Learning about CAP

The best way to start is by attending a few meetings to learn more about CAP. This also allows you to get to know the current members and for them to get to know you. The meetings take place every Tuesday at the Reid-Hillview Airport (see the "Contact Us" page for driving directions).

You may also request information on how to join CAP from National Headquarters.

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Joining CAP - Cadet Members

To become a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol you MUST be at least 12 years old and you must be no older than 18.

For information on how to join, please email us on how to join.

Joining CAP - Senior Members

You do not have to be a pilot! Many of the opportunities CAP has to offer do not require any knowledge of flying at all!

We have a place for you . . . cadet programs, aerospace education, emergency services, communications specialist, media relations, personnel, safety, and many more.

All applicants for Senior membership must:

  1. possess the desire, willingness, and capability to promote the objectives and purposes of Civil Air Patrol;
  2. be at least 18 years old (unless an active duty members of the Armed Forces, who may join at any age);
  3. be a United States citizen or alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the US;
  4. have no felony conviction by any court of record whether federal, state, or military;
  5. have no pattern of arrests and/or convictions including but not limited to sex offenses, child abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), dishonesty, or violence;
  6. Former members of active duty military must have been discharged under honorable conditions.

Prospective officers are required to attend at least three squadron meetings before we process your membership application. This way, you have the chance to determine for yourself if CAP is a good fit for you before you pay the membership dues. During these first three meetings, you will be introduced to the other officers and the Membership Committee.

All prospective Senior Members must submit the following items to the Squadron 36 Personnel Officer before processing of the application can begin:

  1. One (1) original and two (2) completed copies of CAP Form 12, Application for Senior Membership in Civil Air Patrol. (Form 12 can be obtained from the Personnel Officer or online in Word or PDF formats. Each copy should be typewritten or computer generated and must include an original signature signed in black ink. The unit address is:

    CAP Squadron 36
    2490 Cunningham Ave
    San Jose, CA 95148

    The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has established a website for veterans to access their DD-214 online. Veterans applying for senior membership in the Civil Air Patrol may find this website useful when completing CAP Form 12 (Word or PDF) Application for Senior Membership in Civil Air Patrol, which asks for information regarding their prior military service.

  2. One (1) copy of the applicant's current driving record from the State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This document can be obtained for a nominal fee from your local DMV office (or by mail using this form).
  3. Names of three personal references, including addresses and phone numbers. Please list the type of relationship (e.g., coworker, supervisor, friend, etc). Each of these references needs to have known you for at least one year.
  4. CAP Form 60 (Emergency Notification Data); available on-line as Word or PDF.
  5. A statement that identifies the applicant's occupation and place of employment for the preceeding three (3) years. If the applicant is retired or unemployed, a statement to that effect shall be submitted.
  6. Information regarding previous membership in any youth oriented groups.
  7. For all non-U.S. citizens, you must include a copy of your Alien Registration Card (Form I-151 or I-551) on a separate sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper, centered on the page.
  8. One (1) completed Form FD-258, FBI Applicant Fingerprint Card (electronic version is not acceptable; fingerprint cards may be obtained from the Squadron Personnel Officer). Only the blue card is accepted and the original signature must be signed in black ink. Although blue fingerprint cards from other sources are permitted, cards obtained from CAP are preferred, as they have preprinted information on them. This card must contain legible prints and must be free of defects, such as tears, folds, and smudges. Please check your local law enforcement agency or Pass and ID Office at your local military base to determine if they offer fingerprinting for CAP members.

All prospective new members must be screened by the squadron membership board. Once the membership board approves you as a new member, then your application and FBI fingerprint card are sent to national headquarters for final processing, which includes an FBI background check. Assuming you pass the FBI background check, you should expect to receive your membership card in the mail three to four weeks after we send your application to national headquarters. You can still participate in squadron meetings while waiting for your membership card, but until your FBI background check comes back to us "clean," your interaction with the Squadron will be limited.

We recommend that you keep copies of ALL documents provided to CAP for your personnel files.

You will also need to provide two checks for dues. The first check, which covers the first year of dues for new members, should be made out to "NHQ, Civil Air Patrol " in the amount of $89.00 (for Senior Members, Cadets are $40.00). A second check, payable to "Civil Air Patrol" in the amount of $72.00, is for the first year of dues to the local unit. Squadron 44 operates on an October to September fiscal year, and the dues are prorated for members who joined in months other than October (see chart below).

National Dues
Cadet New or Renewal $40
Senior Member New $89
Senior Member Renewal $79
National Patron New/Renew $35
Cadet Sponsor New $30
Cadet Sponsor Renew $20
Squadron 36 Dues
Month Cadet's SM's
October $36 $72
November $33 $66
December $30 $60
January $27 $54
February $24 $48
March $21 $42
April $18 $36
May $15 $30
June $12 $24
July $9 $18
August $6 $12
September $3 $6

After completing all of the forms, meet with the Squadron Membership Committee which reviews your application. For more information about the membership screening process, you can review chapter 3 of Civil Air Patrol Regulation 39-2. If reviewed and approved, a temporary membership card will be issued by National Headquarters. You will receive this card through e-mail, and will receive your permanent card after the background check has been completed.

Every squadron has many jobs that need to be performed to make the squadron function. You will be expected to hold one of these jobs. For example, you might decide that you would like to train to be the Communications Officer, Finance Officer, Personnel Officer, Administrative Officer, Recruiting and Retention Officer, etc. The list of available positions is large (there are many more than are listed here). Don't worry if you don't have any experience with a job you might be interested in, we will train and mentor you to perform well in the job of your choosing. Visit this link, and scroll down to the publications P200 - P229 to see all of the available squadron jobs and what they entail.

Aside from your squadron job, you can also train and become qualified to perform emergency services missions as aircrew, ground team, or mission base staff. This is exciting, rewarding service, often performed directly on behalf of the U.S. Air Force. Ask us about it!

Membership Benefits, Rewards, and Recognition - General Information

As a CAP volunteer, your rewards are not monetary, but they are as tangible as money in the bank. Nothing compares to the sense of satisfaction that comes with a job well done, particularly if that job is saving lives or aiding communities. As a CAP member, you will be recognized as a vital member of a national team with a tremendous heritage of serving those in need - and doing it well. Advancement in Civil Air Patrol is clearly visible to your friends, family and business associates by the distinctive CAP uniforms with their military-style grade insignia, ribbons and badges. Some members choose to quietly serve and not wear a uniform.


Civil Air Patrol offers aerospace education and a wide variety of leadership and technical training opportunities for all CAP members, including Air Force correspondence courses. Special training is also conducted for those participating in search and rescue as mission pilots, observers or ground team members. Communications training is highly specialized and presents unique opportunities to network with other communicators from around the country. These new skills, and the self-confidence that goes with them, make you even more valuable in the workplace and in other community activities.