A retired Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) with 30 years of exemplary military service had enough of the chronic misconduct occurring in the Air Force’s Wounded Warrior Program. She bravely came forward to expose the pathetic way our wounded warriors are being treated by the United States Air Force.
The Air Force Wounded Warrior program has been accurately characterized as one big shit-show. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program has become a sort of Sodom & Gomorrah. It needs either, new leadership from top-to-bottom, or it needs to be completely destroyed and rebuilt.
One thing is for sure, the United States Air Force has let everyone down by failing to levy lethal, career-ending action to those who have been terribly derelict in their duty to protect our wounded service men and women. Without the use of hands and/or legs, those who have sacrificed so much for America end up feeling vulnerable, as if they have been imprisoned for life.
Many of our wounded warriors cannot feed themselves, walk, or do any of those simple tasks that most Americans take for granted each and every day. Devastating war injuries resulted in a diminished capacity to fend off attacks from those who would hurt them physically or mentally. Several of our vets feel terribly vulnerable.
Some have fallen prey to unscrupulous people who manipulate them physically and mentally. These same people, who should be protecting and caring for our wounded warriors, then give themselves awards for their “excellent” work. Their behavior is shitty, but they feel their work is excellent; go figure.
The United States Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, has clearly gone to hell in a hand-basket. The Air Force response to correcting these chronic problems has been, at best, weak and lethargic. A wounded service man or woman, simply does not rank very high in today’s Air Force priority list.
Some of the so-called leaders of the Wounded Warrior program, may possess rudimentary morals and ethics, but simply do not have the backbone to demand it of others. That is the crux of the problem, a severe lack of effective leadership.
Just as it is true in several areas of America, few people are being held accountable. It is beyond outrageous to abuse and waste tax dollars, and it’s unconscionable to threaten, coerce, intimidate, frighten and torment the weakest among us, which includes our Wounded Warriors.
Let us put it in words that even the Pentagon can understand,
“You Air Force pukes should be ashamed for the way you allow our wounded warriors to be used and abused. President Trump needs to fire twenty (20) Air Force officers (O-6 and above) every day, until the the fucking Air Force gets off its ass, and begins to hold people accountable for their piss-poor leadership and violations of law.”
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT DESCRIBES
THE AIR FORCE “SODOM & GOMORRAH”
IN HER OWN WORDS
We have said it before. The “Inspector General” system is totally inept, sometimes utterly corrupt. Normally, military inspector generals are tasked with finding facts, not to enforce the law, but determine what the military can do to “put the fire out.” Mitigate, marginalize, downplay or cover-up anything that can embarrass the United States military.
Since most investigators want specifics, a courageous retired Chief Master Sergeant provides specifics about the skulduggery that continues to occur in the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. Take the time to read her own words below…
I am writing to you because I am deeply concerned about the Air Force’s Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program. I am a former AFW2 employee and a retired Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) with 30 years of Air Force service.
Now, I find myself as a whistle-blower, shedding light on AFW2’s years of unethical, immoral and (I believe) illegal behavior.
There are allegations the Branch Chief for Warrior Care Support, GS-14 Marsha Gonzales, had sex with a wounded warrior in a restaurant parking lot. There are many other allegations of her having inappropriate sexual relations with other wounded warriors as well.
Just last month, the Air Force fired a female contractor entrusted to assist vulnerable wounded warriors with their recovery. Why was she fired? She engaged in sexually harassing relationships with multiple male wounded warriors.
After her first incident, she was not fired as she should have been. The Director of the Program was devoid of any leadership ability. Wait for it… in typical military fashion, Gonzales was promoted instead.
Gonzales allegedly enjoyed preying on people who were physically and emotionally vulnerable. If true, she crossed many ethical lines and should have been immediately dismissed. But, no one had the guts.
One of the victims (and his wife) filed a complaint with the Air Force. The resulting investigation substantiated the complaint, yet nothing was done to introduce corrective action to ensure it did not happen to another Wounded Warrior. The Air Force didn’t give a shit.
I have come forward to share a behind-the-scenes look into the Air Force’s pathetically managed Wounded Warrior program and expose its toxic culture that is tormenting many of our injured war fighters.
Our Nation’s wounded warriors and their families deserve the best care and support. Our taxpayers also deserve to know their investment into our wounded warrior programs are properly managed and justly spent.
