Absolutely not! Although we are an aviation organization, our members serve in many roles beyond piloting aircraft. As a new member, you will have the opportunity to train and serve in all sorts of roles, from non-pilot aircrew to communications operator and ground search & rescue (SAR) team member to incident commander.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Prospective Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members (both adults and youth alike) are encouraged to attend two or three initial squadron meetings to get acquainted with the environment, the people, and the dynamic atmosphere.
Prior to the first meeting you wish to attend, please send an e-mail at email@example.com and let us know you are thinking joining CAP and that you would like to attend the upcoming squadron meeting. This will ensure that a squadron representative will be available during the meeting to provide you with the information needed to get you started. During the squadron meeting, ask questions and talk with other members – new and experienced – to discover how you can fit into the squadron. If you are a parent of a future cadet, talk with other parents and new cadets at the meeting. Always remember: members, squadron personnel and the commander are there to answer your questions and to talk about life in CAP.
AM I JOINING THE AIR FORCE?
While the CAP is part of the Air Force ‘Total Force’ structure, we are NOT a combatant organization. We exist to provide strictly benevolent and humanitarian support to our fellow citizens.
As the volunteer auxiliary and a valuable partner of the Air Force ‘Total Force’ structure (Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, Auxiliary), CAP members provide vital supporting functions throughout each state, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico.
WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT LIKE?
As an volunteer organization, there is no required time commitment that must be served. Our members are neither enlisted nor commissioned in any sort of military service (unless so in their personal employment separate from CAP). We have members who may be able to dedicate a few hours a week to CAP, as well as those who may be able to commit to a ‘full-time’ schedule and hold multiple support roles at various levels. As with most other volunteer organizations: give to the best of your ability… every bit helps, big or small!
WHEN AND WHERE DO YOU MEET?
Adults (Senior Members) meet bi-monthly on the first and third Thursdays of each month in the General Aviation Terminal at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).
Youth (Cadets) meet weekly at the North Carolina National Guard drill hall off of Wade Avenue in central Raleigh.
For directions and additional details on each meeting location, please follow the links below.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO JOIN?
There are a few different types of expenses you will encounter throughout your volunteer career with CAP, including membership dues, uniform costs, and activity fees, all of which are tax-deductible.
Annual Membership Dues
Adults (Senior Members): $67 for national-level dues + $48 for local-level dues = $115 annually
Youth (Cadets): $40 national-level dues + $24 local-level dues = $64 annually
Uniform costs will vary greatly depending on your class of membership. As a new Senior Member, there are multiple uniforms available to you, from Air Force-style dress and utility uniforms (height/weight/grooming requirements apply) to CAP-distinctive equivalents of each Air Force style uniform (no height/weight/grooming requirements). As a new cadet, wearing Air Force-style uniforms is a mandatory aspect of the program.
All members should expect to budget about $250 for an initial set of uniforms. Senior Members are required to self-fund the cost of all their uniforms. Cadets self-fund most of the cost for their uniforms; however, each cadet will receive a $100 dollar voucher from our uniform supplier – Vanguard Industries – upon their first promotion. We also do our best to provide additional uniform items that we may have on hand as the result of donations from former members. Cadets and parents of cadets should speak to the squadron commander or logistics officer during a cadet meeting to determine what is available.
Routine squadron meetings are just the start of your CAP journey! There are numerous activities outside of the local unit at all levels of the organization, from state (wing) to region (groups of states) and national activities. Most activities carry some form of activity fee in order to cover certain costs (such as food, lodging, materials, etc.) and vary widely depending on location, size, and available resources.
WAIT A MINUTE… I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS!
The questions listed above are the most common curiosities from prospective members. We have no doubt that you have more questions! Please feel free to e-mail any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or ask in person at your next meeting! The FAQ sections on the CAP National Headquarters website may also come in handy. See below for the FAQ section specific to your class of membership: