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CAPR 39-1 covers uniforms!

There are many uniform options in the Civil Air Patrol and quite a lot of regulations involved.  This site will only seek to direct you to a few key places for more information:

Realize that most squadrons have a (small) supply of uniform items and if you request in advance with sizing information they might be willing to tell you if the item you need is available.  Also remember that Ebay, Amazon and other second hand military surplus stores can save you a great deal on the cost of uniforms; if you must buy new look at the military Exchange  or Vanguardmil sites.    If you can not afford to buy the uniform the squadron can seek funding and possibly cover the costs.

Our squadron has a NET30 account with Vanguard and items ordered through us will receive an automatic 10% discount and free shipping.  DO NOT order on your own; speak to the squadron supply first. Keep in mind that Vanguard pricing is often 20% higher than the Post Exchange ( this is part of what funds your free 100.00 voucher).  We might be able to place a bulk order for you through the Exchange; you can reimburse the squadron for the cost of random items you order this way

Cadets will earn a $100.00 'Curry' voucher to help purchase blues through  The Female 'bow tie'  and male 'tie clips' are items that are not cheaper elsewhere... definitely pick one (or two) of those. The shoes they sell - look good, but they are plastic... do not expect them to be the most comfortable or to last more than a few years... for the price they charge I'd consider buying at a local retailer so you can try them on.

You will receive an email that says "Congratulations on your Curry Achievement! You have earned $100 for your uniform. Your code is "_____". To redeem your gift you MUST go to this link, and enter the code into the gift card area at checkout.  The code is not valid on Vanguard's main website! This is one time use only and will expire in 45 days."



Cadets and Seniors may wear:

BDU - woodland greens are being phased out and should not be purchased.  Old inventory can be used. The Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) may continue to be worn until the mandatory phase out date of 15 June 2021

ABU: There are many pieces, summer, winter, raingear and other options. - Phase out from the Air Force is complete in April 2021; by Dec 2021 expect a huge availability of these.  Until then it will be a struggle to get these uniforms.

Blues: There are even more versions - old 4 button uniforms from the 60's and 70's may be acceptable; (as temporary uniforms for cadets) but Seniors must wear the latest 3 button version.

Flight Suits: The Airman Aircrew Combat Uniform (A2CU) (two piece flight suit) is not authorized for CAP.  

*PT uniforms are not standard; each unit has their own solution. Official (current) Air Force PT gear is acceptable or your local squadron solution.

Seniors (only) can wear:

Blue and Grey Polo Shirts

White Aviator (Corporate) outfit

Blue BDUs



Ribbon Organizers:

Get you Ribbons and devices correct with these Ribbon Organizers. This "Rack-Builder" is provided by: McChord AFB Composite Squadron PCR-WA-039 Thank the webmaster if you get a chance.

Cadet Ribbons

Senior Ribbons


Thin ribbons:

*You can order specially crafted 'thin ribbons' that are permanently attached to a ribbon rack; these are ideal for members who wear their blues often and have little need to change the ribbons.  (You can not manually change them; the rack must be returned to the manufacturer and for a small fee they will modify it as needed)  These will not snag on a seat belt, you will not accidentally loose one during your travels; they are stuck on there with glue!   Ribbons cost about $1.88 each and a complete 12 ribbon rack costs about $25.00

Sample of one company providing ribbons:


Size charts:

Female Size Chart


Male Size Chart


TIMELINE for cadets: when do you need that (next) uniform?

ABU's  should be issued during your inprocessing at your 3rd or 4th Meeting.  You should have your ABU sizes figured out and missing items ordered; or be sending emails to local units seeking free uniforms. Prepared cadets should be able to earn their curry within a couple weeks; there is no reason for it to take longer... ask for help and we will work with you.  This will earn you a $100.00 voucher for blues!  We can easily schedule a weekend activity to run all new cadets through the basics.  You are not expected to have a full ABU uniform until you have reached your curry; when you get your first rank pinned on you should be in your properly completed ABU's.

Class C Blues (no tie, no jacket) You should begin to collect pieces for this uniform while you are getting your ABU's assigned.  You can not wear it until you have earned your first rank.  Once you earn your Curry voucher you should be able to order the final missing pieces and be ready to pass inspection in blues before your achievement 2.

