ithin each Wing are the individual units that are the lifeblood of CAP. There are three types of CAP units: Cadet, Composite, and Senior squadrons. Each type of squadron serves a special purpose in furthering the CAP mission.
Cadet squadrons are comprised mainly of cadets and of seniors who are motivated by working with cadets. The squadron typically focuses on cadet training and cadet advancement. The senior members tend to advance their training on their own and by their own design.
Senior squadrons are the opposite of cadet squadrons in that they are comprised entirely of seniors. Cadets may not belong to a senior squadron. Senior squadrons tend to focus on furthering the expertise of their members and on advancement through the Senior Training Program.
A Composite squadron combines the two previous types of squadrons into one. In this type of unit, cadets and senior operate their training programs side by side. They also assist each other in accomplishing the missions of CAP. In a Composite unit the Deputy Commander for Cadets (CDC) tends to oversee the cadet training program, while the Deputy Commander for Seniors (CDS) oversees the senior program.
Beneath the squadron level is the CAP Flight. A unit that is in “flight status” can only remain that way for a short period of time before the unit must either meet “squadron status” or be deactivated. Frequently new CAP units start out as a flight beneath an established CAP unit. Occasionally squadrons lose so many members, and don’t recruit new ones, that they fall below the minimum number of members and are forced to become a flight. When this happens, the unit must recruit enough new members to regain their squadron status or the unit may be deactivated in accordance with CAP regulations.
Section Two Review Questions
There are three types of units in CAP:
C/MSgt Smith is in charge of setting up Color Guard Competition. He wants to use a building at the Base. Who should he talk to?
The Wing Adjutant General
Nobody, just show up and ask to use it on the day of the event.
The National Boards is made up of the ________ Wing Commanders, the ______ Region Commanders, and an elected National Commander, National Vice Commander, Chief of Staff, Legal Officer, Finance Officer, and Controller.
The Commander of CAP-USAF is also the ______________________________.
The Headquarters of CAP is located at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. This base is also home to Air University, which falls under the direction of what Major Command (MAJCOM)?
Why is it important to keep recruiting new members and to retain current ones if you want your unit to stay a squadron? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
There are 52 CAP Wings. Each state has a wing and where do the other two come from? _________________________________________________________________
The CAP Cadet Program accepts young men and women who meet certain eligibility requirements. As a cadet, you participate in a program based on a military model that has been derived from CAP’s status as the Air Force’s official auxiliary. Through dedication and achievement you can promote and gain more responsibility and duties as you progress through the Cadet Program.
To join, a young person must be:
12 years old OR 11 years old AND enrolled in sixth grade
Be under 18 years old (you may remain a cadet until 21 though)
A U.S. citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence
of good moral character
have a satisfactory academic record
be approved by the unit Membership Committee
New members apply on a CAPF 15 which must be signed by the applicant, his/her parents, and the Unit Commander (or designee).
Effective 01 June 99, a new directive was issued by National Headquarters that changes how the Cadet Program is managed. The new regulation is CAPR 52-16. This regulation instructs CAP commanders on how to carry out the cadet program. As a cadet you should become familiar with this regulation and its requirements. The revised program has 16 achievements divided up into four phases. Achievements 1-8 are named after historic aviators, while achievements 9-16 are named after different staff positions. Between the upper phases there are also “milestone” awards that recognize the effort and dedication it takes to get to those levels.
To earn a promotion each cadet must do the following for each promotion except the first:
Pass an Aerospace Education test (currently at 60%)
Pass a Leadership test (currently at 70%)
Attend at least 50% of the Moral Leadership sessions during the promotion period
The first phase of the Cadet Program focuses heavily on learning about being a CAP cadet. New cadets learn about followership, drill, uniform wear, and the beginnings of aviation. There are four grades associated with this phase:
New member = Cadet Airman Basic (C/AB)
Complete Achievement One = Cadet Airman (C/Amn)
Complete Achievement Two = Cadet Airman First Class (C/A1C)
Complete Achievement Three = Cadet Senior Airman (C/SrA)
At the completion of Achievement Three, the cadet receives a certificate signifying their completion of Phase One and their passage into the CAP Cadet NCO Corps.
