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CAP Membership Overview

Members of Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing.

Membership in Civil Air Patrol is a privilege reserved for those individuals who desire to promote the objectives and purposes of CAP and who meet the eligibility requirements. Civil Air Patrol members are not employees of CAP; they are volunteers who provide their services for the public good without expectation or receipt of salary, pay, remuneration, or compensation of any kind. Membership is on an annual basis.

Note: Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) benefits and Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) liability coverage are only extended to mission qualified CAP active senior members and cadet members engaged in the scope of authorized missions for the DoD/Air Force. All other CAP membership categories are not authorized to participate in DoD or Air Force missions and will not be afforded federal coverage or benefits.

Civil Air Patrol membership is divided into the following four categories:

Cadet Membership​

Cadet membership in CAP is available to all young men and women who meet the eligibility requirements. Cadets who become members before their 19th birthday may retain their cadet status until they reach 21 years of age; however, active senior membership is optional for all cadets at age 18.

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Senior Membership​

Senior membership is the category is for adults who wish to participate in CAP programs. This privilege may be enjoyed as long as the member observes and complies with the CAP Constitution and Bylaws and other governing directives. Senior membership has four sub-categories: active, fifty-year, life, and cadet sponsor.

Active Member​

An active senior member is an adult at least 18 years of age who regularly attends meetings, performs a specific duty assignment, meets training requirements, and participates in the activities of his or her unit. An active member may wear the CAP uniform and compete for grade advancement.

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Fifty-Year Member​

Individuals who have 50 years of service (not necessarily continuous) in Civil Air Patrol are eligible for free membership. These members continue to receive all the benefits of regular active membership.

Life Member​

In recognition of outstanding contributions to CAP, and as one of its highest honors, the Civil Air Patrol Senior Advisory Group (CSAG) may create a life membership for any member of CAP. Life members are afforded all the rights and privileges of active membership. Life members and life member spouses do not pay membership dues but are issued membership cards appropriately designated.

Cadet Sponsor Member

This membership subcategory allows parents, grandparents, and guardians of current CAP cadets to assist their unit’s cadet program by providing supervision, transportation, overnight chaperons, and any other cadet related tasks deemed necessary and proper by the unit commander.

 More about Cadet Sponsors >>> 

Associate Membership​

The associate membership category is comprised of members who do not regularly participate in CAP activities, attend meetings, perform a specific duty assignment, or meet training requirements active members must meet. Associate membership has three sub-categories: patron, aerospace education, and retired.

Patron Member​

This membership category is for inactive senior members and those wishing to simply be a financial supporter through the payment of annual dues. They do not participate in most CAP activities, but they can transfer to active status and vice versa.

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Retired Member​

A member with a minimum of 20 years of service as an active senior member only, not necessarily continuous, is eligible to retire from Civil Air Patrol. Retired members may attend conferences when the general membership is allowed to attend or when invited by the host commander. Retired members may wear the current CAP blazer uniform (with the last grade earned as an active member) when attending social functions as a guest.

Aerospace Education Member​

Aerospace education membership is a special subcategory of membership for members of the educational community that have a desire to promote the objectives and purposes of CAP, but who do not desire to participate in the active membership program. These members are assigned to a special unit at the National-level (NHQ004) and are not assigned to local units.

 More about Educators >>> 

Legislative Membership​

The legislative membership category is comprised of two subcategories, federal and state, who wish to support Civil Air Patrol.

Federal Legislative Member ​

Members of the United States Congress and federally appointed officials are eligible to become congressional members of Civil Air Patrol. These members do not pay membership dues or submit fingerprint cards and are all assigned to the Congressional Squadron (NHQ999), which is physically located with the “boundaries” of National Capital Wing and operates under s special charter. These members are authorized to fly in CAP aircraft, visit CAP unit meetings/social events, and receive the honorary grade of lieutenant colonel.

State Legislative Member

Membership in this category is open to state legislators and elected state officials as well as key staff members. Membership dues and fingerprint cards are waived. State Legislative members are assigned to special state legislative squadrons, the wing identifier plus 999 (XX999); however, National Capital Wing does not have a state legislative squadron. These members are authorized to fly in CAP aircraft, visit CAP unit meetings/social events upon invitation and receive the honorary grade of major. If a state legislative member wishes to fully participate in CAP activities they must complete the same training requirements as active members.

Note: There are currently no provisions to designate between federal and state subcategories for the District of Columbia. D.C. government officials wishing to join as legislative members should send an email to

Here’s a breakdown of CAP membership within National Capital Wing:

Member Benefits

All CAP member types may take advantage of the member discounts and affinity programs unless specifically excluded. No member dues or other funds are used to procure discounts or services for CAP members. Click the links below to see these benefits:

Aviation ProductsUSAAInsuranceMagazine DiscountsTravel DiscountsOffice Depot/OfficeMaxComputer Software and Hardware

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