Frequently Asked Questions about CAP

  1. What is the Civil Air Patrol?  CAP was founded in December of 1941, one week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, by over 150,000 citizens concerned about the defense of America's coastline. Flying under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Forces, CAP pilots flew over one-half million hours, were credited with sinking two enemy submarines, and rescued hundreds of crash survivors during World War II. On July 1, 1946, President Truman established CAP as a federally chartered benevolent civilian corporation. Congress passed Public Law 557 on May 26, 1948, which made CAP the auxiliary of the new United States Air Force. CAP was charged with three primary missions: Cadet Programs, Aerospace Education, and Emergency Services.
  2. How do I join CAP? The easiest way to join CAP is to visit our squadron on Monday nights. This will give you an in person feel for who we are and what we do.
  3. Why should I join the Dakota Ridge Composite Squadron? The Denver Metro area has a dozen fine CAP squadrons. What sets Dakota Ridge apart is our commitment to allowing our imagination take flight. Our events and projects go beyond most in scope and in opportunity. We are not confined to any one aspect of CAP but unleashed to explore our capabilities and interested in all CAP missions. Whether it's hiking in the hills, launching rockets in the park or supporting an air show, we have FUN!
  4. When can I visit Dakota Ridge? Visitors are always welcome at Dakota Ridge. It is best to check the schedule and calendar to ensure we are having a meeting but you do not need to make any previous arrangements.
  5. What can I expect at Dakota Ridge? First, you can expect hard work. Our members put in a lot of effort to pass their achievements. They also contribute to their community volunteering in service projects. It's a challenging but rewarding experience. Second, you can expect to learn something. Our staff works diligently to provide challenging learning opportunities for cadets in the fields of aviation, leadership and emergency services (search and rescue, disaster relief). Lastly, you can expect to have fun. Dakota Ridge is a fun place to be. You can see that on the faces of our members any Monday night. whether it's helping launch the 166 foot Energizer Bunny hot air balloon or simply playing a game of football for Physical Training, Dakota Ridge is a fun place to be!
  6. What will be expected of me? As a cadet member of the Dakota Ridge Composite Squadron, you will be expected to follow the guidelines as stated in the Cadet Oath. All members will adhere to the Civil Air Patrol regulations and the CAP Core Values. Any violation of the regulations may result in expulsion from the squadron and the Civil Air Patrol.
  7. Is the Monday night meeting all there is to CAP? No. We have weekend training activities, summer encampments, and several other events to participate in. As part of their promotion through ranks, cadets are required to participate in squadron activities in addition to the weekly meetings.

    When you visit, ask about these activities.

  8. Will CAP help get me into the Air Force Academy? Yes! 10% of all U.S. military academy cadets are former CAP cadets. CAP training prepares cadets for military discipline and this will be evident in pre-appointment interviews. Earning the Billy Mitchell Award is a step to an appointment to any military academy.  One of  our former cadet commanders is now attending the Air force Academy.
  9. Will I learn to fly? Yes! Cadets are eligible for Orientation Flights which brings your classroom training from the classroom to the cockpit. Trained CAP pilots instruct cadets on the finer points of aviation with practical hands-on exercises.   Adults can earn their glider pilot rating in about 2-3 months or over a 4-day weekend.
  10. Where do I get my uniform? Cadets will receive a free Air Force blues style uniform with their initial application. This uniform includes: cap, shirt, shoes, pants and belt. We also provide used BDU and Blues uniforms to all members. These are acquired from the Colorado Wing on a on hand basis. In other words, if they have, we will try to get it for you. If they don't have it, we can't get it. Other uniform items may be purchased at Buckley Air Force Base or local Army surplus stores. CAP specific items may be ordered through the Hock Shop ( or Vanguard ( Name tapes may be ordered through Tapes 'N Tags ( Be sure to specify CAP blue with white letters. Refer to CAP Regulation 39-1 for further uniform information.
  11. What uniform do I wear? you can easily find which uniform to wear by visiting our calendar page. Any exceptions to this page will be announced in squadron meetings. Cadet will also be informed through the cadet call down (phone tree).
  12. How do I promote through the ranks? Cadets must pass leadership tests*, aerospace education tests*, physical fitness tests, participate in moral leadership labs and in squadron activities to promote to the next rank. Their must also spend a minimum of 60 days (2 months) in their current grade. Senior members can earn rank as well through testing and participating in certain activities. More information may be provided at your squadron visit. 

    * written tests with passing score of 70% or above

  13. Will I ever be called up for active duty? No. The Civil Air Patrol is a non-combatant volunteer auxiliary of the United States Air Force. We are prohibited by regulation to carry any weapons or engage in any aggressive action.
  14. As a parent, can I get involved? Yes. in order to provide the quality of service for your cadet, we rely on an active staff of senior members. We can always use more senior help. You can help grade tests, teach classes or simply encourage your cadet.

    Ask any senior member at your next visit how you can become involved in the Dakota Ridge Composite Squadron.

  15. My cadet doesn't like/want to fly. Do you offer anything else? Yes. CAP offers much more than simply flying. In addition to aviation, your cadet have the opportunity to develop excellent leadership skills while learning military espirit de corps. Dakota Ridge also has an active emergency services program which trains members in outdoor skills such a using a compass, building an emergency shelter and survival techniques. Members also can participate in radio communications and First Aid/CPR training.
  16. What measures will be taken to ensure my cadet is safe? All senior members are required by CAP regulations to be fingerprinted and submit to an FBI background check. They are further required to attend Cadet Protection Policy Training (CPPT). Under the Cadet Protection Policy, no senior member is allowed to be alone with a cadet. This is a national CAP policy and is taken very seriously.
  17. Will my cadet be forced to do push-ups or some other physical activity as a form of punishment? No. Under the Cadet Protection Policy, any form of physical punishment, or hazing, is strictly prohibited. Any member engaged in such activity is subject to disciplinary action including expulsion for CAP and criminal charges.
  18. How do I keep informed? We have several ways of getting the word out on squadron events and activities. We typically make announcements at each meeting concerning upcoming events. We also maintain this web site which contains a calendar of events, both short term and year at a glance. Cadets will be contacted by their cadet staff via telephone. We also have a squadron mailing list. You can join at:
  19. How much does it cost? Initial membership fees are $72 for cadets ($36 for National/$36 for squadron) and $106 for seniors ($70 for National/$36 for squadron). National renewal fees are $36 for cadets and $60 for seniors. Squadron fees remain $36. Other cost incurred are uniform costs, equipment costs, fees for activities and other miscellaneous charges.
  20. What is it worth? Our members, cadets, parents and seniors, will tell you that CAP is one of the best investments they've ever made. The training, experience and growth you or your cadet will receive is priceless.