CADET UNIFORMS

The definitive instruction on uniforms can be found in CAP Uniform Manual 39-1 (CLICK HERE).

Quick-start uniform instructions are available in your “New Cadet Guide” in your cadet membership package or CLICK HERE to view online.

YOUR UNIFORM
is a visual representation
of your commitment to the Core Values

Because uniforms are unique — only CAP cadets wear the CAP cadet uniform — they are a source of pride. Wearing the uniform is part of your leadership training. The uniform helps you develop self-discipline, personal responsibility, and self-respect. Whenever you wear the uniform, you represent not just yourself but also all of CAP and the U.S. Air Force, so wear the uniform with pride.

UNIFORM EXPECTATIONS

1.)  Proper uniform wear is a prerequisite for promotion at all achievement levels. This includes the first achievement, the Curry Award, and promotion to the rank of Airman. The first “inspected” uniform a cadet is expected to acquire and maintain is the ABUs, including nametapes.

2.)  Cadets (not their parents) are expected to learn how to wear their uniform correctly. This includes what items are necessary for a complete uniform, proper care of the uniform, and proper wear of the uniform.  This does not mean parents can’t assist their cadet(s), but that ultimately, it is the job of the cadet to learn and demonstrate these skills.

In Accordance With Parents’ Guide To The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program,” Page 8, “Our Philosophy for Developing Youth,” under “Status as Young Adults:
“The cadets’ seriousness of purpose distinguishes them as young adults, not children. While we remain committed to ongoing dialogue with parents, we want to see cadets  – not parents – prepare their own uniforms, follow through on commitments they make, and use the cadet chain of command to resolve their questions and concerns.”
3.)  We encourage at least one parent / guardian of a cadet join CAP. We would love to have you as a Senior Member, but at least consider becoming a CADET SPONSOR MEMBER (CSM). Annual dues are only $30 but the benefits far outweigh the price:
  • Membership comes with a CAP ID that you can use to accompany your cadet at Army Air Force Exchange Service and Air Force Military Clothing Sales on Air Force and Coast Guard bases to purchase uniform items. It is often cheaper at these military facilities than purchasing Air Force (non-CAP specific) uniform items through Vanguard.
  • You can assist as a chaperone for cadet events / activities.
  • You can ride in CAP vehicles during events / activities.
  • You can volunteer as a CAP van driver to assist in transportation for cadets and/or adult members to and from different events / activities.
  • You can help with other adult volunteer members with events / activities involving cadets.
For more information on becoming a CSM, click on the button below. The link will open a new window.

NOTE:  A cadet cannot use their CAP ID to sponsor a Parent onto a base. The parent must have their own CAP ID and a second form of government ID (See CAPM 39-1, para 1.3.2.) or other means of military base access.

IMPORTANT:  CAP Member access to a military base is exclusively for the purpose of purchasing uniform items from Military Clothing Sales. Utilizing other stores or base facilities, or making non-uniform purchases is STRICTLY PROHIBITED and can result in a loss of base access.

SAVINGS OPPORTUNITIES

Vanguard Monthly Discount Code

Vanguard distributes coupon codes monthly but ONLY via their Facebook page. We recommend you “Like” / “Follow” their Facebook page so you can see when these coupons become available. On Facebook, search: @vanmilstore .

NOTE:  This code CANNOT be used in conjunction with other discounts or the Curry Voucher.

Vanguard Shipping
  • Vanguard offers free shipping for online orders over $35.
  • When you need to make a purchase, purchase your cadet’s next several ranks and associated ribbons and ribbon racks.
  • Check with other parents to see if you can consolidate an order to conserve on shipping costs.
Vanguard “Curry Voucher” and the “Blues” Uniform

New cadets who attain their first promotion to the rank of Airman, receive a $100 voucher through Vanguard that covers a good portion of the cost of the cadet’s first Blues uniform. Because of this, the purchase and wear of the Blues uniform is not expected until after the cadet achieves their first promotion. However, the expectation is that the cadet acquires the Blues uniform as soon as practical.

Remember the following:

a)  The $100 Curry Voucher EXPIRES and it can not be re-initiated.

b)  The Curry Voucher is emailed to the cadet upon National Headquarters’ certification of the promotion. This email link contains SPECIFIC Blues uniform items the Curry Voucher may be used to purchase. (It does not cover all required Blues uniform items.)

c)  The whole $100 of the Curry Voucher has to be used in one transaction and solely for items on the Curry Voucher page. If you navigate away from the Curry Voucher page to attempt to select other uniform items not on that page, the Voucher will not work on the purchase when you attempt to check out.

d)  Other purchases can be made in a separate transaction and you can use the monthly Vanguard coupon code for that separate transaction to help reduce costs.

e)  The Squadron provides LOANER Airman rank for new cadets. This rank remains the sole property of the Mobile Composite Squadron and must be returned when the cadet is promoted to Airman First Class, or if the cadet is otherwise leaving the Squadron. If you would like a set of Airman rank to keep as memorabilia, you will need to purchase that item through Vanguard and return any loaner rank you have received.

