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Senior Program

Squadron 131 Patch   

Senior Members (SM) play an important role throughout the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and in our squadron. Therefore, they are responsible for managing the various operational and functional areas within our volunteer organization. The purpose of this guide is to serve as an introduction for prospective adults interested in contributing to the CAP mission, their local community, and special activities in the United States. As a potential member, we are sure there are a few questions you may be asking. This page will help guide you through it. One of the unique aspects of this squadron is our composite nature. We have both a senior member portion as well as a cadet portion. As a senior member, you can concentrate soley on the Senior member side, or you can volunteer to help out the cadets in their leadership, aerospace or other activities that you also find full filling. In either case, there are things we must first do.

Step 1

As you are not the first senior member potential applicant, there are plenty of questions you may have. To help with this, please go to the FAQ site and read through the questions and answer already prepared. If there is anything not covered here, we will be more than happy to help you out. 

Step 2

Congratulations! You made it this far so there must be something that you'd like about CAP.  As a potential member, CAP would now like you to attend at least one meeting to get a feel of what we do. There is still not cost or requirement to join. We just want to make sure we are good fit for you. Please go to the About Us page for more information on that. 

Step 3

Sounds like you liked what you saw during your meeting. Our Commander would have laid out our mission statement, what we do with our cadets, and obtained a feel of what you'd like to pursue in CAP. There is a serious of enrollment steps required at the national level. Your Squadron sponsor can help you through this. 

Step 4

As a new member in the Civil Air Patrol, the first thing you should do is meet with your Professional Development Officer (PDO) and Commander to lay out a plan of action for your CAP career. Your next task is to complete the Level 1 Orientation Course. The Orientation Course will help you gain a breadth of knowledge that will serve you well in this journey and through your entire career. The PDO will be your mentor as you proceed through the course and is there to provide guidance and advise.

Furthermore, the course focuses on the operational specialty qualifications to participate in Emergency Services missions and, thus, complements the material in the Great Start guide referenced below regarding CAP Professional Development (PD). There is no set order in which these activities need to be completed, but as a professional member of our organization, you are encouraged to progressively acquire skills and knowledge based on the amount of time you dedicate towards self-directed learning.

If you are already a pilot, CAP has its CAP Pilot Onboarding Program to get you ready to fly with us. Whether you are Civilian or Military trained, VFR to Commercial rated, CAP has the world's largest fleet of general aviation aircraft consisting of C-172, C-182, C-205, GA-8, all of which your could get checked out in.

Step 5

  • Visit the CAP National Headquarters e-Services website
  • Under "First Time Users?" click the registration link to request a password and ID
  • Complete the Operational Security (OPSEC) course

* Note: If you are having trouble or need additional assistance contact our squadron Personnel Officer (PO)

  • Update your personal and contact information in eServices by clicking your name and visiting each section (General Info, Addresses, Contacts, Characteristics) to update your information. 

Step 6

Level I Orientation Professional Development training. During this particular online course you will complete three Level I training blocks:

  • What We Value
  • Our Culture
  • Your Future

Visit CAP University to complete these online training requirements, also be sure to reference CAPR 50-17: CAP Senior Member Professional Development Program. When completed, contact your Professional Development Officer (PDO) for approval and to develop your "Plan of Action". 

*Note: Completing the Level I Orientation is a critical component of the Senior Member onboarding process and the first of CAP's five professional development program levels. Throughout the learning experience, you will be exposed to the history of our organization and familiarize yourself with the general policies and procedures. For this reason, there will not be much for you to do until the completion of your training. Thus we recommend that you finish it as soon as possible. Conversely, you should use this time to go over the Great Start material and discuss any questions or concerns with your assigned mentor. If you do not have a mentor assigned, contact the squadron Personnel Officer for mentor assignment.

The Membership Ribbon will be awarded to you after completing Level I

Customs and Courtesies

Your decision to join CAP reflects dedication and commitment to supporting this charitable, benevolent, nonprofit corporation. As a member of an Auxiliary of the United States Air Force, you are expected to follow the traditions, standards, customs and courtesies agreed to and accepted by the Air Force and the Civil Air Patrol. These apply to all of us and reflect our pride and professionalism as members of the Civil Air Patrol.  You will be required to attend a short class to learn about uniform types, uniform wear, wearing of awards, saluting, and reporting to a senior officer. As you progress through the professional development levels you will attend Squadron Leadership School (SLS) for an in-depth exploration of these topics. Review the Customs and Courtesies Pamphlet if you have any questions concerning courtesies: Customs and Courtesies Pamphlet

Selecting a Career Path

Please review the job descriptions in the Great Start guide as well as the Specialty Track guides. Afterward, provide the Professional Development team a list of three duty assignments that interest you. It is mandatory for active 216th Composite Squadron members to serve in an assigned duty position. Normally you will start out assisting another Senior Member performing that function, in most instances, to mentor you as well. Do not worry, most members are not stuck doing the same assignment throughout their CAP career -- People and positions are periodically rotated as new members join and move to other squadrons. Review this page to see the different Specialty Tracks available. You can go directly to the online listing at Specialty Tracks: Choose a Specialty. Finally, send an email to the Information Technology Officer to be added to the 216th Composite Squadron email list. Include your full name, CAPID, email address and primary phone number.

Our Uniform

The standard Senior Member duty uniform is the Blue CAP Golf/Polo shirt and Gray trousers. Currently, the Vanguard Civil Air Patrol Collection is the sole source supplier for the Golf/Polo shirt. However, some uniform items can be purchased from our local AAFES Military Clothing & Sales store and other online retailers. Initially, we recommend buying the less expensive Blue Polo shirt with screened CAP seal as you do not have an Aeronautical Rating for it to be embroidered.

  • Blue Golf Shirt/Polo Shirt (Vanguard) Blue Golf Shirt w/Screened CAP Seal -or- CAP Blue Polo Short with embroidered CAP Seal -or- Personalized CAP Blue Polo Short with embroidered CAP Seal (enter the full name and aeronautical rating in order comments)
  • Medium Gray Trousers (not denim) Tactical or Polyester Material is acceptable
  • Black Shoes
  • Black Socks
  • Black Belt

CAP Driver Permit Application

To operate a CAP corporate vehicle, you need to have a CAPF 75 CAP Driver Permit issued. The latter allows you to drive our CAP van, transport cadets or to conduct official mission business. Complete the following process:

Senior Member Ranks

As a newly minted CAP Senior Member, you can choose to either follow the officer path, Flight Officer path or the NCO path. If you come into the program with previous military experience (doesn't matter the service), your grade will be reviewed by the promoting authority for that rank for you to obtain with the proper documentation. If you are currently serving, retired or a resigned officer, you can come in at your current/former rank, or chose to go to the NCO ranks. Same with the current/former NCOs. CAP Regulation 35-5 goes into greater detail and fidelity on what military rank obtained can transfer over. 

Progression Chart*


CAPR 35-5, CAP Officer and NCO Appointments and Promotions (Includes ICL 19-08 2 Dec 19 and ICL 20-04 4 Aug 20)

CAPR 50-17, Civil Air Patrol Senior Member Education & Training Program, 4 August 2020


*Does not include NCO, Flight Officer, or Professional Appointments

1 “…or approved Professional Military Education (PME) equivalent” listed in CAPR 50-17, Attachment 2

2 Approved Courses & Activities are listed in CAPR 50-17, Attachment 3

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