Civil Air Patrol offers opportunities for cadets and seniors

By Ethan Larsen

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was founded in December of 1941 and started as a mission for hunting submarines in coastal waters. It now has nearly 60,000 members, who conduct 85 percent of federal inland search and rescue missions. It is the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

CAP focuses on three primary missions: aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services. Cadet programs allow those ages 12-18 to experience flight, leadership and search and rescue training — both at the squadron and at encampment levels. Cadets who pass the Cadet Major grade may continue until age 21. Senior members are those who join CAP for the first time past the age of 18 or who are former cadets who transferred to the senior member program before turning 21. Senior members may also progress through officer grades of qualification and proficiency (non-commissioned officer is an option for those with military service), or apply for squadron and activity positions.

Pangborn Composite Squadron, based in Wenatchee, is the fourth oldest squadron in the state of Washington. The squadron meets from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday in the National Guard recruiting building at 604 Ringold St.

CAP provides meaningful opportunities for cadets, many of which are hard to come by elsewhere. Cadets may receive up to five orientation flights in CAP aircraft. These flights provide instruction as to the basic operation of planes in flight. Cadets are allowed to participate on ground teams, in exercises and with actual search missions for missing persons or aircraft.

Cadets progress through various phases, each which offers levels of enlisted or officer grades. Cadets also receive training in leadership and may serve in various staff positions within the squadron or in various activities through an application process. For promotion in the levels of grades, cadets complete tests and meet physical fitness requirements. Each promotion opens up increased opportunity and leadership responsibility. Furthermore, CAP cadets who reach the grade of Cadet Second Lieutenant (C/2d Lt.) are eligible for advanced promotion to Airman First Class (E-3) should they join the U.S. Air Force.

Through CAP, cadets have opportunities to fly, serve a real world mission, and staff or attend numerous activities and encampments for instruction on a variety of subjects. The Pangborn Composite Squadron is always looking for new members.

For more information, contact Major Doug Taylor, squadron commander, at


Ethan Larsen is a Cadet First Lieutenant with the Pangborn Composite Squadron. He has been active in Civil Air Patrol for two and a half years.