Cadet Grades & Promotion Guide

Cadet Program Achievement Structure - The Cadet Program is comprised of sixteen achievements divided into four phases. The completion of each phase is marked by the awarding of a milestone award. The milestone awards mark the cadet's transition from one phase of the Cadet Program into another phase where he or she will assume new leadership roles commensurate with his/her increased maturity and development as a cadet.


There are five milestone awards in the Cadet Program.

  • Wright Brothers Award - marks completion of Phase I
    The Wright Brothers Award signifies completion of Phase I of the Cadet Program and promotion to the grade of Cadet Staff Sergeant. It is at this level where cadets really begin to exercise the leadership education they've been given, as they become eligible for staff positions within the unit with increased responsibility and authority.
  •  General Billy Mitchell Award - marks completion of Phase II
    The General Billy Mitchell Award is a significant milestone award as it not only signifies the completion of Phase II and promotion to the grade of cadet second lieutenant but also entitles the recipient to additional special benefits. These benefits include eligibility for CAP scholarships, participation in Air Force Institute for Advanced Distributed Learning (AFIADL) programs, credit towards AFROTC's General Military Course, and advancement to the grade of E-3 (Airman First Class) upon enlistment in the USAF. Service academies also look favorably upon cadets who have achieved the Mitchell Award.
  • Amelia Earhart Award - marks completion of Phase III
    The Amelia Earhart Award signifies completion of Phase III of the Cadet Program and promotion to the grade of Cadet Captain. On top of the benefits awarded for the Mitchell, Earhart cadets become eligible to participate in the International Air Cadet Exchange, and to compete to become a CAP Cadet of the Year. The winner of the National Cadet of the Year Award receives special recognition at the CAP annual Summer National Board and Conference and receives a cash award from given in the name of the Air Force Association.
  •  General Ira C. Eaker Award - marks completion of Phase IV
    The fourth milestone award is the General Ira C. Eaker Award, signifying completion of Phase IV of the Cadet Program. Cadets receiving this award promote to Cadet Lieutenant Colonel and become eligible to test to receive the General Carl A. Spaatz Award.
  • Carl A. Spaatz Award - the highest award in the Cadet Program
    The fifth and final milestone award, General Carl A. Spaatz Award, is conferred upon a cadet who completes the entire Cadet Program and successfully passes the Spaatz Award Examination. Less than one half of one percent of all cadets achieve this prestigious award named in honor of the first Chief of Staff of the US Air Force and first Chairman of the CAP National Board.


Recipients of the Mitchell, Earhart, Eaker and Spaatz milestone awards are also entitled to advanced grade and achievement in the CAP Senior Member Professional Development Program






Nearly everything you would want to know
about the Cadet Program, at a glance.







Achievement 1
John Curry
Achievement 2
Hap Arnold
Achievement 3
Mary Feik
Wright Brothers
Achievement Requirements    




Achievement 4
Eddie Rickenbacker
Achievement 5
Charles Lindbergh
Achievement 6
Gen Jimmy Doolittle
Achievement 7
Robert Goddard
Achievement 8
Neil Armstrong
C/2d Lt
Gen Billy Mitchell




C/2d Lt
Achievement 9
Flight Commander
C/1st Lt
Achievement 10
Admin. Officer
C/1st Lt
Achievement 11
Public Affairs
Amelia Earhart





Achievement 12
Leadership Officer

Achievement 13
Aerospace Officer

Achievement 14

Achievement 15
Logistics Officer

Achievement 16

C/Lt Col
Gen Ira C Eaker


Download CAP cadet grade mini poster


Cadets will meet all of the promotion requirements as required by CAPR 52-16, Cadet Program Management.

A promotion checklist is available for each grade level and must be completed in its entirety and turned into the Personnel Officer or their designee no later han the close of the meeting one week prior to the month’s promotion ceremony. Cadets who turn in their checklist after this time will be promoted the following month.

a. Time in Grade. The cadet will not receive a promotion to the next grade level until holding their current grade for a minimum of 60 days per achievement. NOTE: JROTC cadets have a truncated minimum time in grade as outlined by CAPR 52-16.

b. Leadership Test. The cadet will have passed the required Leadership test in accordance with their current achievement. Passing score for achievement tests is 70%. Milestone award examinations have a passing score of 80%. The number of attempts made to pass this test will not be taken into consideration for promotion. Tests will be administered on the regularly scheduled testing night; any exceptions will be previously arranged by the cadet directly with, and at the convenience of, the Testing Officer and with the approval of the Cadet Commander.