The AFW2 program is Congressionally mandated and federally funded. It’s mission is to care for the Air Force’s ill, injured and wounded Airmen. It not a mission to manipulate, coerce, harass or betray our wounded warriors.
IS NOT PUNISHMENT ENOUGH
Last month the Air Force fired Angela Staab, a female contractor employed by the Armed Forces Services Corporation (AFSC)/Magellan Federal, and the Air Force’s Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program office.
She was headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Angela “I love the dick” Staab was ultimately fired, because of multiple substantiated complaints brought against her for sexually inappropriate interactions with male Wounded Warriors.
AFSC/Magellan Federal and the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC), the parent organization for the AFW2 program, were well aware of Staab’s inappropriate sexual relationship(s) since early August 2019.
Angela Staab, a former Wounded Warrior Project employee, initially served as AFW2’s adaptive sports program specialist, a position she held from September 2018, until January 2020.
A wounded warrior filed a complaint against Angela Staab, and provided clear and convincing evidence of the harassment directly to AFW2’s Director, Col. Mike “I don’t give a shit” Flatten, and the AFW2 Branch Chief of Warrior Care Support, Marsha Gonzales. The same complaint was also filed to Roy Flores who was the in-office AFSC/Magellan Federal program manager.
Instead of firing Angela “I love the dick” Staab; Colonel Flatten, Gonzales and Flores allowed Staab to continue working at AFW2, directly with Wounded Warriors. They apparently were not interested in protecting our Wounded Warriors from a sexual predator, or a serial harasser, at the least.
IT GETS WORSE…
In November 2019, during an official AFW2 event, Staab, who was a team lead for a group of Wounded Warriors participating in adaptive sports at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, met the second male Wounded Warrior.
In February 2020, AFW2 promoted Angela Staab to a new position as non-medical case manager, this is when she began to sexually harass a second wounded warrior.
The wounded warrior’s wife and caregiver, filed formal complaints through AFPC/IG, providing evidence in the form of text messages, emails, photographs and a multitude of pages where cell phone calls had been logged.
Aside from her sexual antics, Angela Staab violated ethics rules by letting Seth Pena buy her things. Receiving gifts was strictly forbidden. This was preached to us on our initial training over and over again.
They said Staab could not be fired, because it wasn’t expressly written where AFW2 employees were forbidden to
date fuck Wounded Warriors (WWs). It was all bullshit of course.
They attacked me, merely for asking the question. It’s the old tactic; if you don’t like the message, then kill the messenger. In this case, kill the messenger’s career.
They selectively protect who they want, but if Col. Flatten is embarrassed, or made to look bad, he will weave a little web around you to ultimately have his revenge. It’s the mark of an extremely insecure man.
If the program manger had any leadership-spine at all, this wouldn’t be happening, and WWs would be treated commensurate with the sacrifice they made to protect America, or American interests throughout the world.
People suspect the only reason Angela Staab was allowed to remain employed after her dubious behavior, was because she was allegedly sucking someone else’s dick. While this is certainly possible, we do not have the proverbial “blue dress” as proof.
A full, complete and credible investigation of Staab’s sexual antics is something the United States Air Force will avoid at all costs. Finding the truth, could embarrass the Air Force terribly, and that simply must be avoided. You know how they are.
And the worst of it, is the fact that Angela Staab was not the only female AFSC/Magellan Federal contractor suspected over the past year of inappropriate sexual relationships. She wasn’t the only person to confuse care giving with personal pleasure.
COMPLAINTS WERE IGNORED
Multiple complaints were reported to Marsha Gonzales and Roy Flores about Kortinae Lozano, an AFSC/Magellan Federal contractor, about her unprofessional relationship with a married, male GS employee named Moses Espinosa.
Lozano has often been chosen over her male contractor colleagues for official trips and opportunities because of her relationship with Espinosa, and Espinosa’s friendships with Colonel Flatten and Marsha Gonzales.
Even reporting concerns about Lozano to Staab fell on deaf ears, as Staab, the lead adaptive sports contractor, failed to do anything about it and instead, enabled the situation by socializing with Lozano and Espinosa.
More than fourteen (14) employees (GS, contractors, and military) provided sworn statements in association with a “Director Directed Investigation” (DDI) to an AFPC investigating officer in October 2019 regarding Espinosa and Lozano.
