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Frequently Asked Questions

Today's cadets are tomorrow's aerospace leaders. Through its Cadet Program, Civil Air Patrol transforms youth aged 12 to 20 into responsible citizens.

CAP is the volunteer, non-profit auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Its three missions are to develop its cadets, educate Americans on the importance of aviation and space, and perform live-saving humanitarian missions.

Please view these online brochures by clicking on the brochure pictures to read the following helpful Parents' Guides to the CAP Cadet Program (and in Spanish) as well as the Today's Cadets Strategic Overview of the Cadet Program:

Volunteer Opportunities

Parents are welcome to participate in CAP. No prior military service or special skills are required. Whether you want to help chaperone cadets once in a while or become a full-fledged senior member active in CAP missions, we would love to have you get involved in CAP.

Parents Committee

- Help arrange carpools, plan social events, raise funds, and connect the squadron to your hometown by serving on an informal parents' committee

Cadet Sponsor Member

- Occasionally support cadets as a chaperone or driver

Senior Member

- take a leadership role in the Cadet Program, and/or participate in CAP's aerospace education and emergency services missions

To volunteer for any of these positions, contact the squadron commander.

Addressing Concerns

Any time you have a question or concern about CAP, please feel free to contact your son's or daughter's squadron commander. If local leaders are unable to resolve the issue to your satisfaction, the wing headquarters, which oversees all the squadrons in your state, will be glad to help. Texas Wing Headquarters location and contact information is available here.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How do I join CAP?

A: Start by visiting a local squadron.

Q: How much does it cost to join CAP?

A: Annual membership dues vary by state

Q: What are the age requirements for joining CAP?

A: Youth aged 12-18 may join CAP as cadets and remain cadets until age 21. In certain school program squadrons, sixth graders may join, even if they are under age 12. Adults of any age are welcome to join CAP.

Q: Are cadets obligated to join the military?

A: No, but many cadets choose military careers. Cadets who earn the Billy Mitchell Award may enter the Air Force at an advanced grade (E-3) if they choose to enlist. The service academies and ROTC also look favorably on CAP experience. Approximately 10% of the USAF Academy cadet corps got their start in CAP.

Q: What level of commitment is expected from cadets?

A: CAP expects cadets to participate actively, but of course CAP recognizes that cadets have school, family, and other obligations that take priority. Most squadrons meet weekly for about 2 1/2 hours and offer special activities on the weekends and during the summer. If your son or daughter is unable to attend a CAP activity, please have them let their commander know in advance. Like any extra-curricular activity, cadets will get out of CAP only what they put into it.

Adult Supervision

Q: Who leads and supervises the cadets?

A: CAP takes its responsibility to safeguard youth very seriously. The adult volunteers who interact with cadets (known as CAP senior members) have been fingerprinted and screened by the FBI. Also, as part of their leadership training, advanced cadets lead and mentor new cadets under the guidance of senior members. For more information, see our cadet protection policy.


Q: Do cadets need to maintain a certain grade point average to participate in CAP?

A: Of course, school comes first. CAP expects cadets to maintain "satisfactory performance" at school, as defined by the cadet's parents. Because CAP emphasizes self-discipline, it is not uncommon for parents to see their son's or daughter's grades increase as a result of their participation in the Cadet Program.


Q: Why do cadets wear uniforms?

A: CAP uses uniforms to promote teamwork and develop self-discipline. The uniform motivates cadets to set high standards for themselves and to live their core values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect. Additionally, cadets practice military customs and courtesies as part of their leadership training.

Q: What uniforms do cadets wear?

A: The basic cadet uniform is the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) uniform.

Q: How do cadets obtain uniforms?

A: ABUs and other uniform items may be available through your squadrons logistics department and or may be purchased through the clothing sales store on military installations.

Q: How do cadets obtain uniform insignia?

A: Vanguard is CAP's official supplier of uniform insignia.

Q: Where do the patches, insignia, etc. go on the uniform?

A: See the official uniform manual for more info. EZ Rack Builder is a good on-line reference for ribbon placement.


Q: What is involved with cadet orientation flights?

A: Through orientation flights in powered aircraft and gliders, cadets experience flight first-hand. CAP's pilots are licensed by the FAA, follow a syllabus for each flight, and ensure the flight is conducted safely. Orientation flights are free to cadets. See the squadron commander for information about when the next opportunity to fly is scheduled.

Cadet Promotions

Q: How do cadets advance and earn promotions?

A: Cadets advance at their own pace through self-study and group study (see chart). To progress, cadets must (1) participate actively; (2) pass a written leadership test; (3) pass a written aerospace test; (4) pass a physical fitness test; (5) participate in character development forums; and most of all (6) demonstrate they have the maturity to accept increased responsibility. (In some stages of the Cadet Program, these requirements differ slightly.) To learn more please visit CAP's Stripes to Diamonds page.


Q: Does CAP have activities outside the squadron meetings?

A: Yes. Visit CAP's Activities page for information about Encampment, Leadership Schools, National Special Activities, and more.

Q: Can a Cadet attend other wing encampments?

A: Yes. CAP has a calendar for encampments and activities around the United States. Select your event and view the calendar.


Q: Does CAP offer any scholarships?

A: Yes. See CAP's scholarships page for details.

Additional Questions & Concerns

Q: I have more questions about CAP. Where can I find answers?

A: You can contact the squadron leadership using this website's contact form

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