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circa late 1950s

Jet Age Orientation Course, 1958-70:

Female cadets only.  "Designed to provide an orientation in career opportunities for women in aviation, both in the USAF and commercial aviation."

52 female honor cadets attended this one week course at Maxwell AFB, AL.  It became the Aerospace Age Orientation Course after 1960.

Stewardess Orientation Course, 1964:

Several research sources state the Stewardess Orientation badge, pictured below, was authorized in 1964.  Ostensibly, this means that the first Stewardess Orientation Course was held in or before 1964.Through my own research in the Annual Reports to Congress, I can only find the Stewardess Orientation Course mentioned in 1968, 1969, and 1970.  Eastern, Frontier, American, and North Central Airlines were cited as sponsors. 

The badge was awarded to female cadets who completed the stewardess orientation course held by a commercial airline.  It was worn centered above the ribbons.

circa early 1970s


Jet Orientation Course, 1955-70:

Male cadets only.  This activity was conducted on a trial basis in 1955, and became a permanent activity in 1956.  The first JOC was held at Tyndall AFB, FL.  Subsequent JOCs were held at Perrin AFB, TX where 52 male honor cadets received a minimum of five hours of time in jets.

Maj Gen Lucas V. Beau International Challenge

Trophy, held in Toronto, Ontario.


This is not an exhaustive list of National Cadet Special Activities.  It's a look at the bygone special activities, and traces the origins of the current and historic activities.

Dates, and major changes such as inclusion of female cadets, were established through manuals and the Annual Reports to Congress, which reported inconsistently.

Requirements for NCSA (excluding the drill competitions):

From 1948-57, cadets were selected for special activities based on their personality and accomplishments.  No specific CAP accomplishment was required.  For instance, cadets selected for IACE had to possess a litany of personality traits which included bearing, poise, and manners.  In 1957 CAP included the COP in the list of requirements for special activities and scholarships.  When the 1964 cadet program was implemented, the Mitchell award became the required achievement.  Over the years some of the activities reduced the achievement requirements.

So far, I have been unable to find when the Earhart Award became required for selection to IACE.

National Drill Competition, 1948-65:

Col George A Stone Memorial Trophy

Link to IACE page

National Flight Encampment, 1965:

The 1965 Annual Report to Congress celebrated the first national flight encampment held at Elmira, NY, and cited the biggest obstacle to regular flight encampments: funding. Twenty-eight cadets went through the powered course, and sixty-four through glider.  In 1966 the program expanded dramtically, and sixty cadets went through powered flight, and eighty-eight through glider.  In 1967 one hundred eighty-eight cadets enrolled in flight encampments at six locations: Elmira, NY; Lawton, OK; Reno, NV; Allentown, PA; Rock Hill and Chester SC.  In 1970 only two sites hosted flight encampments: Norman and Stillwater, OK.  All expenses were paid by CAP, except for meals.  Flight encampments disappeared on a national level in 1971. Several Wings held successful and regular encampments. The national program was resurrected in 1996.


International Air Cadet Exchange, 1948 - present:

All Girls Encampment, Lackland AFB, 1957

INTRAnational and Inter-regional Cadet Exchange, 1953-71:

This activity was introduced "due to the reluctance of foreign countries to exchange girls and provide a worthwhile activity similar to the Male International Cadet Exchange."  In 1953, 8 females (one from each region) were sent to Hawaii.  In 1954 Alaska and Puerto Rico were added.  The exchange was not held in 1957 due to budget limits.  The exchange returned in 1958 as the Inter-regional Cadet Exchange.  It lasted until 1971.

All-girls Encampment, 1952-57:

In the beginning, only one girl from each Wing was selected for this national encampment held at Lackland AFB, TX.  Within a couple of years, two girls per wing were selected.  According to the Annual Reports to Congress, the encampment focused on leadership training.  The Annual Reports do not state how many days the encampment lasted.

International Drill Competition, 1948-57:

Space Age Orientation Course, 1962-78:

Initially this course was for male cadets with the COP or Mitchell Award only.  By around 1970 male and female cadets could attend, and had to complete four phase II achievements.  This course taught cadets the basic theories of rocket propulsion and missile guidance and control systems.  Held at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL for one week.

FAA Orientation Course, 1962-78:

Initially this course was for male cadets with the COP or Mitchell Award only.  By 1970, females were allowed, and cadets had to have completed four phase II achievements.  Cadets "received instruction in ground control approach and control tower procedures, weather, air traffic control, and many other aspects of the FAA system."  Held at Will Rogers Field, OK, for one week.

Spiritual Life Conferences, 1966-70:

Male and female cadets.  Basically, this was moral leadership camp held by Air Force Chaplains at numerous locations around the US.

CAP Cadet History Project

circa early 1970s