As resources allow, the Squadron may provide other LOANER uniform items or equipment. ANY uniform or equipment items provided by the Squadron remains the sole property of the Mobile Composite Squadron and must be returned upon request of the Squadron, when the item(s) are no longer in use, or if the member is otherwise leaving the Squadron.

PURCHASING UNIFORM ITEMS

Cadets are required to maintain three types of uniforms:

  • the Physical Training Uniform (PTU)
  • the camouflage Airman Battle Uniform (ABU)
  • the “Blues” Uniform

Where to start? The PT and ABU uniforms should be obtained first. This will permit cadets to fully participate in most CAP activities.

IMPORTANT MONEY SAVER: Only after your cadet achieves his/her first promotion, will he/she need to order the “Blues” Uniform. Why? Because once promoted, your cadet will receive a $100 “Curry Blues Voucher” from Vanguard to offset the cost!

*  SQUADRON UNIFORM DONATIONS:  Our Squadron is asking members to support a new initiative to help us build a uniform supply. The intent is to offer cadets the opportunity to swap uniforms as they outgrow them. When a cadet outgrows a uniform or leaves CAP, we ask families to please donate those items to the Squadron so other cadets might use them.

**  ANY uniform or equipment items provided by the Squadron must be returned upon request of the Squadron, when the item(s) are no longer in use, or if the member is otherwise leaving the Squadron.


1. PHYSICAL TRAINING (PT) UNIFORM

 

Mandatory PT Uniform Items

  • (1) T-Shirt, Grey [approx $12 from military clothing sales]
  • (1 pair) Running Shorts, Solid Dark Blue [approx $15 from military clothing sales]
  • (1 pair) Socks, White
  • (1 pair) RUNNING Shoes
    – Athletic shoes should be RUNNING shoes that properly support the foot during endurance-based activities. Consideration should be given to shape of foot (wide or narrow toe-box, wide or narrow heel), and need for arch support or support that addresses pronation (foot turning or dropping to the inside of the arch) or supination (foot rolls to the outside edge of the foot and is much more prone to ankle injury) issues. Even if you haven’t outgrown your shoes, replace them when they become worn out and are no longer protective or supportive to the foot. It is worth the money to ensure you are properly supporting your feet, no matter who you are and what activity you are doing.

Optional PT Uniform Items (recommended for cold weather months)

  • Sweat Shirt, Grey [approx $26 from military clothing sales]
  • Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Grey [approx $20 from military clothing sales]
  • Athletic Pants / Sweat Pants, Solid Dark Blue [approx $40 from military clothing sales]
  • Watch Cap, Black, plain, solid black knit or fleece/micro fiber material
    (can be used with ABU uniform) [approx $5]
  • Gloves, Black (may be leather or synthetic material)
    (can be used with ABU uniform)

2. AIRMAN BATTLE UNIFORM (ABU)

Mandatory ABU Items

  • (1) ABU Blouse [approx $40 – 50] – Youth sizes 8 to 12 ONLY available via Vanguard [approx $32]
  • (1) ABU Pants [approx $40 – 50] – Youth sizes ONLY available via Vanguard [approx $32]
  • (1) ABU Cap  [approx $6 – 11]
  • (1) ABU Rigger Belt, Khaki/Sand [approx $5]
  • (2+) T-Shirts, Tan
  • (1) Socks, Black (thick combat boot/hiking socks are recommended to reduce chance of blisters)
  • (1 pair) Boots, Combat, Black Leather (uppers can be synthetic material, but must have leather toe and heel that can be polished.)
    – The height of boots shall be 8 to 12″ at the back (heel) of the boot from the bottom of the heel to the top edge of the boot. This will help protect the ankle when traversing terrain. It also must have a leather toe and heel that can be polished. We also advise against zipper boots.
  • Embroidered blue “CIVIL AIR PATROL” Tape [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $2]
  • Embroidered blue name tape [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $5]
  • Embroidered blue VELCRO (black hook closure) name tape [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $4]

Optional ABU Items.

Especially important during overnight outdoor bivouacs and field training exercises. The parka is water and wind resistant while the fleece jacket is for insulation. Either can be worn over the ABU uniform. Both pieces are designed to be worn together during inclement/cold weather.

