DO CADETS HAVE TO JOIN THE MILITARY?
No, you do not have to join the military, but many choose to do so. 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. But no matter what career you choose, the skills you learn in CAP will be an asset.
ARE CAP MEMBERS PART OF THE MILITARY?
CAP membership does not equate to membership in the military. CAP is a private, non-profit humanitarian organization, which is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, signed in to law by President Harry Truman in 1948.
WILL CAP TEACH ME TO FLY?
CAP does not normally provide primary flight training for members. That said, we do have a lot of members who are also Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs) and often willing to provide training to members at reduced rates. Depending on your locality, CAP members may also have access to military aero clubs and their flight instructors which can be significantly cheaper than going through a normal commercial operation. We have scholarships that help CAP Cadets obtain a pilot's license. Once you have your license, you can fly with CAP CFIs in CAP aircraft to increase your ratings which can also be significantly cheaper than a commercially-available training.
WHO LEADS AND SUPERVISES THE CADETS?
CAP takes its responsibility to safeguard youth very seriously. The adult volunteers who interact with cadets (known as CAP senior members or cadet sponsors) have been fingerprinted and screened by the FBI. All adult members also take a Cadet Protection course as part of their initial training.
HOW DO CADETS EARN RANK IN CAP?
Cadets advance at their own pace through self-study and group study. 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.)
HOW DO SENIOR MEMBERS EARN PROMOTIONS?
All promotions are at the discretion of your squadron commander, and the standard method to earn rank is determined by your time in CAP, time in your current rank, and the training you complete for your CAP position. There are other circumstances that warrant a promotion – for specifics, talk to your squadron commander. In order to receive any promotion, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
I'M NOT A PILOT. CAN I STILL JOIN?
Yes! There are many volunteer jobs in CAP. Whatever your talent or area of interest, there is a unit that needs you. To find out what you can do in CAP, contact a local CAP squadron.
CAN PARENTS BE IN CAP?
Absolutely! Some opportunities to share in the CAP experience are:
- Cadet Sponsor Member -- Just like any other youth organization, CAP relies on a cadet's family to support the program. Cadet parents, grandparents or legal guardians are eligible to join as a Cadet Sponsor. This membership requires the same FBI background screening process and cadet protection training as the active adult membership. First year national organization dues are just $30 and renewals are only $20. As a parent sponsor, you'll be able to help chaperone the kids, ride or drive in the CAP vehicles, and otherwise help the other adult volunteer members. You will not be required to wear the Air Force-style uniform.
- 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. Talk with your child’s squadron commander about joining as a senior member. You will need to submit and complete a membership application, fingerprint card and complete an orientation course. Annual membership dues vary by state.