Director of Cadet Programs: Lt Col Harold Buchanan
CAP’s cadet program is designed to inspire the country’s youth to become leaders and good American citizens through their interest in aerospace. Cadets work their way through a series of achievements by completing studies and other activities. As they progress, they earn higher rank, awards and ribbons, or certificates. Some of the achievements include aerospace education, moral leadership, physical fitness, drill and ceremonies, leadership laboratory, and other special activities. They may become eligible for national or international special activities and academic or flying scholarships. Although membership in Civil Air Patrol does not obligate anyone to join the military, when cadets complete their initial training phase, they earn the General Billy Mitchell Award, which entitles them to enter the Air Force at a pay grade of E-3, should they choose to enlist.
One of the most popular activities of cadets is the flying program. Cadets are eligible for orientation flights in military and CAP aircraft. Other activities include search and rescue, first aid, CPR, radio communications, summer encampments, cadet officer school, survival training, model rocketry, and the like. Advanced cadets may participate in the International Air Cadet Exchange where about 120 cadets and their adult escorts travel to one of some 20 foreign countries. In return, cadets from foreign lands visit the United States as guests of Civil Air Patrol and the US Air Force. These trips promote goodwill and understanding among the world’s youth who share a common interest in aviation.