c. Aerospace Test. The cadet will have passed the Aerospace Education test required by their achievement. Passing score is 70% or higher. The number of attempts made to pass this test will not be taken into consideration for promotion. Tests will be administered on the regularly scheduled testing night any exceptions will be previously arranged by the cadet directly with, and at the convenience of, the Testing Officer and with the approval of the Cadet Commander.

d. Staff Duty Analysis (SDA). Applicable only to officers, cadets must complete an SDA for every achievement, as described in CAPP 52-14. The Cadet Commander will review SDAs and sign off on them. The DCC or Personnel Officer will review the C/CC’s SDAs for promotion. In addition, Staff Service Requirements must be met for Phase III and Phase IV as described in CAPP 52-14; cadets will submit the required documentation memorandum to the Cadet Commander for review along with obtaining the signature of the senior to whom they were apprenticed.

e. Cadet Physical Fitness Test. The cadet must satisfactorily pass the CPFT with at least the minimum score detailed in CAPR 52-18. The number of attempts made to pass this test will not be taken into consideration for promotion. The CPFT will be offered once each month. Cadets are expected to be prepared to take the CPFT. Per CAPR 52-18; the CPFT must be taken in its entirety within one hour from the start time. Cadets will test monthly in all four events; although they only need to pass two out of three plus either of the running portions. Cadets with excused absences on the night of the CPFT may arrange a make up testing directly with, and at the convenience of, the Deputy Commander of Cadets and with the approval of the Cadet Commander.

f. Aerospace Mentor. From Achievement 8 through the Earhart Award a cadet must serve as an Aerospace Education Mentor at least once per achievement in order to receive a promotion. In order to receive credit for mentoring, the cadet must work with a junior cadet who has previously failed an Aerospace Education exam on the materials needed to pass the said exam. Mentoring sessions cannot be banked, and the cadet must be mentored on an Aerospace exam; Leadership and other subjects are not acceptable substitutes. It is up to the cadet seeking promotion to request a cadet to mentor from the Cadet Commander, who will assign them a cadet using the previous month’s testing results.

g. Aerospace Instructor. From the Earhart Award through the Eaker Award, a cadet must serve as an Aerospace Education Instructor at least once per achievement in order to receive a promotion. In order to receive credit as an instructor, the cadet must either personally teach or facilitate an instructor for the monthly Aerospace Education class to the squadron. Leadership presentations and other activities are not acceptable substitutes for credit.

h. Moral Leadership. In order to be promoted to the next achievement, a cadet must attend a minimum of 50% of the squadron Moral Leadership sessions since their last achievement. For Milestone Awards there are specific requirements for cadets to serve as discussion leader and recorder, as outlined in CAPR 52-16. All Moral Leadership attendance will be documented in the Moral Leadership notebook, kept by the Personnel Officer. Cadets who wish to act as discussion leader or recorder are required to put in a request to the cadet commander at least two weeks prior to the desired Moral Leadership session.

i. Essays/Speeches. For certain achievements cadets are required to prepare and give speeches and essays on various leadership topics. The requirements are found on the appropriate promotion checklists. The Personnel Officer (or designee) will grade both essay and speech using the evaluation sheets found in CAPR 52-16. Cadets will present the speech to the collective squadron cadet body, and turn their essay into the Personnel Officer. Cadets must allow the Personnel Officer a minimum of two weeks to read and grade their essay before signing off that it was satisfactory, and must coordinate in advance their availability to evaluate the speech. The Cadet Commander must also be given a minimum of two weeks’ notice about speeches so that he can put it on the schedule. If a cadet fails either event, they will be given feedback detailing what needs to improve in order to pass on the next attempt.

f. Activity Participation. The cadet must have participated in at least one Civil Air Patrol activity during the previous two months, whether it is a squadron, group, wing, region, or national activity. As a cadet progresses in rank, increased participation is expected.

g. Squadron Meeting Attendance. The cadet will have attended 6 out of the past 8 squadron meetings (75%) in order to be promoted to the next achievement. Exceptions for this rule may be made if a cadet is absent due to an official Civil Air Patrol function, such as a National Cadet Special Activity or

h. Duty Performance. As aforementioned, all cadets wishing promotion will have performed in a manner becoming their current grade and showing potential and ability to take on the increased responsibility required by a promotion. The review board will determine if a cadet has behaved in such an exemplary manner. If a cadet is to be withheld promotion, they must first be counseled and allowed an opportunity to improve and ensure the senior leadership that they are ready for a promotion.

i. Professional Appearance. The cadet will have passed an inspection for both Battle Dress Uniforms (BDUs) and Blues uniforms. The cadet commander, or designee, must sign-off that their appearance of dress is suitable for increased grade.

j. OIC Recommendation. The cadet’s OIC (Flight Commander, Cadet Commander, or NCO Instructor) must sign their checklist in confirmation that the cadet’s performance has been satisfactory to merit a promotion. The Cadet Commander will have his/her checklist signed off by the Deputy Commander for Cadets or the Squadron Commander.

