If you are interested in joining our squadron, we recommend that you review the Civil Air Patrol’s main website for information on becoming a member.
If after doing so, you would like to join, we would like to invite you to our weekly meeting held each Tuesday at our Crystal Airport based Squadron Headquarters. Directions can be found on our Home/Location page .
For more information, reach out to us on our Contact Us page, one of our Senior Members will reach out to you.
The unit structure, command and administration of CAP follows Air Force lines. The basic unit within CAP is the squadron (which may have subordinate flights). It may be a senior member (only) squadron, or cadet (only) squadron, or a composite squadron (both senior member and cadet program). Each squadron reports to a group (there are four in Minnesota, we belong to Group III), and all groups report to Wing (each state constitutes a wing). Wings report to region (we are part of the North Central Region), and all regions report to CAP National Headquarters at Maxwell AFB, AL, which is commanded by the only Brigadier General in the CAP who is also a volunteer supported, however, by full-time CAP and active Air Force officers and civilian personnel. HQs from Wing on up have full-time Air Force Liaison Officers, at squadron level we have an Air Force Reserve officer attached to us.
North Hennepin Squadron is a composite squadron, in fact it was the first composite squadron in the Nation, founded in 1942. Our Squadron, in other words, conducts both a senior member and a cadet program. While all senior members are encouraged to involve themselves in the cadet program, specific senior officer positions are directly responsible to the Squadron Commander for supervising the cadet program. Senior Members are women and men at least 18 years old, cadets are at least 13 and less than 21.
In the senior member program, we concentrate on search and rescue and emergency services, as well as on aerospace education. Each senior member elects one or more emergency services specialties in which to become qualified, such as ground team leader or member, radio operator, mission pilot, mission observer or scanner, or flight line officer, to name just a few. In addition, each officer pursues a career path in the fields of administration, emergency services, personnel, finance, public affairs, logistics, transportation, etc. Training is provided by volunteer CAP or other instructors who are experts in their field, by Air Force extension courses, or by other Air Force or community resources. As in any volunteer organization, you get as much out of it as you are willing to put in.
Less than half of our members are pilots and most any kind of occupation is represented in our membership. Senior members cannot obtain a private FAA pilots license through CAP, but they may use CAP aircraft for upgrading their licenses beyond the private license.
Equipment and Facilities
Most of our equipment, including our Cessna and our van, is furnished by the Air Force. Through membership fees, payments by the pilots, as well as donations, CAP maintains and insures its building, aircraft and ground vehicles. Pilots pay an hourly fee for using a CAP aircraft for flight training. On actual missions, aircraft and ground vehicle costs are borne by the Air Force, or another state government agency which has requested our assistance.
Our Squadron has its own classroom/hangar building thanks to the dedication of Squadron members who decades ago used their own money to purchase the building. Upkeep is the responsibility of all Squadron members.
As the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, we enjoy the privilege of wearing U.S. Air Force uniforms with distinctive CAP insignia and we adhere to the Air Force rank structure (but we do not have enlisted ranks for senior members). Few outsiders can tell us apart from the regular Air Force; wearing the military uniform therefore requires compliance with military weight and grooming standards. A distinctive (non-military) CAP uniform may also be worn and this does not require compliance with military weight or grooming standards. All members are highly encouraged to wear military uniform as an expression of our esprit de corps as members of the Air Force family. Our cadets are required to do so. Senior members must wear the CAP/USAF or the civilian CAP uniform when flying in our aircraft or when participating in a mission.
The Air Force supplies us with surplus military uniforms, and you may draw from the Squadron Supply Officer the uniform items which you need to the extent that they are available. Uniform items are also available for purchase at the CAP Bookstore at Maxwell AFB, and you may purchase them also at any military BX or PX, including catalog sales. CAP Manual 39-1 describes all details about our uniforms and each new member should familiarize him/herself with it before buying uniforms or insignia. Because uniform items you may want or require are not always available, and because you need to purchase insignia, name tags, etc., we estimate that each new member spends about $100 of his/her own money on such items initially. All expenses concerning CAP membership, including cost of a limited number of flying hours, are generally tax deductible if itemized as charitable contribution.
In order to join CAP you have to fill out CAP Form 12 (Application For Membership), submit a set of fingerprints (as part of the Cadet protection program) and as of Jan 1 2004 pay annual dues of $65.00 (part to National HQ and part to Minnesota Wing HQ).
In addition, our squadron charges $65.00 per year for Senior Members and $30.00 per year for Cadets (first year of membership prorated based on join date), which helps offset the costs associated with the operation of our squadron.
Shortly after joining you will receive a package from National HQ with a number of manuals to help you to become more familiar with CAP and to get you started in becoming qualified in an Emergency Services specialty and to acquire, and advance in, rank.
After meeting certain requirements, a new senior member will usually be commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant after six months (until then his/her rank is simply “senior member” or “SM”). Applicants with special qualifications, such as FAA pilot, aircraft mechanic, military officer, doctor, lawyer, EMT or nurse may initially qualify for a higher rank. As soon as you are qualified at least as a “Trainee” in an Emergency Services specialty, you may participate in actual missions or training missions.