CAP Cadet History Project


International Air Cadet Exchange, 1948 - present:

The first IACE was held in the summer of 1948 between the  CAPC and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.  Fifty CAPC cadets toured Canada for two weeks.  A comparable number of Canadian Cadets toured the US.  In 1949 the exchange expanded to include England, France, and Switzerland.  It expanded rapidly in following years.

The purpose of the IACE from the 1949 Civil Air Patrol Manual: "To promote international understanding, and thus serve the cause of peace, the Civil Air Patrol has included in its cadet activities an ambitious exchange program to give outstanding air-minded youth of each participating country an opportunity to observe the life and institutions of other nations at first hand; a chance for each to see for himself what sort of people his neighbors are and, equally important, to show them what sort of people we are."  

The competition to be selected was intense since only one cadet from each Wing was selected, and the criteria list was extensive.  The manual stated cadets should "possess literary and scholastic ability, qualities of manhood, truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy, kindness, unselfishness, and fellowship, exhibition of moral force of character and instincts to lead and to take interest in his fellow cadets, and physical vigor, as shown by an interest in outdoor sports."  The following attributes were required: health, bearing, training, poise, grooming, grammar, manners, and social graces.

In 1966 IACE was held only with Canada due to defense funds limitations while the US was increasing its presence in Vietnam.

Female cadets were not allowed to participate in the IACE until 1968.

Cadets wore their CAP uniform while on IACE until 1965.  Currently, cadets wear a modified blazer uniform.

IACE remains a highly selective special activity.  Currently, cadets must be at least 17, and have the Earhart Award.  Cadets are given three choices for country, and selection to the country of the cadet's choice is based on age, grade, and time in grade.  Airfare, activity fees, and most meals are provided for the cadet.


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This image is from a much bigger photo of the 1953 IACE.  It appears the cadets are in England.  In 1953 cadets wore a modified cadet uniform: blue USAF uniform with the Ike jacket, CAP breast badge, flight cap with metal CAPC insignia, and a "United States" rocker on the left arm.  Most of the cadets have no badges or ribbons over the left pocket.  From PA Wing archives.

An unidentified cadet presents Maj Gen Martin with an IACE tie clasp, 1963.

Vintage unknown

IACE tie clasp, 1963

Promoting international understanding at IACE in Toronto, Canada, 1951: 

Cadet M Chasa from Nova Scotia, Cadet H McIntyre, of Glasgow, Scotland and Cadet I Cordaro, PAWG

American CAP members in front of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Australia on IACE, 1972.  L to R:

Unidentified police Sergeant, C/Maj Allen Gray, C/Maj Alvin High,  C/2nd Lt Thomas Nosak, C/Capt David Anholm, C/2nd Lt Robert Haden, Unidentified, Maj John Birk, CAP

International Air Cadet Exchange Key to International Good Will Presented by the U.S. Civil Air Patrol, 1957

The key was the "idealistic symbol of the IACE."

This key was presented "to US Presidents, heads of state of all foreign countries participating in the exchange, governors of host states, and top Air Force and aviation leaders."