and running after them in the midst of work events.
Yet, when confronted time and time again about bringing his family on these work trips, he dismissed the complaints and did what he wanted. Why not? Isn’t that what a colonel can do? He also allowed Marsha to run the program however she wanted and gave her total power over the program. Yet – I’d like to remind you – the program is not only about Marsha and the support side!
It’s about the wounded warriors going through medical boards, the RCCs out in the field helping them and the transition many of them must make from the Air Force. This part of the program needs more support!
Marsha has allowed affairs to run rampant between GS personnel and contractors, allowed contractors such as Angela Staab to have unprofessional relationships with wounded warriors, fostered such an extreme amount of favoritism people are stepping all over each other to get one of her coveted GS positions, spent excessive tax-payer money on lavish TDYs such as to Honolulu two years in a row and Marsha’s trip to Europe during the summer of 2019 in which she insisted upon staying on Venice when her TDY was at Aviano AB.
She has overall hurt the reputation of this program. Also what has hurt this program’s credibility is retaining someone like Angela Staab, who was accused of having multiple unprofessional relationships with male wounded warriors. A wounded warrior made a complaint against her in August 2019, yet she continued working at AFW2, received a promotion and then repeated her same sick tactics on another wounded warrior.
I’ve talked to a particular family multiple times and have also read their substantiated IG complaint against Angela. Nobody from AFPC or AFW2 ever apologized to this family for the damage this caused. And, instead of an apology, Marsha and her close friend and recently promoted from contractor to GS employee, Melissa Wiest, sent another wounded warrior to harass this particular family.
I’ve seen the text messages sent to one of the family members. When an organization allows this type of unprofessional behavior to run rampant, it spreads like wildfire and sends mixed messages to the rest of the staff, wounded warriors and their caregivers.
Bullies like Moses are allowed to have affairs with his co-workers, can harass other co-workers who report the affairs or have issues about his behavior.
A former contractor quit his job at AFW2 because of how poorly Marsha handled his complaints about Moses. Tony Jasso is another bully and an incompetent employee. Yet, Marsha made a dramatic presentation in July 2019 about “working really hard” to get Tony promoted to GS-13.
I encourage you to ask other individuals about how he applied for this GS-13 position. Marsha created the position upgrade specially for Tony. The only thing this does is allow a bully with no integrity to continue rising through the GS ranks. Don’t believe me? Ask the people who unfortunately work for him. They have plenty to say about him.
Weeks after the Military Corruption article came out, Marsha was photographed on vacation in Key West with her subordinates (Monica Figueroa and Melissa Wiest) and an AFW2 contractor (Connie Moore, who also happens to be one of the adaptive sports head coaches). Marsha clearly thinks she’s invincible. And, why shouldn’t she think so?
She is protected and empowered to continue doing whatever she wants to whomever she wants.
How can you expect her to hold anyone else accountable for their actions when she, herself, displays one ethical violation after another.
She is manipulative and she is a bully. I am not the only one who will use these words to describe her.
How do you think it’s perceived by the rest of the staff when they see photos and hear stories about Marsha, a branch chief, GS-14 and the most powerful person at AFW2, vacationing with her inner circle of employees? It’s disturbing and above all, it’s not ethical!
The military’s system to report these concerns and violations is not listening. Many more people have come forward to describe a chaotic, high-stress workplace where employees are demoralized and threats looms. There will be more negative news to come.
There are countless people who spoke with a reporter from Task and Purpose about their experiences and concerns related to AFW2. These are current AFW2 employees, former employees and wounded warriors. These are not “disgruntled” employees, as Marsha likes to say, or “bitter” wounded warriors.
They are people with valid concerns. And now … there are too many people with the same issues about the same people for you to believe this is an isolated case.
When the system doesn’t listen and allows problems such as those within AFW2 to fester, people take matters into their own hands. Too many people have become victims of Marsha’s toxic behavior. Even her current “inner circle” has turned against her and many have spoken to the reporter.
