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Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program

By Lt. Col. Mohammed High, CAP
Nellis Senior Squadron, (NV-064)


On Oct 1, 1942, CAP launched a youth program under the supervision of Maj. (then Captain) Kendall K. Hoyt a recruiting and public relations officer for National Headquarters thanks to an overwhelming request and letters of support from High-level commanders including USAAF. 

Each Man in CAP could sponsor a boy and each Woman in CAP could sponsor a girl between the ages of 15-17. Cadets had to be physically fit, have completed the first two years of high school, maintain satisfactory grades and be a native-born American of parents who had been U.S. citizens for at least 10 years. Although severe, these qualifications were imposed to hold down participation until the program was fully established. 

American youth responded beyond expectations. Within six months, more than 20,000 cadets attended weekly meetings or studied on their own. They spent many weekends at local airports applying what they had learned. And recruiting 20,000-plus CAP cadets had cost the Office of Civilian Defense a mere $200 for administrative costs. The first junior squadron in the country was reported by Squadron No. 711-4 of the Minnesota Wing with 39 cadets.. 

CAP's successes suggested to the War Department a permanent place in its ranks. On April 29, 1943, President Roosevelt ordered CAP to become an auxiliary of the U.S. Army Air Forces. On May 4, War Department Memorandum W95-12-43 assigned the Army Air Forces responsibility for supervising and directing CAP operations. 

By 1943, CAP membership totaled 75,000 men and women in more than 1,000 communities. That December, the Army loaned CAP 288 L-4 Piper Cubs for use in aviation cadet recruiting. CAP responded by flying 78,000 prospective recruits 41,000 hours in 1944. By year's end, CAP had helped create an oversupply of Army aviation candidates. 

Today we continue to have over 25,000 cadets in over 1,000 hometowns. Approx. 8% of USAF Academy cadets are former CAP Cadets. 

Though still adhering to a military structure, the CAP cadet program no longer recruits for the military. Its programs, however, continue to teach life skills, offer numerous avenues for aeronautics education and produce America's leaders for tomorrow. 

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