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The Civil Air Patrol Cadet program first began on 1 October 1942. However, the Cadet Program at that time was primarily limited to youth aged 15-17 years old. This way the CAP cadets, with the exception of their age, were capable of entering military service.

However, in 1964 the Civil Air Patrol redesigned and created a new curriculum for the cadet program. The primary goal was to make the cadet program more structured with a steady progression through five main elements: activities, leadership, aerospace education, physical fitness, and moral leadership. As a result of this change several achievements were created and named (with permission from them) after several aerospace pioneers, such as Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Doolittle, Gen. J.F. Curry and the Wright Brothers to name a few. Click here to view a file obtained from National Headquarters CAP, containing copies of the letters sent to each of the individuals whose names were used and their replies.

In today's "modern" Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, cadets range in age from 12 years old up to 21 years old. The primary goal of the cadet program is to teach follower ship and leadership skills, self-discipline, honor, and integrity to name a few. Cadets like all CAP members wear a CAP modified version (different style name and specialty patches) of the United States Air Force blue uniform (as seen above) and the battle dress uniform (or BDU's for short) as seen below.

Cadets study various aspects of training materials and work towards passing various achievements. The rewards that along come with passing the achievements include military style ribbons to wear on their blues uniforms and the attaining of a higher grade.

Grades??? You ask. Yes, along with wearing the US Air Force style uniforms, the Civil Air Patrol in it's Cadet Program (as well as the Senior Program) has also patterned it's command structure after the US Air Force. Cadets, after passing appropriate achievements in a certain order, are eligible to receive grades ranging from Cadet Airman Basic, to Cadet Chief Master Sergeant, to Cadet Second Lieutenant, all the way up to the coveted Cadet Colonel grade.

One additional privilege of attaining the Gen Billy Mitchell award, the Cadet Programs second Milestone Award, is that it makes the recipient (upon enlisting in the Air Force) eligible for advance promotion to the grade of E-3 or Airman First Class in the Air Force. This amounts to a quicker promotion after basic training, and a higher pay rate from day one of basic military training.