THINGS TO KNOW

CADET OATH
CADET HONOR CODE
CORE VALUES
CUSTOMS & COURTESIES
CHAIN OF COMMAND

These are some of the many items that all cadets are expected to become familiar with or memorize.

THE CADET OATH

A cadet oath serves as a training aid and states how cadets pledge to approach the challenges of cadet life. The CAP Cadet Oath is as follows:

“I pledge that I will serve faithfully in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, and 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 to prepare myself to be of service to my community, state and nation.”

The Cadet Oath is typically recited at regular squadron meetings and at special CAP activities, like encampment. Additionally, cadets are required to recite the oath from memory to be eligible for promotions. See CAPR 52-16, Section 1-4 for more information.

CAPR 52-16, Section 1-4, explains that to become eligible for advancement, cadets must typically complete one task in each program element. This principle sometimes varies; see 5-8 through and CAPVA 52-100. The unit commander is the approving authority for all achievements and awards. To be eligible for a promotion, a cadet must:

1. Be a current cadet member of CAP.
2. Possess a CAP uniform and wear it properly.
3. Be capable of reciting the Cadet Oath from memory.

THE CADET HONOR CODE

While reciting the Honor Code is not required for promotion some squadrons require cadets to cite it from memory as a standard practice in squadron meetings. The Cadet Honor Code is as follows:

“I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.”

The Cadet Honor Code establishes a common ground for cadets to compete with one another on a fair and equitable basis. It paces the way for an individual to achieve based upon his own merits. Cheating takes unfair advantage of others. It applies not only to cheating on a test but to your whole cadet life, from academics to physical education.

Taking someone’s property for whatever reason, without the permission of the owner is stealing. Willfully destroying another person’s property is the same as stealing it because the owner can no longer use his possession.

The toleration clause of the Cadet Honor Code is the backbone of the code. It makes the code work and eliminates the need for a policing body. If a cadet knows of a violation of the Honor Code and does not report it, he becomes an accessory in keeping dishonor within the Corps. Non-toleration is not “ratting” on your fellow cadets, it is simply not tolerating violations of the Cadet Honor Code, within your own Cadet Corps.

The Honor Code used by CAP is similar to the one used by cadets at the United States Air Force Academy.

THE CORE VALUES

The core values of the Civil Air Patrol establish a common set of behavioral expectations as well as a set of standards to assess member conduct. The values of Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence, and Respect serve as the ethical framework for CAP’s service to America. They are as follows:

Integrity

Integrity is the very fiber of all core values, without it all other core values cannot prevail. It is the cornerstone for all that is moral and just in our society.

Integrity is a character trait. It is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking. It is the “moral compass” – the inner voice; the voice of self-control; the basis for the trust imperative in today’s military.

Integrity has also been described as “the ability to hold together and properly regulate all of the elements of a personality.” A person of integrity, for example, is capable of acting on conviction. A person of integrity can control impulses and appetites.

Integrity also involves accepting responsibility for one’s actions, and being a morally upright person. Former Air Force Chief of Staff, General Charles A. Gabriel said, “Integrity is the fundamental premise of service in a free society. Without integrity, the moral pillars of our military strength – public trust and self-respect – are lost.”

Volunteer Service

This core value speaks of “voluntarily giving of oneself, over personal desires, to provide for the welfare of others.” We embrace this core value and reflect it in our spirit of volunteerism.

To serve is to satisfy the needs or requirements of an organization and, in the case of the CAP; it is to render service to one’s nation. A fundamental part of serving involves following rules, showing respect for others, and enforcing discipline and self-control. As a volunteer force, it is especially important that each member internalize these character traits in order to ensure success.

Excellence

Excellence ordinarily means accomplishing the mission well and that’s a good place to start breaking down this concept. In the CAP, the nature of our mission demands we focus on the results and get the job done right the first time and on time. Mission failure can have disastrous consequences and must not be tolerated.

As a moral ideal, however, excellence demands more than mission accomplishment.