Phase Two – The Leadership Phase
During this phase, cadets begin to exercise their leadership abilities by becoming Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO’s). As a NCO, the cadet must become a “participant-leader” and work with both his/her commanders and followers to accomplish the mission. It is the NCO that executes the plans and vision of the higher echelon officers. There are five grades associated with this phase:
Complete Achievement Four = Cadet Staff Sergeant (C/SSgt)
Complete Achievement Five = Cadet Technical Sergeant (C/TSgt)
Complete Achievement Six = Cadet Master Sergeant (C/MSgt)
To leave this phase a cadet must pass a 100 question Aerospace/Leadership examination. Passing this difficult test will earn you the prestigious General Billy Mitchell Award and subsequent promotion to Cadet Second Lieutenant.
Phase Three – The Command Phase
Having left the ranks of the Cadet NCO Corps you have now entered the realm of the CAP Cadet Officer Corps. Expectations are beginning to grow even higher as your professionalism and demeanor are constantly under review. Only a select percentage of dedicated cadets reach this level. As a Phase Three cadet you will begin to conduct long range planning for your unit and you will be responsible for more and more personnel. There are two grades in this phase:
Complete the Mitchell Award = Cadet Second Lieutenant (C/2d Lt)
Complete Achievement 10 = Cadet First Lieutenant (C/1t Lt)
Another milestone award, the Amelia Earhart Award, marks the end of this phase. To earn this award you must pass another 100 question Aerospace/Leadership test. Passage of the test allows you to be promoted to Cadet Captain.
Phase Four – The Executive Phase
As you enter Phase Four you have made a subtle, yet distinct progression. During the previous phase you were a “junior officer” and as you enter Phase Four you begin to lose that label. As a Phase Four cadet you are expected to plan and have vision of where your unit is going. You no longer execute the specific details, that is what staff members do, instead you make long range plans and direct your unit towards strategic goals. There are two grades in this phase:
Complete the Earhart Award = Cadet Captain (C/Capt)
Complete Achievement 14 = Cadet Major (C/Maj)
At the end of this phase you have officially completed the CAP Cadet Program upon earning the Ira C Eaker Award. To earn this award, you must have completed all 16 achievements and have attended National Cadet Officer School, a Region Cadet Leadership School, or completed ECI Course 13.
Complete the Eaker Award = Cadet Lieutenant Colonel (C/Lt Col)
The Final Destination – The Spaatz Award
For a select few cadets, there will be one more major award in their CAP cadet careers. This award has been named for General Carl A Spaatz, the first Chief of Staff of the USAF. The Spaatz award comprises four tests:
A 60 question Aerospace test
A 60 question Leadership test
A C/Col James McCloud receives Spaatz #1376 from USAF Chief of Staff, General Michael Ryan and CAP National Commander, BGen James Bobick
An essay written on an ethics topic
You may only attempt to pass all four three times.
Because of the “three test limit,” many cadets attempt the Spaatz but few achieve it. According to The Spaatz Association’s website (www.spaatz.org) there have been only 1,400 Spaatz awards earned in the past 25 years. Other Cadet Opportunities
The CAP Cadet Program offers you a wealth of opportunities and experiences that shouldn’t be missed. These opportunities include special activities, flight training, and scholarships.
Special Activities – Each year different echelons offer a wide range of special activities.
Wing - Encampment, NCOS, Volleyball Competition, Color Guard Competition, Ski Trip, and Solo Encampment are some of the activities offered at the Wing level.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Orientation Course
Jacksonville University/Comair Academy Airline Training Track
National Cadet Competition
International Air Cadet Exchange
Flight Training – Training towards a Private Pilot’s license is available to all CAP cadets that meet FAA qualifications. Cadets typically must pay for their flight time, but that cost is at a huge discount over commercial instruction schools. Solo Encampment is a good way to get started on your flying qualifications.
Scholarships - Money for college and flight training is available through CAP scholarships. Specific qualifications and the different opportunities are outlined in CAPR 52-16.
Section Three Review Questions
The Cadet Program has ___ phases and ____ achievements. To move from one achievement to the next you must wait _____ days.
Name the four major milestone awards:_______________________________________
Cadets who are between the grades of C/SSgt and C/CMSgt are considered NCO's. What does NCO stand for and what do they do?________________________________
Gen I_____________________________________ C/___________
Gen C____________________________________ C/___________
10. Write down why you joined the CAP Cadet Program. Keep this book and in a few years revisit this section and see if your motivations are the same, similar, or totally different. You may be surprised!