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Cadet Programs

Civil Air Patrol's Cadet Programs provides young men and women, ages 12-20, with a safe and motivating environment in which to grow and explore opportunities in the military and aviation industries. Civil Air Patrol cadets participate in a tiered program of progression. The program consists of 16 achievements including the Gen Billy Mitchell, Amelia Earhart, Gen Ira C. Eaker, and Gen Carl A. Spaatz awards.

The Military Experience
 

CAP's Cadet Programs have a strong impact on the youth of America, especially those with an interest in the military and, in particular, the U.S. Air Force. The Cadet Programs provides the training necessary to excel in the military and the opportunity to apply it to real-life situations.

The U.S. Air Force recognizes the high standards CAP cadets must meet. For that reason, cadets who earn the Gen Billy Mitchell Award in the Cadet Programs are eligible to enlist in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve or the Air National Guard in the advanced pay grade of E-3 (airman first class) instead of airman basic. Cadets reaching this level are also entitled to training credit when applying for entry into the Air force Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Civil Air Patrol cadets who earn the Gen Carl A. Spaatz Award often receive preference when applying for Air Force commissioning or entry into the Air Force Academy. Each year, approximately 10 percent of the student population at the U.S. Air Force Academy are former CAP cadets. These cadets experience a slightly higher graduation rate overall than other academy cadets. Other CAP cadets interested in a military career elect to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point or the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Special Activities

Each year, almost 8,000 cadets attend wing and regional special activities and almost 1,500 cadets attend activities at the national level. Additional opportunities for cadets to learn to fly are continuously pursued by CAPís National headquarters Cadet Programs staff.


Civil Air Patrol provides more than 20,000 orientation flights to cadets during the year. Through a series of structured flight sessions, cadets are exposed to flight and the general aviation environment. Cadets are offered the opportunity to fly solo in gliders and powered aircraft.

The highlight of CAP's national activities is the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE). Each year, more than 100 CAP cadets visit one of 18 participating countries in Europe, Australia, and the Pacific Rim. At the same time, foreign cadets and escorts visit CAP wings and squadrons throughout the United States. The 2½-week visit provides many opportunities for participants to learn and experience the host countryís customs. Through IACE, cadets develop an understanding of other cultures and help promote international goodwill.

Academics and Scholarships

CAP affords cadet members many opportunities to explore exciting career possibilities in the field of aviation through special programs and academic scholarships. CAP provides scholarships to cadets to further their studies in areas such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, and aerospace medicine, among others. Scholarships leading to solo and private pilot flight training are also available.