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Cadet FAQ

  • Where do we meet?

    Locations in Iowa

  • How old do I have to be to join?

    Youth members must be at least 12 years old and not yet 19 years old.

  • Do I have to be a US Citizen to join?

    United States citizenship is a requirement for membership. However, if you are admitted to the United States as a permanent resident and have a permanent resident card (I-551), you are eligible to join. If you are in the US but not a citizen or permanent resident, you may still be able to join, but will need to request a waiver of the citizenship requirement from your Civil Air Patrol squadron. The citizenship waiver requires documentation (ex:US Visa) that shows the reason you are in the country and how long you are permitted to stay in the US. If approved, the waiver will only be for the period of residence within the United States.

  • Can I join if I have special needs?

    Civil Air Patrol does not deny membership based on a medical condition or disabilities. CAP is committed to doing everything we reasonably can to help cadets succeed, but please keep in mind that participation in certain activities may be limited for safety depending on the cadet's condition, illness or disability.

  • Do cadets need to do well in school to participate in CAP?

    School should always come first for the cadets. CAP expects cadets to maintain 'satisfactory performance' at school, as defined by the cadet's parents. Because CAP emphasizes self-discipline, it's not uncommon for parents to see their child's grades increase as a result of their participation in the Cadet Program.

  • Do cadets have to join the military?

    No, being a CAP Cadet does not obligate you to any military service but many cadets choose to do so. Cadets who earn the Billy Mitchell Award may enter the Air Force at an advanced grade (E-3). The service academies and ROTC also look favorably on CAP experience. Approximately 10% of the USAF Academy cadet corps got their start in CAP.

  • How often do cadets meet?

    To get the most out of the cadet program you should participate regularly. Like any other activity, you’ll get out of CAP only what you put into it. Most squadrons meet weekly for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, and offer special activities on the weekends and during the summer.

  • Who leads and supervises the cadets?

    CAP takes its responsibility to safeguard youth very seriously. CAP conducts an FBI criminal background check for all new adult volunteers who interact with cadets. The same adults are automatically rescreened every five years. Additionally, the local unit conducts an in-person interview and there is regular Cadet Protection training for adults and age-appropriate training for cadets.

  • Do cadets wear uniforms?

    Cadets need one uniform to get started. Eventually, the cadet will want to have both the camouflage utility uniform (ABUs) and the Air Force-style service uniform, 'blues.' Respect on Display. When we render military-style customs and courtesies, the Core Value of Respect is on display. Air Force traditions like the salute, and everyday American customs – even friendly greetings like, 'Good afternoon, sir/maam' – symbolize our commitment to a sense of teamwork that is built on a foundation of mutual respect

  • Does CAP teach cadets to fly?

    CAP doesn't provide primary flight training, but cadets have the opportunity to fly in a CAP plane in an Orientation Flight. As you progress in the cadet program, you may have additional opportunities to attend summer flight encampments and compete for scholarships and other programs.

  • Does CAP offer any scholarships?

    There are academic and flight scholarships available. Cadet Wings provides funded training to selected Civil Air Patrol cadets to earn their Private Pilot Certificate (PPC) in the Airplane (Single Engine Land-ASEL or otherwise known as powered), Glider, or Lighter-than-air (Balloon) categories and classes. The United States Air Force and other funding partners such as the James C. Ray Foundation have allocated Civil Air Patrol (CAP) funds for CAP cadet flight training with the goal of fulfilling its mission of developing tomorrow’s aerospace leaders. As part of the Youth Aviation Initiative (YAI), Cadet Wings is a merit-based program, providing formal flight training for CAP cadets pursuing a PPC. The PPC is recognized by industry as the first milestone for those who have a serious desire to pursue a flying career. Cadet Wings also includes needs-based elements to remove financial barriers for economically disadvantaged cadets.

    For more info see the Cadet Wings Student Guide.

  • How do cadets advance in CAP?

    Cadets are promoted in CAP through self-study and group study. The Cadet Program is a system of sixteen achievements organized in four phases (see 1.10). Milestone awards mark the completion of each phase. The Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award marks the pinnacle of the Cadet Program. The Cadet Super Chart, illustrates the requirements for each achievement and award, which typically involves successfully completing one task in each program element – leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character – as an assessment of the cadet’s learning.

  • Can parents be in CAP?

    Absolutely! If you are interested in taking a leadership role in the Cadet Program or want to participate in CAP's aerospace education and emergency services missions, you should join as a Senior Member.

    Cadet Sponsor Member -- Just like any other youth organization, CAP relies on the family to support the program. Cadet parents, grandparents or legal guardians are eligible to join as Cadet Sponsors.

    You will need to complete a membership application, FBI FD 258 fingerprint card and pay $30 for your first year of dues. As a Cadet Sponsor, you'll be able to help chaperone the cadets, ride or drive in the CAP vehicles, and otherwise help the other adult volunteer members. This category of membership does not wear a military-style uniform, but there are requirements for basic education and training before you can fully interact with the other cadets.

    Senior Member -- If you are more interested in taking a leadership role in the Cadet Program or want to participate in CAP's aerospace education and emergency services missions, you should join as a Senior Member. The best way to learn about what you can do as a Senior Member is to talk to your child's squadron leadership about joining. You will need to submit and complete a membership application, fingerprint card and complete an orientation course. Annual membership dues vary by state.

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