Anyone in Civil Air Patrol??

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by KJ4AZX, Mar 15, 2008.

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  1. W4INF

    W4INF Ham Member QRZ Page

    How old are you guys? Most kids I know that are in CAP do so until they are old enough to get there drivers licenses, then get involved in other things.

    Do adults actually do CAP? What do they do? Wash the wheel chalks and scrub potties or what?
  2. K5OP

    K5OP Ham Member QRZ Page


    Yes, Adults actually do CAP.... In CAP adult members are called Senior Members, and those who are 20 and younger are called Cadet Members.

    The whole entire structure and backbone of the program is ran and maintained by Senior members. Active duty, retired military, and all types of adults in between. CAP got its beginning during WWII when a group of civilian stateside pilots formed to patrol the US Shores from enemy attack. They performed PATROL MISSIONS, spotting for enemy U-Boats. In fact, CAP has 2 confirmed "Kills" where CAP members were credited with dropping bombs on U-Boats, and sinking 2. Then after WWII, CAP was disbanded. But later on in 1946 CAP was officially sanctioned by Harry S. Truman as a non-profit organization and then in 1948 US Congress made CAP an official part of the United States Air Force. Thats why CAP is called the US Air Force Auxiliary.

    The backbone of CAP is its adult "Senior Members" They are the ones who are the commanders and administrators for the organization. CAP has three distinct missions to perform..

    1. EMERGENCY SERVICES. Headed up by Senior members, and assisted by authorized and trained Cadet members. (Cadets are usually the working force of search ground teams, communications etc.)

    2. Aerospace Education. Senior members along with Cadet members are tasked with teaching the general public about aerospace matters. The history, present and the future. Adult members usually attend teacher workshops on aerospace education and then take that knowledge into schools and teach the teachers, or students.

    3. Cadet Program. The Senior members help provide a structured enviroment where young adults can grow, and learn the values that every american should have. The future leaders of this nation are forged from the cadet program. The Senior members as a whole usually do not involve themselves with the Cadet Program, but in each unit there is at least one senior member who oversees the cadet program, and he/she acts as the liasion between the Cadets and the Seniors. Usually the chain of command goes like this..

    Cadet members, Flight Sgt. Flight Commander, Cadet Executive Officer, Cadet Deputy Commander, Cadet Commander, Comadant of Cadets (who is a Senior Member in charge of Cadet Programs) and then it crosses over into senior members with Squadron Executive Officer, Deputy Commander, and then Squadron Commander.

    Senior members do not wash the wheel chalks (senior members ARE the PILOTS). Cadets usually act as ground crew. And they don't scrub potties. Without the Senior members, CAP would not exist.

    I joined Cap in 1987, and I left in 1997. I started as a Cadet Airman Basic, and became a Cadet Master Sgt. and then moved into a Senior Member position and obtained 1st. Lt. before leaving. I was also my unit's communications officer.
  3. K0DXC

    K0DXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I thought of joining it, just too expensive.

    I think it's around $250 for a single year's membership. I don't have that much extra money laying around for things like that. I would rather be a member of search and rescue and get hands on experience then simply spot people from an airplane.
  4. W0LPQ

    W0LPQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    DXC there are a lot worse ogranizations to get involved with than CAP. Personally, I would rather be part of that than some of the (choke .. gasp) emcomm types I have seen. One thing about CAP .. you learn to fly for not a lot of cash outlay, compared to taking lessons. Aviation is a neat avocation to be a part of.

    Several of our Shrine Flying Fezzes people are very active in CAP and they love to work with young people who show an interest in aviation.
  5. KJ4AZX

    KJ4AZX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, it is only like 28$ per year, and I am not joking! It is a great program! Also, we do not only spot people from planes, we also have search and rescue ground teams! You would enjoy it!
    Funny that I am a Master Sergeant right now. I will be testing for my next rank this month.( senior master sergeant) You gave an awesome description of the CAP!
  6. W4INF

    W4INF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow, I just got a good education on CAP!

    Lemme ask this, if there was a CAP program near by (which I think there is...), and being 41 years old (Thats old enough for Senior I reckon), and being retired from the Army, is there any place for me in such a program? What rank would be obtained and what would the duties of such a gopher be?

    Seriously, Im curious!

  7. K5OP

    K5OP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cal... WTH!?!?!?! Who told you it cost $250 a year to join.. That is gross misinformation there dude. Cadet membership is like less than 30 dollars a year. It's not much at all. And you get to do a lot of really cool stuff. For example, if you're in CAP and the unit is on or near a military base, there is a good chance you'll get to fly in military aircraft from time to time, like C-130's C-141's and such. You'll get to go to a thing called Type A Encampments, which is like summer camp, but its very structured, you get to experience what it's like to go through military basic training, and you get HEAVY exposure to the military way of life and jobs. Usually held on a military base for like 9 days. We did ours at Columbus AFB here. And that's a major pilot training base, so we got to do a lot with their flight simulators, radar aproach control, we got to shoot M-16's with security police, and just a bunch of stuff.

