Main Content

Help for New Cadets

First Tasks for New Cadets



"No matter how insurmountable the challenge, my senior member mentors and cadet partners have always pushed me further than I imagined, and my experience has taught me a simple lesson: if the bar is too high, you can always bring a ladder." - C/Col Noah Compton (Texas Wing, CAP)


Cadets will be asked to take ownership and responsibility for their Civil Air Patrol career. This ownership can be overwhelming for existing Cadets, for New Cadets the tasks can seem insurmountable.

The steps in the guide are intended to assist New Cadets and a reminder for existing Cadets of their expectations and responsibilities.

Join as a Cadet

In order to become a New Cadet you must first join Civil Air Patrol. If you have not completed this step and are interested in becoming part of Civil Air Patrol, follow this link with instructions on How to Join.

New Cadet Guide

Make this guide your #1 resource for getting started in Civil Air Patrol. It will explain WEARING THE UNIFORM, STAYING SAFE, and ENJOYING A GREAT 1st YEAR IN Civil Air Patrol. The New Cadet Guide will be mailed to you after joining, an online edition of the New Cadet Guide can be found here.

Respect on Display

How and Why Civil Air Patrol Practices Air Force-Style Customs and Courtesies. Basics of saluting, coming to attention, the place of honor, reporting, the pledge, introductions, manners of address, etc.

Complete Cadet Wingman Course

Your squadron will complete the Cadet Wingman Course during your Basic Cadet Training.

However Civil Air Patrol is a safe, positive environment that uses an age-appropriate, military-style learning model to challenge young people. While cadet life is regimented, we do not tolerate any form of abusive behavior or hazing.

Parents are invited to learn more about Wingman and Cadet Protection. For more information please visit Cadet Protection on our website. For any questions please contact the squadron Commander or Deputy for Cadets.

Communication and Chain of Command

Know your Chain of Command and use it. Their job is to help you succeed in Civil Air Patrol. Your local unit will provide you with information regarding your Chain of Command.

Ask your cadet mentor how to make sure you are connected to your Squadron including the local Squadron website, Facebook page, etc. Don't have a cadet mentor yet? Ask to be assigned one.

Get Into Uniform

Wearing your uniform properly is part of your leadership training and is required to be demonstrated in order to promote. It is important to get into at least one uniform as quickly as possible. It is recommended that the first uniform to purchase is the ABU. For more information on uniforms and guiding regulation please reference this page or contact your Cadet mentor.

Please discuss Physical Fitness uniform items with Cadet Leadership prior to purchase.

Learn The Lingo

Don't know about military time? What does that acronym mean? Find out the basics here.

Parent's Guide to Civil Air Patrol

Your guide to the basics of Civil Air Patrol and an overview of Cadet Programs can be found here. To be a successful Cadet, they will need Parents support, and the Parents' Guide can help explain Civil Air Patrol Cadet Programs.

Other Items to Complete

  • Create an account in eServices - Follow the eServices login located here. As you create your account, double-check that your contact information is correct.            

  • Read Your Leadership Text  - Read Learn to Lead, chapter 1. You’ll need to learn this material to complete Achievement 1 and qualify for promotion to Cadet Airman. Pay attention to the learning objectives and use them to quiz yourself.

  • Complete Cadet Interactive Leadership Module 1 - After reading Learn to Lead chapter 1, go deeper and challenge your learning in Cadet Interactive. If you don’t have web access, you can ask your squadron to give you an open-book test instead. Are you a high achiever? Go for Honor Credit by doing both the Cadet Interactive module and the open-book test. 

  • Begin using your Personal Cadet Tracker - Record your accomplishments on your Personal Cadet Tracker. While you do that, set some goals for your first year as a cadet.

  • Plan to Attend Encampment. - Encampment is a full immersion into all the opportunities of cadet life. It’ll be the high point of your first year! Most encampments are 1-week in duration and held during the summer. Check the encampment page to see if information is available and mark your calendar, or ask your squadron for details. The Cadet Encampment Assistance Program (CEAP, say “seep”) can help you with tuition and uniform costs.

© 2024 Civil Air Patrol. All rights reserved.