CAP Cadet History Project

This is not a comprehensive summary of cadet involvement in ES.  It provides a manual-based historical perspective on how National HQ viewed cadets.  Of course some Wings/Squadrons have evolved over the years with each contributing to different degrees, but in general, given the opportunity cadets have participated in the same capacity in ES/SAR since the early 1970s.

After the successful sub patrol experiment early in CAP's existence, its members embraced a litany of aerial missions: courier, coastal patrol, liason/border patrol, target towing, food drops to a variety of stranded people (iced-in ships, wilderness), search and rescue, flood monitoring, and fire patrol.  CAP was also found in a variety of missions on the ground, for instance, during natural disaters, search and rescue, manning radios, and Civilian Defense exercises.  Cadets participated in Emergency Services missions almost from the beginning.  Robert Neprud noted in his 1948 book Flying Minute Men that during WWII cadets were involved in ground search and rescue, levy repair, flood relief, and scene security of downed aircraft.  Activity in such missions varied from region to region with some cadets not participating at all.

From the 1942 Civil Air Patrol Handbook:

"The composition, training and operations of CAPC units will be governed by the same directives used by CAP except that Cadets will not be assigned to flying duty…"

Cadets couldn't fly the plane, but they could be observers.

Update to 1942 Civil Air Patrol Handbook, March 1943:

"Flight training will be optional for Cadets.

No Cadet under 16 will be carried aloft, or will enter or approach an aircraft with the engine running.

A Cadet 16 or over may fly or may enter or approach an aircraft with the engine running only if he files with the CAP unit written consent from parent or guardian.

Cadets will not participate in CAP operations [war operations] except by order of the National Commander in emergency.  They may participate in volunteer missions on assignments such as guard duty or in CAP practice missions, meetings and mobilization by order of the CAP unit commander and on such duty will be under the orders of such CAP or CAPC officers as he may assign over them."

The Handbook also listed the required training:

Primary Training

Military Courtesy
Infantry Drill
Local Office of Civilian Defense
First Aid
Interior Guard Duty
Gas Defense
Protective Concealment
Crash Procedure
Military Organization

Specialized Training

Air Navigation
Safeguarding Military Information
Operations Order
Terrain Study
Officer Duties
Map Reading
Observation & Reconnaissance
Airplane Inspection
Servicemen Duties
Military Correspondence
Physical Fitness
Radio Telephony

1944 Civil Air Patrol Handbook:

"Flight instruction will not be given to CAP Cadets [this was left to flight schools], but orientation flights and observer missions are desirable."

1949 Civil Air Patrol Manual:

"In addition to periodic drills, which are required, cadets are encouraged to take part in all senior activities except those that involve flying under hazardous conditions."

 1954 Annual Report to Congress:

753 cadets participated in aircraft wreckage marking, 1469 in actual search and rescue missions, 729 helped in Civilian Defense exercises, and 4901 participated in SARCAP (training missions).

Annual Reports, 1960s:

The Annual Reports do not mention cadets participating in SAR/ES in any capacity until the early 1970s. SAR/ES missions were detailed, but only Senior Member participation was described. 

Hawk Mountain, 1961:

Hawk Mountain began to train cadets as staff members in 1961.  Cadets were trained in SAR at Hawk almost from the beginning of the school.  See the Hawk Mountain topic for more.

Annual Reports, 1970s:

In the early 1970s cadets are mentioned and photographed while participating in practice SAR missions.  Also highlighted are the various "ranger" schools, especially those that show cadets marching through snow and rough terrain.

NEAT, 1974:

A number of SAR schools, also called "ranger" schools popped up across the nation from the 1960s and 1970s.  In 1974 these were grouped under the umbrella NEAT (National Emergency Assistance Training) classification of schools.  This constituted the first standardized training in SAR/ES nationwide.  See also this page.
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1950: "During maneuvers at Sky Harbor, N.J., Sgt. Lorraine Schugardt and Pvt. Dorothy Wilcke operate
 portable field phone switchboard.  Cadets receive intense course in disaster and emergency operations."