You should also know Randy Tillery is just as toxic and equally to blame. He has been aware of the issues and concerns for years. It’s embarrassing he is a retired colonel and is now an overpaid GS-15. He uses the AFW2 program for his own gain, just as Col Flatten, Marsha and multiple others have.
Take a look at what your people have done to wounded warriors and then go and ask your people how many of them have talked to them about any of this. None. Col. Flatten had one Airman to take care of, a wounded warrior at that – and he failed big time.
Please stop allowing wounded warriors who have already endured enough in their lives and careers to be treated like garbage. Please stop allowing RCCs who do their best to take care of these wounded warriors during their darkest times to be treated like garbage. They all deserve better.
Your AFPC/IG team is equally at fault. People keep reporting their issues and yet, the issues are dismissed. General, how many of the same type of issues, about the same people do you need to receive over the years before you wake up and realize you have a legit problem on your hands?
Your IG team also refuses to interview people! Names are submitted to them, yet these people have come back to me and also the Task and Purpose reporter to say they were never contacted. Why is this happening? If your IG team refuses to collect the whole story, these people have no other option but to bring their complaint to the media.
Many of these people are also afraid of Marsha and Tony and the negative effects speaking up will have on their lives and careers. You should know this General Craige – people are afraid to speak up and instead either quit or cower in the corner because they are either afraid OR they have reported these issues in the past and nothing was done about them.
I am no longer employed with AFW2, however over the past few months I have had at least four wounded warriors and their caregivers or spouses reach out to me for assistance. I will always help wounded warriors, however, they have all told me that when they reach out to AFW2 no one returns their calls.
I am attaching a video of one wounded warrior who was recently in dire need of help. She tried calling AFW2’s TRAC section (Bob Kopucio) and the Resiliency section at AFW2.
Your AFW2 program needs a top down scrub and an independent investigation. The program is not about fancy sporting events, TDYs for staff members to have affairs, party and drink, and how many medals a select group of people can win for Marsha. If this program is going to continue to exist, then it needs to take better care of wounded warriors, stop being such a joke and a hostile, toxic place to work.
Integrity begins at the top. I am not ok with the unethical issues plaguing one of the Air Force’s most important programs. I am sharing this information with you and I sincerely hope you take action. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy reading more negative news about the program and the people you allow to run it. One complaint like this is too many.
(NAME WITHHELD), writing on behalf of 30+ current and former AFW2 employees and wounded warriors.
Major General “Do Nothing” Craige Responded…
Thank you for your note – acknowledge your concerns – will convey to our AFW2 Team and other appropriate AF agencies. AFW2 remains an important program for our Airmen and Families and we take all feedback and concerns seriously.
CHRISTOPHER E. CRAIGE, Maj Gen, USAF
Commander, Air Force Personnel Center
MESSAGE TO MAJOR GENERAL CRAIGE: Major General Craige, you have disgraced your uniform. You should not be entrusted with the responsibilities the Air Force has bestowed upon you.
If you become aware of fraud, waste and abuse, or blatant crimes and ethical violations, you must and should act accordingly. You have failed to do so. Shame be upon you and the Air Force brass who felt you were the best man for the job.
Your failure to clean up the Air Force’s Wounded Warrior Program is evidence you certainly were not the best man for the job. We believe you should be brought up on charges of dereliction of duty, but knowing the military’s policy of allowing flag-ranking officers to retire to avoid any accountability… you need to submit your retirement papers and go home.
NOTE: If you discovered your name or picture in this article and feel you have been maligned in any way, meaning that what has been said about you is wrong or inaccurate or you had nothing to do with any of these allegations, we want to hear from you.
We want you to help us set the record straight. Submit to us a sworn statement rebutting any information you feel is untrue or inaccurate, and we will publish your sworn statement without changes. If you have a potty mouth however, we reserve the right to redact as necessary.
Again, if we have it wrong, we want to hear from the opposing sides. We also want you to stand behind what you say through a sworn statement. Your statement will be published and potentially forwarded to any entity who has the competent jurisdiction to properly investigate how the Wounded Warrior Program is being run in the United States Air Force.