CAP Cadet History Project

Multi event Cadet Physical Fitness Test, 1998:

Prior to 1998 the mile run was the only required assessment of cadet physical fitness.  In 1998 CAP introduced the CPFT which was comprised of five possible events: the mile run, shuttle run, sit and reach, push ups, and curl ups (sit ups).  Results were given a score taken from a table.  Cadets had to earn enough points to pass the achievement requirement, which increased with difficulty. 

In 2003, the requirements changed to "run (mile or shuttle), plus two out of three" of the remaining events. 

In 2015 the shuttle run was dropped as a run option. 


Early in the war the government found that enlistees were in generally poor physical condition, and that an unacceptable number of recruits were turned away due to conditioning issues.  The war department published a manual on physical fitness which detailed an exercise program for high school students.  The CAPC incorporated this into cadet training.  The Preflight Study Manual advised cadets "to devote an hour a day to physical training, which should include four groups of exercises:
1) Calisthenics
2) Dual Exercises, including Combat Games and Carries
3) Swimming and Running
4) Recreational Athletics and Group Games"

The manual went on to give much more advice on fitness and demonstrate the exercises cadets should perform.

This was the last manual to detail a physical fitness program for cadets until 1964.  In the meantime, CAP only advised cadets should be in "excellent physical condition."


When CAP released the new "Sorenson" cadet program in 1964, they installed physical fitness as a pillar of the cadet training program on equal footing with Aerospace Education, Moral Leadership, and Leadership.  NHQ published CAPP 35, the The Civil Air Patrol Physical Fitness Program for Male and Female Cadets.  It advised cadets to exercise five days per week and also detailed the test for each phase.  The physical fitness test was comprised of multiple exercises that had to be completed without rest.  The program was completely the responsibility of the individual cadet.  Cadets were periodically tested inbetween phases to insure improvement. 

According to the manual "use of the program for group calisthenics is not authorized."


From the 1944 Preflight Study Manual

Adopted by the cadet program in 1970.  Cadets had to earn points through the week, and complete the mile run.

Link to CAPP 35



The program established in 1964 remained in place until 1970 when CAP published a new manual, The New Aerobics.  The program was also used by the Air Force and civilians.  The new program replaced the 1964 tests with the timed 1 mile run, required for each achievement, with an increasing level of difficulty by achievement level.  In the early 1990s, CAP based the mile run standards on age, sex, and achievement level.  The program also required cadets to earn exercise points during the week.  Cadets "earned a minimum of 30 points per week - earned by taking part in various physical activities... [cadets] should study the aerobics book, and plan the physical activities that you like..."

Local units adhered to the weekly points requirement with varying levels of intensity - some ignored it completely. 

For most the major focus was the mile run only, along with regular PT-based meetings.

This program remained the same until the Cadet Physical Fitness Test (CPFT) was introduced in 1998.