Despite the investigation and overwhelming evidence, which revealed sexually laced text messages and photographs, both Espinosa and Lozano remained employed by AFW2 and AFSC/Magellan Federal. No one seemed to care that basic ethical norms had been thrown out the window. The Air Force didn’t care. As it turns out, Wounded Warriors are a very low priority for the United States Air Force.
LET’S GO TO HAWAII
AND LET THE TAXPAYERS FOOT THE BILL
Even after the taxpayer-funded investigation, Col. Flatten, Gonzales and Flores continued authorizing Espinosa and Lozano opportunities to travel and “work” together during official AFW2 events, including a multiple-week event to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in January 2020.
This sent a clear message to the staff, especially those who bravely came forward to report their concerns about their clearly inappropriate relationship. Col. Flatten, as AFW2’s Director, was derelict in his duty by failing to enforce regulations. His failure to act sent the wrong signal. It was clear that if you were friends with Marsha Gonzales, you were in a protected class of individuals.
A number of employees quit working at AFW2 after their complaints were ignored. There is a high churn rate, especially on the contract side of the program.
Randy Tillery, a GS-15 and retired colonel, is the director of AFPC’s Airman and Family Care, at Randolph AFB. He oversees the AFW2 program. He is very much aware of the complaints and the multitude of problems festering in the AFW2 office.
The AFPC Inspector General routes complaints about AFW2 through Randy Tillery. That would be OK if Tillery had a strong sense of personal integrity. Tillery failed to hold Flatten accountable during his three-year assignment as the AFW2 Director.
During his assignment, Col. Flatten regularly brought his wife and young children to official AFW2 events, including the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia, and the annual DoD Warrior Games.
Staff members were inappropriately tasked with babysitting the children of Col. Flatten. During official trips, Flatten also had staff members use their rental cars to bring him to stores so he could pick up groceries for his family, because his wife often was using his rental car. Again, more examples of inappropriate behavior by Col. Michael Flatten.
PLAYING BEHIND THE TARGETS
AT THE ARCHERY RANGE
In August 2019, during an AFW2 event hosted at Scott Air Force Base, a video captured footage of the colonel’s young son running onto a live archery range – while his wife stood by holding their new baby. At the time of the incident, wounded warriors and the archery coaches had their bows drawn to shoot targets.
The AFPC/IG reported that a DDI substantiated a complaint against Flatten bringing his family on official trips. Again, the Air Force was more than happy with Flatten’s behavior.
AFW2 staff members (government and contract employees), as well as the program’s wounded warriors and their family members have reported concerns about Flatten, Gonzales, Flores and other GS employees, such as Tony Jasso, a GS-13 and Gonzales right-hand-man, and Espinosa, who has a reputation for bullying staff members who have reported his long-time affair with Lozano.
Staff members have come forward saying they have documented their concerns year-after-year via command climate surveys and IG complaints. Col. Flatten also failed to do anything about complaints made by multiple staff members directly to him about Espinosa, or Jasso’s maltreatment of employees. He is the definition of a piss poor leader, but the Air Force was okay with it.
Col. Flatten favors Espinoza, because they’re buddies. He works out with him and pays him to hand-make paddles that are presented as farewell gifts to “special” staff members. Col. Michael Flatten and Moses Gonzales have both been aware of Espinosa and Lozano’s affair and the detrimental effects it’s had on the staff.
Neither Flatten or his buddy Espinoza intervened. They just looked the other way. Instead demonstrating some appropriate leadership, they continued to bring Espinosa and Lozano on official trips together, including overseas, where they often slept in each other’s hotel rooms and openly dated in front of the staff. All inappropriate, morale destroying behavior, because of the implicit favoritism that such relationships engenders.
TRAVEL THE WORLD AND HAVE FUN
In July 2019, following an AFW2 event at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Espinosa, and Lozano remained after the rest of the staff departed for Texas.
This was discovered when Espinosa was hit by a car at the Frankfurt Airport – helping Col. Flatten and his family offload luggage. Get it… Espinosa got flattened helping Flatten. Could be some poetic justice in there somewhere.
During an August 2019 all-hands call, Col. Flatten and Gonzales praised Moses Espinosa, and no one else, for his superb performance in Germany. We thinking he was praised for his performance risking his life moving Col. Flatten’s luggage.