    Stephanie, when I was in it, the enlisted ranks only went to C/MSGT. And then it was C/WO (warrant officer) aka the Billy Mitchell Award, then C/2LT, C/1LT, C/CAPT, C/MAJ, C/LTCOL, and C/COL. I was checking it out a few days ago and see they added C/SMSGT and C/CMSGT and even a Cadet 1st Sgt. I saw ur pic... So you're in Honor Guard, thats pretty sweet.

    Andrew, Glad to help out... And yes... ANYONE who doesn't have a felony conviction can become a CAP member. You'll have to be finger printed, and a background check done, this is because you'll be working with kids. That's all done during your application phase. Once all of that clears you'll become a Senior Member. Your enlisted rank will not count towards anything. You'll start out with the title/rank of Senior Member. From there you'll have handbooks and courses to complete, leadership schools and what not and of course time in service to achieve different ranks like 2nd Lt. 1st Lt., Captain, and so on.

    This is the official website for Virgina Wing HQ:

    A lot of information you'll want is there. But looking for the closest unit to Roanoke is actually in Roanoke at the Roanoke Regional Airport every Monday at 1900 hrs. Their website is

    If you really are interested Andrew, my suggestion would be to clear your schedule one monday night and drive over there. Guests have always been welcomed at our meetings. When you get there just walk up to a senior member and introduce yourself, let them know some guy on a message board told you about CAP and you came to find out about joining. They'll be wearing a USAF type uniform most of the time. Some times they wear gray slacks with a white shirt with rank on it.. There are 3 or 4 different senior member uniforms. The cadets where the standard USAF Class A's and the BDU's. Anyhow it won't hurt anything to just show up, sit in a meeting, talk with the unit commander. They'll be able to answer any question you have about them. I spent 10 years in it. I recruited several people, some of which are still there. The question about what you'd be doing can pretty much be answered on their website... this link here directly to it:

    Ask those questions to them though....
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  8. KU0DM

    KU0DM Guest

    Thanks for that info. Jimmy! I too am interested in joining CAP.

    Cal, they do plenty of Search and Rescue! It's not just flying around and saying "Look, I found him!"

    Search and Rescue is WHY CAP was formed, that is what they do! Like I said, they proved that at our drill. Knew the procedures of SAR, including how you mark an entrance to a structure that you are searching, and have searched using the 4 quadrants. They wouldn't learn that if all they did is spotting from a plane. Several of the guys had been on real search and rescue, where the CAP guys spotted someone's location, then the rest went into action on foot or vehicle.

    If anyone is familiar with what it takes to become a Scout leader, registering for CAP is basically as a senior member is basically the same requirements

    Duncan, KU0DM
  9. KJ4AZX

    KJ4AZX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, the cadets really need senior members to help them learn all of the search and rescue stuff and since you were in the Army that is a great advantage! It is a really great program and you will most likely enjoy it.
    I really enjoy being in the Honor Guard! That was a really fun performance! Wow, they really added more ranks. I have three more to go before I become a 2nd Lieutenant. That is when I get my Mitchell.
    I went to the 2007 encampment and it was very fun but not like other summer camps! It was very structured and very challenging. This year I get to go back and be part of the staff. I will be one of the communications officers. YAY!
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  10. K5OP

    K5OP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Duncan, cool.. You should try it out. There is a lot more to it than the emergency services though. But its true, the meat and potatos of CAP is SAR. And its very perfesional. CAP has a huge fleet of aircraft, and vehicles. CAP gets federal funding, and is fully supported by the USAF. They work in cordination with the USAF Rescue Cordination Center at Langley AFB in VA. The SARSATS pick up an ELT signal from a crashed aircraft, and then call CAP, who dispatches a unit to perform a SAR. Usually a pilot goes airborne with an observer, and a ground team uses RDF gear to locate the ELT.

    As a Cadet, you'd get the chance to go to some pretty intense schools, like RANGER SCHOOL, which is a week or so long where you get trained wilderness survival by USAF Pararescue Instructors (PJ's) These are the guys who jump out of planes and go rescue downed pilots from behind enemy lines. Its very intense. You do things like climb mountains, repel, learn to live off the land and so on. There is the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) where lucky few cadets get chosen to exchange with other cadets in other countries. You spend time over in the host country learning their customs, and likewise their cadets come here. I actually have a certficate for IACE for being host to a cadet from another country.

    The encampments are cool like I mentioned before. Getting to go fly in military aircraft, fly their billion dollar simulators, and get access into places you never thought you could go. Being on elite drill teams, or Honor Guard, and marching in huge parades, or very important details like memorial day activities. Anyhow interested in a military career benefits too. Once you Obtain the Billy Mitchell Award which is a ribbon, and the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer, you are eligible to join the military and advance in rank. While most people going in will come out of basic as an airman, or private, you'd come out with 2 stripes and paygrades.

    Stephanie I see you changed your picture... Flying the Cessna 172 huh... I sure do miss doing that. I use to fly all the time, when ever I had the chance.
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