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What uniforms do we wear?

There are 3 basic cadet uniforms:  The short-sleeve (Air Force style) blue uniform, the ABU (camouflage) uniform and the Physical Training uniform.

  1. What is my uniform for training?
    While in Basic Cadet Training, you can wear clean, non-ripped jeans, a black t-shirt, and sneakers. Only after you have acquired all of the correct pieces of uniform and insignia may you wear the CAP uniform.
  2. Do I have to get all the uniforms right away?
    No, absolutely not. Nobody really must have every CAP uniform. In general, cadets have 2 uniforms: the “basic CAP service uniform” and the “Airman Battle Uniform” or utility uniform. The “basic CAP service uniform” is the light blue shirt/dark blue trousers uniform. Following completion of the first achievement, you’ll get a $100 voucher from National Headquarters to purchase the major components of this uniform from our uniform supplier, Vanguard Industries.  However, cadets must have a CAP uniform to get their first stripe and begin advancement through the Cadet Program, and we recommend the utility (“ABU”) uniform. Parts of this uniform may be supplied by the squadron. Other parts you’ll have to purchase. In all cases, it is ultimately the member’s responsibility to equip him or herself with the correct and complete CAP uniform.
  3. Does the Air Force provide uniforms? 
    The Air Force provides uniform assistance but does not issue uniforms to cadets. Upon completion of the first achievement in the cadet program, the General J.F. Curry Award, at the end of Basic Cadet Training, cadets will receive a $100 voucher (the “Curry Voucher”) redeemable toward the overall cost of the blues uniform from our uniform supplier, Vanguard Industries. Your approximate cost for the blues uniform, after applying the voucher, will be about $50.
  4. What if I can’t afford uniforms?
    The squadron will help you with uniform items from supply if we have them in your size and of course you can get the majority of the main pieces of the blue service uniform with the “Curry Voucher.” You still may have to purchase some parts of your uniforms depending on what we have available in unit supply.
  5. Where can I get the uniforms?
    The squadron’s supply maintains a stock of used uniform parts for issue to cadets, but the sizes and availability vary considerably. Additional components for CAP uniforms may be obtained through several sources.
    The primary source is the Civil Air Patrol's uniform store run by Vanguard and can be found at http://www.vanguardmil.com. Other components of the CAP-distinctive uniforms can be picked up on the commercial market at various online or local retailers as long as they meet the color & design specifications. USAF-style uniform items may be purchased at an AFB Military Clothing Sales Store. Ebay is also another great place to find used Air Force uniform parts at a good price. items such as boots and shoes can often be found at local surplus stores.
  6. Do I get to keep my uniforms?
    If you are issued a CAP uniform from the unit or obtain component parts via the Curry Voucher program, you must return it to the unit when you leave CAP. You keep anything you have personally purchased.
  7. What happens if I outgrow my uniforms or they become torn or soiled?
    Fair wear and tear is a part of doing business. If the unit supply has the uniform part in stock, then you may be permitted to “direct exchange” that part for a newer uniform part. However, uniforms that are intentionally abused or subjected to wear and tear that is clearly not CAP-related, such as paintball, must be replaced.
  8. What about the “doodads” that go on the uniform?
    You will receive some initial insignia by mail with your new member kit. You may also purchase additional insignia with your Curry Voucher. Other items obtained later on as a cadet advances through the program must be purchased by the member. The unit maintains a small stock of CAP grade insignia and ribbons for cadet promotion purposes, and in most cases, cadet grade is exchanged on a 1-for-1 basis when the cadet is promoted.
  9. Do I have to cut my hair?
    All cadets must meet USAF-mandated grooming standards, which emphasize a neat, conservative, and professional appearance. For men: no beards; hair off the collar, ears, and eyebrows with a tapered appearance. For women, hair must be arranged above the bottom edge of the collar. Dyes must result in natural, human hair colors. With the exception of earrings for women, all members are prohibited from wearing jewelry or ornamentation to or through the ear, nose, tongue, eyebrows, lips, or any exposed body part visible while in uniform. You will receive more information about grooming standards in Basic Cadet Training.
  10. OK, so what kind of shoes or boots should I get to go with my uniform?
    Boots: Plain black 8-9” tall combat boots can be worn with both the blues and ABU uniform. If you have a choice between boots and shoes, opt for boots. 
    Shoes: Plain toe black leather oxford shoes without any kind of decora on or adornment. Walmart has an inexpensive pair of “crew shoes” available with non-slip soles and a plain toe for about $25 a pair. They’re called “Tred-safe” shoes and can be found in their shoe department. The leather is softer with more grain than military-issued oxfords, so they require a little extra “elbow-grease” when first polishing them to meet the uniform standards.


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