About the Civil Air Patrol

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and ground) and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. In addition, CAP has recently been tasked with homeland security and courier service missions. CAP also performs non-auxiliary missions for various governmental and private agencies, such as local law enforcement and the American Red Cross.

Membership in the organization consists of cadets ranging from 12 to just under 21 years of age, and officers 18 years of age and up. These two groups each have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of pursuits; the cadet program contributes to the development of the former group with a structured syllabus and an organization based upon United States Air Force ranks and pay grades, while the older members serve as instructors, supervisors, and operators. All members wear uniforms while performing their duties.

Nationwide, CAP is a major operator of single-engine general aviation aircraft, used in the execution of its various missions, including orientation flights for cadets and the provision of significant emergency services capabilities. Because of these extensive flying opportunities, many CAP members become licensed pilots.

The organization is headed by the National Headquarters (with authority over the national organization) followed by eight regional commands and 52 wings (each of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico). Each wing supervises the individual groups and squadrons that comprise the basic operational unit of the organization.

This information was retrieved from the Civil Air Patrol article on Wikipedia, where much more information may also be found.

Membership Requirements

Cadet Membership

The following are requirements for the CAP youth leadership program:

  • The minimum age to join is 12 years old.
  • The maximum age to join as a cadet is 18 (although you can remain a cadet until you reach 21).
  • You must be enrolled in or graduated from a private or public school or college with a satisfactory record in academic achievement.
  • Not a member of the active duty Armed Forces. *National Guard and Reserve personnel are not considered active duty unless they are serving on extended active duty.
  • A citizen of the United States of America or an alien lawfully admited for permanent residence to the U.S or its territories.
  • Those persons in "admitted for permanent residence" status must possess and present a current Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151 or I-551).
  • Request for waiver of citizenship criteria for lawfully admitted non-citizens residing in the United States who were not admitted for permanent residence will be submitted through channels along with a copy of the membership application.
  • Good moral character.
  • If a former member of CAP, must not have been terminated for misconduct.
  • Be accepted by the unit and higher headquarters.

Officer Membership

Membership is a privilege reserved for those individuals who conscientiously desire to promote the objectives and purposes of CAP and who meet the eligibility requirements:

  • All applicants must be accepted by the unit commander and higher headquarters.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age or be a member of the Armed Forces on active duty at any age.
  • A citizen of the United States of America or an alien lawfully admited for permanent residence to the U.S or its territories.
  • Those persons in "admitted for permanent residence" status must possess and present a current Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151 or I-551).
  • Request for waiver of citizenship criteria for lawfully admitted noncitizens residing in the United States who were not admitted for permanent residence will be submitted through channels along with a copy of the membership application.
  • All individuals applying for active officer membership must be screened and registered by National Headquarters. The screening process requires that the individual submit an FBI fingerprint card which can be obtained from the unit you wish to join. This card is used to complete an FBI criminal check.