New Cadet Guide

New Cadet Guide and Resources

My application was approved, what happens now?

After you’ve signed up and received your CAPID, you’ll begin training with other cadets in our “Tango” flight using the training prescribed by CAP National HQ called “Cadet Great Start“. This training group is comprised of other cadets that are going through the same on-boarding process. You’ll learn chain of command, proper wear of the uniforms, the CAP core values, cadet oath, and more. This knowledge serves as the foundation on which the journey of a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol is built and will take you through the Curry achievement and the rank of Cadet Airman.

Download and/or print the New Cadet Guide from CAP National HQ. This guide shows you the ropes and can help you set your goals within CAP as well as provide tips on how to achieve those goals. You will get a lot of this information in your welcome packet from National HQ.

Another great resource for new cadets is the New Cadet Help website.

How long does it take to earn my first promotion?

Your first promotion will be earned upon completion of the Cadet Great Start training. At this point you will have completed a 6-week training program that takes you through your Curry achievement where you will earn the rank of Cadet Airman. This achievement requires you to pass a written leadership test, a practical drill test, be present for a character development lesson (called the Cadet Wingman Course), and finally sit (or maybe stand) during your first Promotion Review Board meeting (PRB). Not all cadets complete this in 6 weeks, it can sometimes take longer depending on if you miss a class.

Do I need to buy my own uniform?

Yes and no. Cadets are expected to have their ABU (Airman Battle Uniform) by the time they attend their first PRB meeting. This means the ABU doesn’t need to be purchased right away and can be postponed temporarily or purchased in pieces until the entire uniform has been purchased and all required name tapes are sewn on.

Keep in mind that nearly all activities outside of a weekly squadron meeting require the the utility uniform (ABU). So if you want to fly, attend a local event, or attend a school (BCS, ATS, Encampment, etc.) you must have your uniform complete by then.

You can purchase uniform items from either Vanguard or any Military Clothing store on a US Air Force installation granted it has one and is open to CAP members. Members in Northern California can use the Exchange clothing store at Travis AFB.

Once you earn your Curry achievement, Civil Air Patrol will send you a $100 voucher to be used at Vanguard. Vanguard is the preferred source for uniform items for Civil Air Patrol members. This voucher can be used to purchase your blues uniform or other items you may be missing.

What uniform items should I buy?

ABU Items

Blues Items

Blues differ for male vs female cadets. See below for an outline of items for each:



Consult the Uniform Manual CAPM 39-1 regarding the wear of the uniform if you need further clarification on things like color and type of garment. Footwear is covered in 6.4 of CAPM 39-1.

NoteAny of these items may be purchased from a military clothing store on an US Air Force Base in your area. CAP members in Northern California may purchase uniform items from Travis AFB as long as they have a CAP ID card. To get on base you will need a valid government-issued identification card. CAP use of the Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is authorized by CAPR 147-1 and section 3.18 of AFI 10-2701. Please see this Knowledge Base URL for more information: