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Cadets in Emergency Services

The use of qualified CAP cadets is encouraged as much as possible on appropriate missions.  Cadets should be trained in the various functions of mission operations and support as permitted. Cadets qualify no differently than adult members in emergency services qualifications, and should be properly utilized. Some basic rules need to be considered when employing cadets on missions:

  • A qualified senior member must directly supervise cadets less than 18 years of age. Cadets 18 years of age and older can be qualified to serve as ground team leaders, mission pilots, and several other positions of authority traditionally considered adult qualifications in accordance with applicable SQTRs, but cadet protection policies must be followed. If adult members are assigned to a team in a subordinate position to a cadet, the adult member may exercise command authority if necessary to avoid extreme risks endangering the team.
  • Only cadets 18 years of age and older, who hold a valid CAPF 101, Specialty Qualification Card are authorized to fly on aircraft involved in the performance of emergency services operations. Any cadet may be flown directly to and from a mission base when needed to perform mission duties, provided the pilot-in-command is at least a qualified mission transport pilot. 
  • Adult leaders shall not subject cadets to known threats of violence. We cannot assume that parents of cadets understand and expect that their cadets could be exposed to health risks that are sometimes taken for granted during disasters nor can we expect that minors (including cadets under 18) can fully appreciate those risks. Cadets under 18 shall not be exposed to conditions in which their health is jeopardized by exposure to decomposing bodies and hazardous materials. Nor, absent parental permission, may they be exposed to widespread suffering. That does not exclude cadets from qualifying and serving in specialties with a potential for exposure, but rather requires adult leaders to be cognizant of the dangers associated with the missions being undertaken and taking appropriate action to protect all members, especially cadets.
  • The requesting agency sets the scope of CAP's response, subject to any restrictions set by the Air Force authority for Air Force-Assigned Missions. Our customers tell us what assistance they need. Our customers may have minimum age restrictions. CAP shall honor those restrictions. That does not mean that CAP adult officers should discourage use of our cadets especially when discussing our capabilities with external customers. A requesting agency's minimum age restriction or specific guidance may require that we utilize these younger members in supporting roles at their home units or in safe areas away from the forward operating location in order to comply with the agency's needs, or in limited circumstances to preclude cadets from participating.
  • Cadets under the age of 18 are not provided the same benefits for Air Force- Assigned Missions as adult members. Additional information is available in paragraph 1-22, CAPR 900-5, The CAP Insurance/Benefits Program, Sections D and E, and through the NHQ CAP/GC.
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