  • US Air Force GORE-TEX Parka [appox $85]
  • US Air Force Fleece Jacket, ECWCS Gen III, foliage (sage) green [approx $70]
  • CAP Embroidered Name Tape: Last Name Only, w/black hook closure (VELCRO) for Fleece Jacket [approx $4] [ONLY available via Vanguard]
  • Watch Cap, Black, plain, solid black knit or fleece/micro fiber material
    (can be used with PT uniform) [approx $5]
  • Gloves, Black (may be leather or synthetic material)
    (can be used with PT uniform)

3a. BLUE CLASS B UNIFORM (FEMALE)

Mandatory Female “Blues” Uniform Items

Upon completing Achievement 1, Vanguard provides cadets with a Curry Blues Voucher to be used toward the purchase of the dress “Blues” uniform. The approximate cost of “Blues” is $150, less a $100 voucher. You must purchase your Curry Voucher uniform items using the link in the email from Vanguard.

Items ONLY available via Vanguard:

  • (1) Cadet Engraved Nameplate [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $4]
  • (1) Cadet Enlisted Civil Air Patrol Hat Device [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $7]
  • CAP Airman Rank / Chevron [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $6]
  • CAP Ribbon: Curry – cadet [approx $2]
  • Ribbon Mounting Bar: Base Single Bar – brass [approx $2]

Items RECOMMENDED to be purchased via Vanguard Curry Coupon:

  • (1 pair) Dress Shoes, Patent Leather, or Polishable Black Leather “Low Quarters”
    [The Vanguard Curry Voucher page has patent leather shoes listed for $40. This is a GREAT price as the average cost for these shoes are approx $80. We highly recommend going to the local Coast Guard base or other military clothing sales to size the shoes, then utilize purchasing them via the $100 Curry Voucher on Vanguard.]
  • Air Force Belt: Blue Elastic with Silver Mirror Buckle and Tip (female) [approx $9]

* NOTE: For the list of items you can purchase with your Curry Voucher, CLICK HERE.

* IMPORTANT: You MUST make ALL Curry Voucher purchases on one order and ONLY from the Curry Voucher page that your email link takes you to. Once you select for purchase both the items that are ONLY available through Vanguard and those items recommended to be purchased through Vanguard, you WILL have some of your $100 voucher remaining. You may select any of the remaining Blues uniform items from the Curry Voucher page to complete your order and use your entire $100 Voucher. All other items can still be purchased via Vanguard, but are generally less expensive at an Air Force Clothing Sales location such as Keesler AFB, MS or Eglin AFB, FL.

Items available from either a local military clothing sales OR Vanguard:

  • (1) Short-Sleeve Blue Shirt (not pictured) [approx 35 / Vanguard $44]
  • (1) Long-Sleeve Blue Shirt (winter and more formal events) [approx $38 / not avail via Vanguard]
  • (1) Blue Slacks (female) [approx / Vanguard $50]
  • (1) Flight Cap, Airman (female) [approx $11 – $17] (* top of female flight cap is curved with the back being noticeably more narrow)
  • (1) Tie-Tab (female), Air Force Blue: Herringbone Velcro [approx $12 / Vanguard $16]
  • (1 pair) Dress Socks, Solid Black

3b. BLUE CLASS B UNIFORM (MALE)

Mandatory Male “Blues” Uniform Items

Upon completing Achievement 1, Vanguard provides cadets with a Curry Blues Voucher to be used toward the purchase of the dress “Blues” uniform. The approximate cost of “Blues” is $150, less a $100 voucher. You must purchase your Curry Voucher uniform items using the link in the email from Vanguard.

Items ONLY available via Vanguard:

  • (1) Cadet Engraved Nameplate [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $4]
  • (1) Cadet Enlisted Civil Air Patrol Hat Device [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $7]
  • CAP Airman Rank / Chevron [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $6]
  • CAP Ribbon: Curry – cadet [approx $2]
  • Ribbon Mounting Bar: Base Single Bar – brass [approx $2]
  • CAP Tie Bar w/CAP Crest (to secure tie to shirt) [approx $6]

Items RECOMMENDED to be purchased via Vanguard Curry Coupon:

  • (1 pair) Dress Shoes, Patent Leather, or Polishable Black Leather “Low Quarters”
    [The Vanguard Curry Voucher page has patent leather shoes listed for $40. This is a GREAT price as the average cost for these shoes are approx $80. We highly recommend going to the local Coast Guard base or other military clothing sales to size the shoes, then utilize purchasing them via the $100 Curry Voucher on Vanguard.]
  • Air Force Belt: Blue Elastic with Silver Mirror Buckle and Tip (male) [approx $9]

* NOTE: For the list of items you can purchase with your Curry Voucher, CLICK HERE.

