National Capital Wing
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Cadet Member (Youth 12-18)

A cadet from Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing learns about aircraft ELTs.

Cadet membership in CAP is available to all young men and women who are at least 12 years old and U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Cadets who become members before their 19th birthday may retain their cadet status until they reach 21; however, active senior membership is optional for all cadets at age 18.

Our goal is to develop cadet members into responsible citizens and become future aerospace leaders. We follow a military model that emphasizes Air Force traditions and values. What sets us apart from other youth programs is that our cadets also participate in our real-world missions.

Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Program is organized around four elements, which allow for advancing through a series of achievements, earning honors, and increasing responsibilities along the way.

Cadets from Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing.


CAP introduces cadets to Air Force perspectives on leadership through classroom instruction, mentoring, and hands-on learning. First, cadets learn to follow, but as they progress, they learn how to lead small teams, manage projects, think independently, and develop leadership skills they can use in adult life.

A cadet from Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing prepares for a glider orientation flight.

Aerospace & STEM

CAP inspires a love of aviation, space, and technology, including new frontiers in cyber defense. Cadets study the fundamentals of aerospace science in the classroom, and experience flight first-hand in CAP and military aircraft. At some summer activities, cadets explore STEM careers.

A cadet from Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing prepares to run in the Army 10-Miler.


CAP encourages cadets to develop a lifelong habit of regular exercise. The program promotes fitness through calisthenics, hiking, rappelling, volleyball, competitions, and other activities.


CAP challenges cadets to live by our shared core values. Through character forums, cadets discuss ethical issues relevant to teens. Chaplains often lead the discussions, but the forums are not religious meetings. CAP also encourages cadets to promote a drug-free ethic in their schools and communities.

 Learn More About Our Values >>> 

Cadet Oath

The CAP Cadet Oath symbolizes how serious cadets are about becoming leaders. Cadets are expected to be able to recite the oath from memory.

I pledge that I will serve faithfully in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, and that I will attend meetings regularly, participate actively in unit activities, obey my officers, wear my uniform properly, and advance my education and training rapidly to prepare myself to be of service to my community, state, and nation.

Civil Air Patrol also operates in accordance with a Cadet Protection Policy to keep youth safe from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and hazing.

Cadet Membership Criteria

The following are the requirements to join CAP as a cadet member:

  • 12 years of age through 18 years of age;
  • Enrolled in or graduated from school with a satisfactory (as defined by the parents) academic achievement record;
  • Single with the exception of marriage under age 18;
  • Not on active duty in the Armed Forces, which does not include attendance at military service academies or members in the National Guard or Reserves who are not on extended active duty;
  • Be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence (a lawfully admitted non-citizen residing in the U.S. may have this waived by CAP’s National Headquarters);
  • Have good moral character;
  • Attend three squadrons meetings as a trial period; and
  • Be accepted by the local squadron and higher headquarters.

Membership is on a year-to-year basis. Cadets may have their membership terminated for failure to maintain a satisfactory academic school record, failure to programs in the CAP Cadet Program, lack of interest demonstrated by failure to attend three successive regular squadron meetings without an acceptable excuse, and misconduct, which includes conduct unbecoming a member of CAP (core values), making a false statement to or concerning CAP, serious or willful violations of CAP regulations or directives, failure to obey rules, regulations, and orders of higher authority, and insubordination.

Steps to Join CAP

► Find a Local Squadron

So that we can stay in touch while you consider joining us, please fill out this form. This will notify the squadron closest to you. However, you may join any composite or cadet squadron in our wing. It’s okay to visit more than one.


► Attend 3 Meetings

You are required to attend three meetings at one of our composite or cadet squadrons prior to applying for cadet membership. This is considered a trial period to make sure CAP is a good fit.

 Explore Our Squadron Locations >>> 

► Apply for Cadet Membership

$30 Annual Dues

Once you are ready to join us, you have the option to apply online (dues payment with a credit card) or fill out a paper CAP Form 11 cadet application (PDF) to be faxed (with credit card info) or mailed (with a check) to our national headquarters. Your proof of identity will need to be confirmed by the squadron. You will need to know your squadron charter number to apply online, which will be “DC” for the Wing and the 3-digit unit number.

 Apply Online for Cadet Membership >>> 

Cadets of Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing participate in a ropes course.

If you or your parents have any concerns or need help contacting a local squadron, please email our wing director of cadet programs at

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