Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Civil Air Patrol?

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a nonprofit organization which was established by the U.S. Congress on December 1, 1941 and on May 28, 1948 through Public Law 557, is the official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force. Made up of currently about 90,000 volunteers, CAP carries out three congressionally assigned missions which are Emergency Services, Aerospace Education, and Cadet Programs. See our Mission page for more details.

Are there age limits?

Yes. In order to join the cadet program you must be between the ages of 12 and 17. At age 18 and older, you must join as a senior member. There is not an upper age limit. We actually have members who are in their 80's and 90's that continue to serve.

Do I have to join the Air Force?

No. Although we are the Auxiliary of the US Air Force, there is no requirement to join any branch of the military. Though participation in CAP and completing certain achievements in the cadet program can help you if you do decide to join the military later. We are not a recruiting tool.

Can I be deployed or sent into combat?

No. Per Public Law 476, signed on July 1, 1946, CAP is a benevolent organization and can no longer be used in combat. Also, as a volunteer organization, all of our missions are voluntary and you cannot be compelled to complete any mission that your do not wish to do.

What are some benefits of joining?

Flying! It's one of the biggest reasons that people join CAP, though certainly not the only benefit. There are too many great benefits to list them all, but here are some of the top benefits:

Orientation Flights - Cadets get 5 flights in a powered airplane and 5 flights in a glider to experience the thrill of flying get to feel how the controls work during the flight. These flights can be counted towards a license if the pilot giving the flight is also a CFI.

Skill Training - Just like any job in the military, before we can allow you to serve in any role, you must go through training to ensure that you know what you're doing and are doing it within CAP regulations. Not just flying operations, there are many areas that you can serve in on the ground. We have service areas available in radio communications, web/IT, financial, legal, professional development, administration, and logistics to name a few.

Enlistment Boosts for Cadets - Cadets who receive their Mitchel award (upon promotion to Cadet Second Lieutenant) can get a boost if they decide to join the Air Force after graduating high school rather than going to college. Upon completion of basic military training they are promoted to E-3, rather than being an E-1.

Leadership Opportunities - Whether you are joining as a cadet or as a senior member, you will be given many opportunities to take a leadership role at varying levels. Leadership is a primary skill taught to all members through both classes and experiences in the squadron. Cadets will begin to progress in basic leadership after their first promotion and will continue to study the principles through their cadet career in CAP. Senior members are required to take increasingly deeper classes on leadership at the squadron, group, and wing level in order to progress for promotions.

Attend a meeting any Tuesday at 6:15 PM at the Athens Airport to find out about more of the benefits of being a member of the Civil Air Patrol!