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Cadet Uniforms


Civil Air Patrol cadets wear an Air Force-style uniform in order to: 

  • Provide a positive public image of CAP

  • Build esprit de corps

  • Enhance professionalism 

The wear of the uniform serves as a significant representation of CAP's organizational heritage and unique affiliation as the Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. 

To distinguish CAP uniforms from those worn by the Air Force, CAP uses distinctive emblems, insignia, and badges that differentiate members from military. 


Wear of the Uniform

It is critical for CAP members to maintain a high standard of dress and personal appearance through five key elements: neatnesscleanlinesssafetyuniformity, and good organizational image

The public draws certain conclusion on military effectiveness based on the image that CAP members present; thus, that image must instill public confidence and leave no doubt that CAP members adhere to the Core Values and are effective and professional in executing CAP's missions. 

The compliance elements of uniform wear reside in CAP Regulation 39-1 Civil Air Patrol Uniform Regulation

Grooming Standards

Cadets must maintain military-style grooming standards at all times to include: 

  • For males:  Hair cut to proper length and shaving of facial hair (neatly groomed mustaches are allowed)

  • For females:  Hair neatly kept; for hair exceeding shoulder-length, placed into a bun, braided, or ponytail 

Weight Standards

Cadets over the age of 18 years are subject to weight standards proportionate to height (see chart below). 

Cadets over the age of 18 years who do not meet CAP weight standards are not permitted to wear the Air Force-style uniform and must wear the uniform equivalent authorized for senior members in accordance with CAP uniform regulations. Such cadets are still required to meet grooming standards. 


Cadet Uniforms

CAP cadets wear two primary uniforms:

  • Service Uniform

  • Utility Uniform (Field Uniform)

These uniforms above are the most commonly worn uniforms that cadets should possess and maintain for ready wear. More information about these uniforms can be found further down on this page. 


Official Uniforms

Service uniforms (often referred to as "blues") are those worn for more formal purposes and include: 

  • Class A-Style Service Dress — Consisting of a blue button-up shirt, blue tie (males) or tie tab (females), and service coat (blazer) with dress pants and dress shoes. Ribbons are required to be worn on the service coat. This uniform is appropriate for elegant corporate settings. A civilian equivalent of this uniform would be a business suit. 

    *NOTE:  Class A uniforms may be worn with either a flight cap (also known as a "garrison cap" or "side cap") or a service cap (also known as a "peaked cap'); however, service caps have fallen out of normal  wear tradition for the Air Force outside of senior officers. 
    *NOTE:  Females may wear a low-cut or high-cut style service coat. 

    Below:  Male cadet officer and enlisted, and female cadet officer and enlisted variations of Class A Service Dress

  • Class B-Style Service Uniform — Similar to the Class A-Style Service Dress without the service coat. The blue button-up shirt may be short-sleeved or long-sleeved. When a long-sleeved shirt it worn, a tie is required. This uniform is appropriate for casual corporate settings. A civilian equivalent of this uniform would be a button-up shirt or clean polo shirt and dress pants. 

    *NOTE:  While ribbons must be worn on the service coat, ribbons are optional for wear on the blue button-up shirt. In Air Force tradition, officers do not usually wear ribbons while enlisted personnel do. 
    *NOTE:  A tie may be worn with the short-sleeved shirt; however, Air Force tradition does not typically wear a tie with short-sleeved Class Bs. 
    *NOTE:  While there is no requirement as to when short- or long-sleeved shirts are appropriate, it is common to wear short-sleeved shirts in warmer seasons and long-sleeved shirts in colder seasons. 
    *NOTE:  Female cadets may choose to wear a tuck-in or untucked style shirt. 

    Below:  Male cadet officer and enlisted variations of the long-sleeved Class B, and male cadet officer and enlisted variations of the short-sleeved Class B


    Below:  Female cadet officer and enlisted variations of the long-sleeved Class B, and female cadet officer and enlisted variations of the short-sleeved Class B

  • Semi-Formal Uniform — Similar to the Class A-Style Service Uniform with a different arrangement of accoutrements on the service coat and a white button-up shirt instead of a blue button-up shirt. No headgear is worn with this uniform. This uniform is appropriate for elegant, black-tie affair settings, such as a wedding or banquet dinner. The civilian equivalent of this uniform would be a tuxedo. 

    *NOTE:  Cadets wear the Semi-Formal Uniform instead of the "Mess Dress" tuxedo-style uniform (worn by CAP officers) as an enlisted-rank dress uniform. 

    Below:  Male cadet enlisted and female cadet officer variations of the Semi-Formal Uniform

Utility uniforms are those worn for everyday work duties and the field (outdoors) operations environment. CAP cadets wear the tiger-stripe digital camouflage-style Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) as the utility uniform. Despite its name, CAP cadets do not train for or engage in any combative missions. The U.S. military has adopted wear of utility uniforms as the normal, everyday uniform for office details and classroom environments in addition to outdoor training. 

Flight Duty Uniforms (FDU, also known as "flight suits") may be worn by cadets who are are pursuing or currently possess an aeronautical rating in accordance with CAP flight training and flight mission programs. These uniforms can be worn while performing preparation, preflight, in-flight, post-flight, and other flight related duties associated with aircraft operations. 


Additional and Unofficial Uniforms

Physical Training (PT)

Unlike military branches, CAP does not provide or recognize an official uniform for physical fitness training activities. Units in CAP are free to establish their own standard operating procedure or practice for designating a fitness uniform. 

The squadron presently adopts a PT uniform which consists of a grey "Civil Air Patrol" t-shirt, blue shorts with the CAP seal, white athletic socks (ankle-style), and athletic shoes (sneaker- or cross-training style) of any color pattern. Additionally, grey "Civil Air Patrol" hooded or crew-neck sweatshirts and grey sweatpants with the CAP seal may also be worn. 

The PT uniform is commonly worn for activities where wearing an official CAP uniform may not be appropriate but maintains a unit standard and esprit de corps. 


Motivational Attire

In addition to any uniform items, cadets may be asked to wear "CAP moto, "military moto," or "patriotic moto" which consists of personally-selected articles of clothing representative of Civil Air Patrol, the U.S. military, or Americanism. These articles must be free of any political affiliation, profanity, references to violence, or sexual content or innuendos and should maintain a professional image when worn. 

Motivational attire may be preferred over the PT uniform for activities in which wearing a fitness uniform may not be appropriate or practical (such as outdoor social gatherings or field trips). 


Polo Shirts

CAP members often wear polo shirts in lieu of Air Force-style uniforms. Traditionally, cadets do not wear polo shirts at CAP activities; however, cadets may wear CAP polo shirts as civilian attire and leisure wear. 

Polo shirts can be purchased through the Vanguard Industries website




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