To excel is to surpass, to go beyond what is expected and we must constantly strive for such results. Brigadier General (Ret.) Malham M. Wakin, wrote in an article on Air Force Core Values, “Why Strive For Excellence, Anyway?” One answer to that question may seem wonderfully simple, “If I settle for less than my best effort, then I must live with less than my best self, and I won’t then like myself very much. I shall fall short of the kind of being I could have become; I may even be what modern psychiatrists suggest is very unhealthy – I may be ashamed of what I become.”

We should always be in continual pursuit of excellence; there is no room for the “good enough” mentality in the CAP. Good enough is never good enough and anything less violates the sacred trust the American public has placed in us.

Respect

The effectiveness of any organization is greatly dependent upon the environment in which people work. We must create an atmosphere in the CAP where mutual respect abounds, making way for prosperity, innovation and excellence in serving this great nation. Respect means we value our diverse membership. We treat each other with fairness, dignity, and compassion. We work as a team.

Genuine respect involves viewing another person as an individual of fundamental worth. Obviously, this means that a person is never judged on the basis of his/her possession of an attribute that places him or her in some racial, ethic, economic, or gender-based category.

Working hand in glove with respect is that attitude which says that all co-workers are “innocent until proven guilty.” Before rushing to judgment about a person or his/her behavior, it is important to have the whole story.

CAP recognizes the core values outlined above as the foundation for how CAP members treat one another; how they treat the recipients of CAP’s humanitarian service; and how they care for the corporate assets under their control. These basic commandments form CAP’s ethical centerline – a moral compass for the organization. If one member fails to uphold these values, then, the entire organization suffers.

CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES

Have you ever felt out of place at a function because everyone else seemed to know what to do but you didn’t? How about your first day at a new job or in a new school? Every organization has some system of etiquette, a set of customs and mores that define the conduct of individuals belonging to the organization. This system defines how to act and speak in certain situations, and in general how members go about the way of life unique to that organization.

But why does a civilian volunteer organization like CAP emphasize military customs and courtesies?

Since every organization has a system of traditions it uses to define the conduct of its members, CAP being the Air Force Auxiliary, has adopted a set of customs and courtesies based on those practiced by the US Air Force. In the broadest sense, customs and courtesies are proven traditions of military protocol that explain what should and should not be done.

Pride In CAP

CAP members are expected to follow the traditions, standards, customs, and courtesies agreed to and accepted by the USAF and CAP. To do so reflects pride in CAP and the level of professionalism CAP demonstrates to its customers, to its Air Force partners, and to the communities where its members serve and live. Customs and courtesies show mutual respect and create a sense of fraternity among military members and CAP members.

Rooted In Politeness

A courtesy is kind, polite behavior often linked to a custom. A military courtesy is an action taken to honor a person because of his or her grade or position, or an action to show honor to an object, such as the flag, because of what it represents. For example, the position of honor has always been to the right, and senior officers (those with higher grade) will always walk to the right of others.

Military customs and courtesies are
never a mark of inferiority or servility.

CAP has published a document which explains customs and courtesies. The document covers these topics:

• Grade structure of CAP
• Titles of address
• Customs and courtesies
• General rules for saluting
• Reporting to senior officers
• Honoring the flag indoors
• The National Anthem & The Pledge of Allegiance
• Three important drill positions

Did you know?

Did you know that CAP members don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance while wearing Air Force-style uniforms? (For more information, see Respect On Display, page 11)

THE CHAIN OF COMMAND

Since CAP was first established in 1941 its objectives included things such as educating American citizens, encouraging volunteer service, and providing aerospace and aviation training. In order to accomplish all this CAP has established a chain of command.

A chain of command gives each individual a clear path by which to pass information up and down, carry out orders, and to accomplish the mission.

CAP is organized into five basic levels of command:

> National
> > Regional
> > >Wing
> > > > Group
> > > > > Squadron

Willie Composite Squadron is part of the East Group, which is part of the Arizona Wing, which is located in the Southwest Region. So for our squadron the chain of command is this:

> National Headquarters
> > Southwest Region
> > > Arizona Wing
> > > > East Group
> > > > > Squadron 304

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