Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible to join the Civil Air Patrol?

Anyone over the age of 12 without a criminal record. The CAP operates a cadet program for youth ages 12 – 21, cadets already in the program before their 18th birthday may stay cadets until 21. Members who join after their 18th birthday will become Senior Members.


2. What is the cost of becoming a CAP member? 

Annual membership dues can be found here:


3. How much should I expect to pay for my uniforms and equipment?

Compared to many other clubs and organizations, it is relatively cheap to be an active member of the Civil Air Patrol. You can generally expect to pay between $50 and $200 for uniforms, insignia, etc. Many items may be acquired over time. If you have concerns about the extra cost of becoming a member, talk with the squadron commander or deputy commander.


4.Does joining the CAP mean I have any military obligation?

No. Although CAP does receive substantial funding from the U.S. Air Force, CAP members are not members of the military and have no obligation to military service. However, many members of CAP are members of the Guard or Reserve and many cadets go on to join the military or to one of the military academies.


5. What time commitment is expected if I join?

Although members are expected to actively participate, we realize that many people have other commitments such as work, school, church and family. We have regular meetings that last 2 – 2.5 hours per week, and usually have an activity once per month. While participation at all meetings and activities is not mandatory, it is more difficult to progress in rank and training certification if members do not participate regularly.


6. Do I have to meet weight and grooming standards?

It depends. In order to wear any of the Air Force style uniforms, you must meet both weight and grooming standards. Adult members not meeting either of these standards may select from several different CAP distinctive uniforms as an alternative to the Air Force style. Cadets not meeting the weight standards must wear a CAP distinctive uniform; however, they must meet grooming standards regardless of the uniform they wear. Ask your commander for further clarification of the grooming standards. 


7. How do I earn promotions?
All promotions are at the discretion of your squadron commander.  Cadets can learn more about progression at Stripes to Diamonds. For Senior Members, the standard way to earn rank is determined by your time in CAP, time in your current grade, and the training you complete for your CAP position.   There are other circumstances that warrant a promotion – for specifics, talk to your squadron commander.  In order to receive any promotion, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent  
8. Where's my membership card?
You should receive your CAP ID card from CAP NHQ in the mail within a few weeks of joining. If yours hasn't arrived, please CAP Membership Services.


9. What is my CAPID?
Your CAPID is a 6-digit identification number. It's found on your membership card and in eServices.


10. What is E-Services
E-Services is your online membership record. Be sure to eServices, create your free account, and verify that we have your correct contact information. The following guide may help you register and navigate eServices Navigating eServices Guide.


11. How do I get my uniforms?
Depending upon available funding, cadets may be eligible for a new Service Uniform (Air Force "Blue" uniform) provided free-of-charge, please visit our Uniform Guide for New Cadets page for details.  The squadron may have some uniform items available for issue, check with your chain of command to see what the squadron has in stock.  If you must purchase your uniforms, check with an Army/Navy surplus store.  Many new and/or used but serviceable items may be available for very reasonable prices. New uniforms may be purchased from

Two sets of ABU uniforms are recommended, as well as one Service Uniform ("Blues").  One set of ABU's may be old but serviceable, and used primarily for missions, exercises, and other duty "out of sight of the flagpole".  Below are descriptions and catalog numbers for items that can be purchased from (

Air Force "Blues" Uniform                                 

Flight cap (male) CAP0994k 

Flight cap (female) CAP1015J 

Cadet flight cap device CAP0748A 

Light blue, s/sleeve shirt (male) CAP1001A Light blue, s/sleeve blouse (female) 

CAP1017 Blue 3-Line nameplate (last name) 

CAP0599M Blue trousers (male) 

CAP0993K Blue trousers (female) 

CAP3500A Blue skirt (female) 

CAP3600A Blue belt (with silver buckle) 2500500

Camouflage "ABU" 

ABU cap CAP0991U 

ABU shirt CAP0991F 

ABU pants CAP0991O 

“Civil Air Patrol” cloth tape CAP6403 

Cloth nametape (last name) CAP6402 

ABU tan rigger belt 2510700 

Combat boots Male CAP2900A 

Combat boots Female CAP3300 

Boot blousers 2650175 

Undershirt (desert tan) CAP0991Z


12. How am I supposed to wear my uniform?
For full details, see


13. How do I get insignia and patches for my uniform?
First, check with your squadron -- they might have insignia for you. If not,you can purchase them from our vendor, Vanguard.

14. How do I get my cadet binder and textbooks?
About 2 weeks after joining, you should receive a New Cadet Kit in the mail. If you haven't received yours yet, please contact CAP Membership Services.  Copies of the material are also available online at


15. Where do I go if I have more questions?

Additional information for prospective cadets may be found here:

Additional infomation for prospective senior members may be found here:

If you have additional questions, talk with the chain of command in your unit.  Start with the lowest level of command, usually an Element Leader, or Cadet Flight Sergeant. Their job is to help you succeed in CAP.  If they are not able to help you, ask your Flight Commander, Cadet Commander, or Deputy Commander for Cadets.