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Civil Air Patrol To Host 50th Annual Cadet Officer School Next Week

College-Level Training Set for 108 of CAP’s ‘Very Best’ Cadets

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Officer School returns to Maxwell AFB next week. And this Cadet Officer School, or COS, will be extra special, as it marks the 50th year CAP’s “very best” cadets have gathered and participated in the college-level leadership course.

“This is one of the top professional development opportunities available to America’s youth,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP’s national commander, who plans on visiting the school while it is in session over the next two weeks.

COS begins Sunday at Maxwell — site of CAP National Headquarters and home of Air University and professional military education for the U.S. Air Force. That makes it the ideal venue to develop the leadership skills of only 100 high-achieving CAP cadets.

“This is a premier leadership opportunity that is afforded to our very best cadets,” said Col. Joe Winter, activity director for the 2018 COS. “Only the top 15 percent of CAP’s cadets are accepted to attend.”

Winter said CAP plans to observe the school’s 50th anniversary at the graduation banquet on July 6.

COS started in 1968 as the Cadet Leadership School at Reno-Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. There were three two-week sessions, beginning in mid-June and ending in early August. A total of 242 cadets graduated from the inaugural CLS. In 1970, the name of the activity was changed to “Cadet Officer School,” and the activity moved to Maxwell AFB.

This year, 108 cadets from 35 wings are participating in what is now a 10-day course.

Cadets will hear from senior Air Force as well as Smith and other Civil Air Patrol leaders.

“This whole experience is a rare opportunity for our cadets,” said Winter. “It’s not every day they get to meet and mingle with senior leaders who make up the Total Force of our Air Force.”

Learning to lead is always the primary focus of COS, which is patterned after Air Force Squadron Officer School.

Through this week and into next week the cadets participate in a variety of lectures and supporting discussions to explore leadership topics. They practice what they learn through a series of comprehensive writing and speaking assignments, culminating with graduation and the anniversary-themed banquet.

“This is a popular destination for our cadets because of the rigorous academic curriculum and the caliber of instruction offered by the instructor team,” said Winter. “The leadership skills our cadets acquire here will no doubt lead them to exciting careers.”

CAP and its cadet program have built strong citizens throughout its history, providing leadership training, technical education, scholarships and career education to young men and women ages 12 to 20.

Activities like COS give CAP cadets the opportunity to improve their skills in a variety of areas, including search and rescue, flight and emergency services, science, leadership fundamentals, citizenship and military courtesies, and to explore aerospace technology and aviation careers.

This summer, more than 7,500 youth are participating in CAP-sponsored summer activities, including wing encampments nationwide.


Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.