Top-level training helps Civil Air Patrol cadets hone leadership skills

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Officer School, one of the top professional development opportunities available to America’s youth, will be in session here next week.

Maxwell AFB is the home of Air University and professional military education for the U.S. Air Force, making it the ideal venue to develop the leadership skills of CAP’s top cadets. Participation in Cadet Officer School, or COS, is a top choice for CAP cadets from across the nation because of the rigorous academic curriculum and caliber of instruction offered by the Air Force and Civil Air Patrol. Only the top 15 percent of all CAP cadets are invited to attend.

This year, 121 cadets from 41 CAP wings, including Puerto Rico, are participating in the 10-day, executive-level course.

"This is a premier leadership opportunity that can help propel our cadets to exciting careers in both the military and the private sector," said Lt. Col. Rajesh Kothari, the activity’s director.

Patterned after Air Force Squadron Officer College, COS is an academically challenging program combining lectures, seminars and hands-on training designed to develop leadership skills. Throughout the week the cadets participate in a variety of lectures and supporting discussions to explore leadership topics. Participants practice what they learn through a series of comprehensive writing and speaking assignments that culminates with graduation ceremonies on Aug. 9. "Cadet Officer School helps build our nation’s leaders of tomorrow," said Kothari. "Our cadets gain confidence and experience as they expand their skills. They learn how to work with others. When they leave COS, they are better prepared to be even better leaders, regardless of their profession or vocation."

Throughout its 70-year-old history, CAP’s cadet program has built strong citizens for the future by providing leadership training, technical education, scholarships and career education to young men and women ages 12 to 20.

Activities like Cadet Officer School 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. In 2011, more than 1,000 youth participated in CAP-sponsored summer activities.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit or for more information.