4. Promotion Responsibilities
a. The Cadet. The cadet desiring a promotion is solely responsible for completing the promotion requirement, in addition to acting in a manner befitting their grade. The cadet is also responsible for studying and practicing in advance for all examinations. The cadet is solely responsible for requesting any and all information, exceptions, or clarifications of the promotion process. If a cadet fails any portion of the promotion requirements, they must wait until the next month’s opportunity to retest. Cadets will not be allowed to test every week in the off chance that they will get lucky one week and pass. As a Civil Air Patrol cadet seeking higher grade, they must display the maturity and foresight to study in advance.

b. Cadet Commander. The cadet commander is responsible for ensuring that every month’s schedule includes at least one opportunity for a cadet to complete each promotion requirement. The cadet commander (and subordinate commanders in the chain of command) will also ascertain why certain cadets are not promoting and attempt to motivate them to progress. S/He will not, however, make any exceptions for a cadet who is not making an effort.

5. Promotion Ceremony

a. Timing. The promotion ceremony is typically held during closing formation on the last meeting of the month; exceptions to this, usually due to weather or holidays, will be announced as needed.

b. Uniform. Uniform for the promotion is characteristically Blues. Some promotion ceremonies will be held in BDUs (for example, if a cadet cannot attend the blues meeting). Promotions will not occur if a cadet’s uniform is in a state of disarray and not suitable to represent Carroll Composite Squadron to the

6. Disagreements with this Policy. Any and all concerns with this policy or a decision made regarding a cadet’s promotion status will be brought to the attention of the Cadet Commander and the Deputy Commander for Cadets by the cadet personally and not by proxy through family members or other members of the squadron. Cadets are required to submit concerns through their chain of command, unless the issue is of a sensitive nature, which would require the cadet to contact the Cadet Commander and the Deputy Commander for Cadets directly.


The following is a list of commonly used terms and information that you as a cadet should memorize. You will need to recall this information throughout your Civil Air Patrol membership, so is important that you learn this and be ready to recall it when required to do so.

Mission of Civil Air Patrol: The mission of Civil Air Patrol is to employ voluntarily its resources of manpower and equipment for Search and Rescue; to fulfill its role of readiness for local and national emergencies; to motivate the youth of America to its highest ideals of leadership and public service; and to maintain this nation's air and space supremacy through a systematic aerospace education and training program.

Cadet Oath: I pledge to serve faithfully in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet program, that I will attend meetings regularly, participate actively in unit activities, obey my officers, wear my uniform properly, and advance my education and training rapidly in order to prepare myself to be of service to my community, state, and nation.

Preamble to the Constitution: We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for a common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty for ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Definition of Military Discipline: Mental attitude and state of training which renders reasoned willing obedience and proper conduct instinctively under all conditions. It is founded upon respect for, and loyalty to, the properly constituted authority.

Cadet Code of Honor: I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate anyone among us who does. Furthermore, I will resolve to do my duty and live honorably, so help me God.

Definition of Leadership: Leadership is the art of influencing people to progress with enthusiasm towards the successful completion of a mission.

First Law of a Cadet: To accept all orders and carry them out to the best of my ability without question.

CAP Motto: Semper Vigilans, Always Vigilant.  Means: “Always Watchful"

Five Responses of a Cadet: ''No / Yes Sir-", ''No Excuse Sir-", "Permission to ask a question Sir-", "Permission to make a statement Sir·" (Sir, Ma'am, Chief, or Sergeant)

Date CAP was founded: December 1,1941
Date USAF was founded: July 26, 1947

Date Public Law was enacted to create CAP as a non-profit organization: Public Law 476 July 1, 1946

Date Public Law was enacted which made CAP an official USAF Auxiliary: Public Law 557: May 26, 1948. 80th Congress, 2nd Session.

Year the Cadet Program started: 1942