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How Cadets "Rank Up"

Three diamonds signify the cadet Colonel rank.Advancement in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program is not automatic. Cadets are expected to dedicate time and effort developing skills and knowledge in the four key areas of cadet life: LeadershipAerospaceFitness, and Character. In general, for each promotion the cadet must:

  • Pass open-book leadership test online
  • Pass a drill and ceremonies test
  • Pass open-book aerospace test online
  • Participate in a fitness activity
  • Participate in a character forum
  • Participate actively in unit activities
  • 8 weeks’ (56 days’) elapsed since previous achievement
  • Have demonstrated the attitudes, behaviors, and skills identified as the achievement’s “Leadership Expectations”
  • Recognition: Additional stripe, ribbon, more challenges, and excitement

Some achievements require a "milestone" test, which is a closed-book, comprehensive examination of the cadet's knowledge of the Leadership and Aerospace materials. The milestone achievements are:

  • The Wright Brothers Award: This achievement moves the cadet into the NCO ranks, and awards the grade of Cadet Staff Sergeant (C/SSgt). This marks the end of the Learning phase of the cadet's career, and the beginning of their Leadership phase.
  • The Billy Mitchell Award: Cadets who earn the Mitchell Award are advanced to Cadet Officer, with the grade of Cadet 2nd Lieutenant (C/2d Lt). The cadet now enters the Command phase of their CAP career.
  • The Amelia Earhart Award: The cadet officer moves to the Executive phase of their career, and are promoted to the grade of Cadet Captain (C/Capt).
  • Gen Ira C Eaker Award: The cadet becomes a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel (C/Lt Col), and begins preparing for their final achievement.
  • The Spaatz Award: Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor. It is presented to cadets who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education. Only 5 out of every 1,000 cadets will earn this achievement.
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