Civil Air Patrol

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Civil Air Patrol - CAP

This post was written by my fifteen-year-old son, Devin, who is a proud member of the Civil Air Patrol. 

About Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a non-profit organization funded by the United States Air Force. CAP’s core values–integrity, respect, excellence, and volunteer service–are used to promote leadership and responsibility.

CAP has two major components, cadets and senior members. To join CAP as a cadet member you must be between 12 and 18 years of age.

There are three different types of squadrons. A cadet squadron is made up of primarily cadets. A senior squadron is made up of primarily senior members. A composite squadron is made up of both seniors and cadets.

Civil Air Patrol - CAP

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program

The cadet program is much like the Air Force ROTC program. Cadet uniforms are the same as USAF uniforms. There is a BDU uniform and a dress blue uniform. CAP ranks are also the same as Air Force ranks.

Cadets study and practice military drill, customs and courtesies, and chain of command. Weekly meetings are based on aerospace, leadership, character development, and physical training (PT). To promote, a cadet must pass certain tests such as drill, aerospace, and PT. Ribbons are awarded for promotions and other special achievements.

Cadets can attend a variety of week-long encampments after their basic training encampment, including glider academy, parachuting encampment, Hawk Mountain Ranger School, and many more. Cadets are trained in Search and Rescue and wilderness survival. Orientation flights in CAP aircraft are available to cadets.

Civil Air Patrol - CAP

Civil Air Patrol Senior Member Program

The senior member program is quite a bit different. Senior members are FBI-screened and fingerprinted for security. Senior members may wear the Air Force uniform only if they meet the USAF height and weight requirements. If not, they are given an alternate uniform.

Senior member ranks differ quite a bit from cadet ranks. Senior member opportunities include pilot, squadrom commander, mission observer, and many different in-squadron responsibilities.

Learn More about CAP

CAP is an awesome and rewarding program that I would recommend to anyone who is military or aviation oriented. More information about joining Civil Air Patrol can be found on the CAP website. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.


  1. Cadet Spalding says:

    By now you are probably a Sargent or high ranking but I would like to point out that in the photo you appear to be wearing your cover to high.

  2. Cadet Chuck says:

    Good article. It is important to point out that we take pride in our uniform (and it appears you do as well), but we have to wear it properly. The long sleeved shirt is worn with a tie, and our hair is tucked under our flight cap.

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