* IMPORTANT: You MUST make ALL Curry Voucher purchases on one order and ONLY from the Curry Voucher page that your email link takes you to. Once you select for purchase both the items that are ONLY available through Vanguard and those items recommended to be purchased through Vanguard, you WILL have some of your $100 voucher remaining. You may select any of the remaining Blues uniform items from the Curry Voucher page to complete your order and use your entire $100 Voucher. All other items can still be purchased via Vanguard, but are generally less expensive at an Air Force Clothing Sales location such as Keesler AFB, MS or Eglin AFB, FL.

Items available from either a local military clothing sales OR Vanguard:

  • (1) Short-Sleeve Blue Shirt [approx $15 / Vanguard $44]
  • (1) Long-Sleeve Blue Shirt (not pictured) (winter and more formal events) [approx $21 / Vanguard $55.05]
  • (1) Blue Trousers (male) [approx $ / Vanguard $55]
  • (1) Flight Cap, Airman (male) [approx $11 – / Vanguard $17] (* top of male flight cap is flat with the front and back being the same height)
  • (1) Tie (male), Air Force Blue: Polyester or Silk, Herringbone [approx $6 / Vanguard $21]
  • (1 pair) Dress Socks, Solid Black
  • (1) Undershirt, V-neck, White

Optional “Blues” Uniform Items. Recommend one – not both – for cold weather months.

  • Air Force Lightweight Blue Jacket [approx $91]
  • Air Force Pullover Blue Sweater [approx $49]
  • Air Force Cardigan Sweater [approx 55]

Optional
Honor / Color Guard Uniform
Only for cadets who choose to train and perform
with the Squadron Honor / Color Guard Team

  • Air Force OFFICER-style Service Dress Coat [approx $180]
  • Air Force ENLISTED-style Service Cap [approx $45]
  • CAP Honor / Color Guard Service Cap Device [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $9]
  • CAP Honor / Color Guard Service Dress Stainless Steel Engraved Nameplate [ONLY via Vanguard – approx $11]
  • White Gloves [approx $7]

WHERE TO BUY?

VANGUARD

Most, but not all, uniform items can be purchased online from CAP’s official uniform supplier, Vanguard. To ensure your cadet’s first uniform fits properly and has all the necessary accessories, we recommend parents speak with Vanguard‘s uniform representative, Norine, at 800-221-1264, extension 271 before ordering.

BASE MILITARY CLOTHING SALES

CAP Members have shopping privileges at at Army Air Force Exchange Service and Air Force Military Clothing Sales to purchase uniform items. It is often cheaper at these locations than purchasing Air Force (non-CAP specific) uniform items through Vanguard. The Base Military Clothing Sales shop carries almost everything in a variety of sizes.

NOTE:  Use extreme caution when buying Air Force uniform items at a Coast Guard base because Coast Guard “Blues” have several varying fabrics and most DO NOT meet Air Force uniform requirements. However, some uniform items are the same.

CAP specific uniform items such as rank, ribbons and nameplates and name tapes CANNOT be purchased through a military base.  These items are ONLY available via Vanguard.

BASE ACCESS REQUIRES:

  • A valid CAP ID (cadets will also need a parent with a valid CAP ID), or other approved means of base access.
  • Secondary form of Government issued identification (for those 16 and up)
  • Insurance documents for any vehicle entering base (they could be requested by security personnel)

REMEMBER, BASE UTILIZATION IS LIMITED FOR CAP MEMBERS:

Those entering the base with a CAP ID are being granted access for the exclusive purpose of purchasing uniform items from Military Clothing Sales. Utilizing other stores or base facilities, or making non-uniform purchases is STRICTLY PROHIBITED and can result in a loss of base access.

Be sure to determine the location and verify the hours of operation for the nearest base clothing sales store prior to beginning your travels. Some options are:

  • Coast Guard ATC Exchange, Mobile
  • Keesler Air Force Base, Military Clothing Sales (Inside the Mall area between AAFES and the Commissary)
  • Eglin Air Force Base, Military Clothing Sales
MILITARY SURPLUS STORES

You can often find Air Force uniform items at a local or online military surplus store. Surplus stores near Air Force Bases are more likely to have Air Force uniform items (Keesler, Eglin, Maxwell, etc.).

 

TEN TIPS FOR LOOKING SHARP IN YOUR UNIFORM

1. Keep your uniform items and insignia in a special place at home.

2. Prepare your uniform the night before you wear it.

3. Trim loose strings from buttons, pockets, and belt loops.

4. Use spray starch when ironing.

5. Obtain “enforcers” or put cardboard behind your ribbons.

6. Check your appearance in a full-length mirror.

7. Keep a small cloth with you to dust your shoes and brass.

8. Check your gig-line upon exiting a car or restroom.

9. Avoid leaning against anything while in uniform.

10. Ask your Wingman to double-check your uniform, and return the favor.