Uniform Q & A
References: (These redirect to the CAP NHQ page, scroll down the list to make sure you are referencing the latest version)
- Civil Air Patrol Uniform Regulation, CAPR 39-1
- Awards of CAP Medals, Ribbons, and Certificates, CAPR 39-3
- Cadets - McChord Ribbon Rack Builder
Q: What is the big deal about uniforms and why should I care?
A: There are many reasons. When you join CAP, you take an oath to wear the uniform properly. The Air Force prescribes the way that we wear "their" uniform and accessories. if CAP members fail to wear the uniforms properly, this shows disrespect for the uniform and reflects badly on CAP and the Air Force. This is unacceptable for a CAP member. Proper uniform wear shows self-discipline, develops teamwork, and develops a sense of "Esprit de Corps". "Esprit de Corps" is that level of morale and sense of pride that comes from being part of a unit or organization that excels.
It is a privilege to wear the Air Force uniform. You should wear it proudly and correctly. We are representing our squadron, wing, and the Air Force.
Q: Can I wear a partial uniform?
A: No, do not wear a partial uniform unless you have spoken to a senior member first. At meetings and activities, the commander may allow some exceptions.
When in public, no! Wear all or none.
Q: Can I attend CAP if I don't have my uniform?
A: Squadron: We understand circumstances can arise and you don't have all or part of your uniform ready. So do NOT wear any part of your uniform to CAP. As long as it's not a recurring issue, you can attend without your uniform. You will need to speak to a senior member to explain why you are not in uniform. You also will NOT be allowed to fall into your regular flight.
Outside Activity: If you are looking to attend an outside activity, you are required to follow the Uniform of the Day (UOD) as requested by the project officer in charge.
Q: Do I need a service jacket?
A: No, the service jacket is optional and can be purchased at any time. We recommend not purchasing one unless you need one, a few activities require the service jacket, are committed to CAP, and aren't going to grow a lot more. These jackets are expensive and can be hard to obtain.
- You do NOT need to be an officer to purchase one. This is just when many cadets decide to get one as they are often committed to CAP.
- You do NOT need to purchase one once you are promoted to an officer either.
Q: Can I wear my CAP Uniform to school?
A: No, except for special situations authorized by Civil Air Patrol. CAP Uniforms are not to be worn except for CAP meetings and approved activities.
Q: What is CAP Sabbath/Sunday?
A: Since 1972, the Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors has authorized the wearing the USAF blue-uniform or the CAP corporate equivalent to worship services during the first weekend of the month of December which corresponds with the 1 December anniversary of the creation of CAP. The weekend is called “CAP Sabbath/Sunday.”
- Chaplain Corps News: https://capchaplain.com/2017/11/19/civil-air-patrol-sabbath-sunday-2017/
Q: Are there restrictions regarding wearing jewelry and body piercings when wearing a CAP uniform?
A: With the exception of earrings for women all members are prohibited from attaching, affixing, or displaying objects, articles, jewelry or ornamentation to or through the ear, nose, tongue, tooth/teeth, eye brows, lips, or any exposed body part (includes visible through the uniform or clothing). The prohibition applies while wearing the Corporate-style uniform and while in civilian attire in attendance at a CAP event, while in civilian attire on CAP duty, and while in civilian attire on a military installation when there with CAP activities.
Articles such as wallets, pencils, pens, watch chains, fobs, pins, jewelry, handkerchiefs, combs, cigars, cigarettes, pipes, and sunglass cases will not be worn or carried exposed on the uniform. The wear of wristwatches and rings are permitted. The wear of identification bracelets is likewise permitted provided they present a neat and conservative appearance. Ribbons, when worn, will be clean and not frayed. Wear of earrings, ornamentation on eyeglass lenses, or visible ornaments around the neck are prohibited while in uniform.
Q: Can I color my hair? Where can I find information about haircuts and hairstyles that are appropriate when in uniform?
A: Hair colors have to be of natural hair colors and compliment the member's complexion and skin tone.
Hair will be clean, well-groomed, present a professional appearance and allow proper wear of headgear and conform to safety requirements.
(Male) Hair will not exceed 1¼ inch in bulk, regardless of length and ¼ inch at natural termination point; allowing only closely cut or shaved hair on the back of the neck to touch the collar. Hair will not touch the ears or protrude under the front band of headgear.
(Female) Hair will end above the bottom edge of collar and any side of an invisible line drawn parallel to the ground. hair lengths that would be below the bottom edge of the collar will be pinned-up with no loose ends. Hair will not touch either eyebrow, to include an invisible line drawn across eyebrows and parallel to the ground. If worn, hairpins, combs, headbands, elastic bands and barrettes must match the hair color. Braids, micro-braids and cornrows are authorized. However, they must be a natural looking color for human beings similar to the individual’s hair color.
Q: I am going shopping with my family and my parents are going to drop me off at the CAP meeting on their way home. Is it ok for me to wear my uniform shopping?
A: CAP uniforms should only be worn for up to one hour before and/or after meetings or activities, unless travel time is longer than one hour. Make arrangements to change into your uniform when you arrive at the meeting and arrive early enough to do it before the meeting starts.
Q: Is it OK, to stop by a fast food resteraunt to get a quick meal on the way to or from a CAP meeting or activity?
A: Yes, this is probably ok. Just be certain you are wearing a complete uniform when you go into the restaurant. A two hour sit-down dinner is not appropriate if you are in uniform.
Q: I prefer wearing ABU's instead of Blues. Is it ok to wear ABU's to all meetings?
A: No, it is not ok. You must wear the Uniform of the Day (UOD) if you have that uniform.
Q: When wearing my Blues uniform, what do I do with my flight CAP when I go indoors?
A: If not worn, tuck under the belt on wearer‘s left side, between the first and second belt loops (cap will not fold over belt or be visible below service coat).