Maj Gen Andrew Toth, AFPC’s commander, is very much aware of AFW2’s problematic culture. However, Maj. Gen. Toth is due to retire in August and Col. Flatten is en route to his next assignment overseas in Germany.
PROTECTED BY SENIOR DOD OFFICIALS
Many feel Gonzales is untouchable and is protected by senior DoD officials, as well as Tillery. She always receives an upgraded hotel suite during official travel (as does Flatten and Tillery) and is described by many as a bully and keeps a tight circle of hand-picked friends closest to her at work. She is known to directly hire her favorite contractors into GS positions and also promotes those closest to her, into higher pay grades.
Wounded warriors and staff members also report Gonzales, who is a GS-14 and retired E-7, making jokes about the excessive amount of TDY pay she brings home each year from her extensive travel, and the amount of leave she loses each year because she cannot use it all before it expires.
Known for her luxury purse obsession, she comments openly about her collection of Louis Vuitton bags and those she purchased based on her outfits associated with events such as the Invictus Games and the DoD Warrior Games.
Wounded warriors and staff have reported how distasteful it is for someone who claims to care about wounded warriors, many struggling with financial problems due to their military careers being cut short, to brag about how much money she makes at taxpayer expense.
Gonzales is also chosen, year after year, as the DoD’s Invictus Games lead. The Invictus Games were created by Prince Harry to mirror the DoD’s Warrior Games (an adaptive sports competition for wounded warriors).
As the lead, Gonzales handpicks her favorites, such as Jasso and Espinosa, to serve in key positions, fostering jealousy among those not in her inner circle. She also hand picks the wounded warriors she wants to fill the DoD’s Team USA (composed of representatives from each service). She has been know to state she only wants those wounded warriors with visible injuries to attend.
EVEN THE WOUNDED WARRIORS
Even wounded warriors have complained about Gonzales’s lack of transparency and extreme favoritism, especially associated with the selection of teams for the Warrior Games and Invictus Games.
Wounded warriors who are not Gonzales’s favorites are not selected for the team or AFW2 events. She is the primary POC for selecting who attends events and who does not.
Gonzales often pressures those selected for the Air Force’s Warrior Games team to earn medals or win Ultimate Champion. It’s unclear what type of kick-back Gonzales or the Air Force receives as a result of the medals the wounded warriors earn during competition.
She has managed to turn something that was created to help wounded warriors heal and recover, into a competitive version of the Olympics.
Fed up with the lack of support, multiple reports have been filed over the past few months directly to General David Goldfein, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General’s office at the Pentagon.
The SAF/IG is currently investigating multiple complaints about AFW2 organizational and financial abuses. Concerns include why Staab wasn’t fired after her first violation; excessive employee travel; funding official trips for staff members to bring family members;
MOST MILITARY SCANDALS HAVE
A MASSIVE FRAUD ASPECT
GS employees clocking excessive overtime hours; excessive costs associated with trips to places like Europe and Hawaii, in which expensive hotel contracts in high-cost tourist locations are used; excessive use of rental vehicles; staff partying, extramarital affairs and alcohol consumption issues; inflated overhead costs; staff members who have quit after repeatedly reporting issues; staff members who were fired unjustly; concerns about Flatten and Gonzales fostering an environment of fear and mistrust, creating low office morale and excessive staff churn; and GS employees fraternizing with contract employees (to include taking personal vacations together).
The contract with Magellan Federal is due to expire in September. The contract is currently up for bid.
According to Air Force Instruction 36-703, Civilian Conduct and Responsibility:
18.104.22.168. Unprofessional relationships are those, whether pursued on or off-duty, which detract from the authority of supervisors and managers or result in, or reasonably create the appearance of, favoritism, misuse of office or position, or the abandonment of organizational goals, and adversely affect the efficiency of the service. Unprofessional relationships can exist between civilian employees, military officers, enlisted members and contractors.
According to https://www.magellanhealth.com/documents/2019/03/code-of-conduct.pdf:
● Avoid situations that may result in conflicts of interest with Magellan and its business, ie, situations where personal interests conflict or could be perceived as conflicting with Magellan’s business interests
● Employees must avoid actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest with Magellan in their professional and personal relationships.
The Air Force responded with the typical “We’ll look into it” LETTER.
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