Class B Blues (Adding a tie and tie clip)  You should aim to get this immediately as well but will not likely need it until you are trained in Color Guard.

Class C Blues (Adding a jacket)  If serious about the program you should be looking for this immediately as well; you will need it for Color Guard and it will be hard to find for a reasonable price.  See the fine print at the bottom about jackets!  Cadet officers at the 8th achievement should have this.

Blues Raincoat - winter coat or various other uniforms:  Our color guard has six raincoats to loan out for parades; if you plan to do a lot of outdoor activities in poor weather you might want to own some extra items.  These can be purchased at any time depending on your activity level.


TIMELINE for seniors: when do you need that (next) uniform?

The polo / golf shirts and gray slacks are your standard outfit for meetings and training.  There are a few options in material and style for you to choose from that range from $30 to $60.00.  Be sure to click 'add embroidery' and have your name imprinted on it.  You can choose to acquire other uniforms at your leisure depending on your interests as each activity might require a different uniform between color guard, ES, conferences and other activities.


General Uniform Pricing information (sample, not including everything, not up to date)

Uniform Item                        Item  Number      Cost


Blues Shirt - male                CAP1001A         $49.40

Blues Pants - male               CAP0993B        $61.80

Flight Cap - male                 CAP0994K         $20.25

Blue Belt - male                   2500505            $17.80

Flight Cap Device                CAP0748A         $6.80

Name Plate                          CAP0599M        $4.00

                       Blues Total Male                                           $160.05


Blues Shirt - female            CAP1017            $49.40

Blues Pants - female          CAP3500A          $56.20

Flight Cap - female             CAP1015J          $20.25

Blue Belt - female               2500550             $17.15

Flight Cap Device               CAP0748A         $6.80

Name Plate                        CAP0599M         $4.00

Blues Total Female                                     $153.80


ABU Blouse                       CAP0991F          $34.10        Youth ABU Blouse     CAP0991C          $27.05

ABU Pants                         CAP0991O         $34.10        Youth ABU Pants       CAP0991M         $27.05

ABU Cap                           CAP0991U         $10.40

ABU Belt                           CAP2510700       $9.90          ABU Belt Small         CAP2510702      $7.80

Tan T-Shirt                        CAP0991Z          $8.35

CAP Tape                         CAP6403            $1.60

Name Tape                       CAP6402            $4.50

Total BDU's                                                $102.95


Total Male                                                            $263.00

Total Female                                                       $256.75



ABU Uniform Winter Items

Beware that the Air Force is transitioning out of the ABU (moving into the Air Force's Operational Camouflage Pattern, or OCP) and we we are transitioning OUT of the BDU (and moving into the ABU).  The Air force will be donating truckloads of uniforms to our wing but that won't happen immediately.

The ABU uniform has a three-layer system known as APECS. The first layer is a long sleeve sand colored fleece lined undershirt to be worn under the ABU jacket. The second layer is the fleece coat with Velcro name tapes. The third layer is the GORTEX rain parka. The Air Guard and Air Force do offer us these items in the same manner as the ABU uniforms, but they are few and far between. These items are hard to find locally but we recommend that you look at the Army Navy store on Chinden first and if you don't find them there, then order new online.

Layer One - Long Sleeve Under Shirt Layer Long sleeve thermal layer to be worn under the ABU jacket, this is the top shirt with your name tapes and ranks.

This item is not available at the squadron, you might find them at the Army/Navy store but they can be purchased online. These items are sand colored as they go over the sand colored undershirt worn under the ABU jacket.

Tru-Spec Layer II, Mid-Wt Grid Top Amazon $34.70


You should wear whatever long underwear you have or can find. It won't show, so it can be any color.


Layer Two - Fleece coat 

BEST PRICE ON LINE: Amazon $55.95 Tru-Spec

You will need CAP name tapes with Velcro backing to be found at Vanguard. 

CAP TAPE: $3.15
NAME TAPE: $3.50

You will also need a CAP dark blue rank tab with Velcro backing. I don't believe Vanguard has anything ready-made, so you will need to order two of these slide over rank tabs also used for the GORTEX rain jacket below and add some Velcro to the back side of one of them for the fleece coat. 

Cadets pin their metal ranks onto these blank CAP tabs. Cadet Officers need to order cloth tabs with their ranks embroidered on them.


Seniors need to use an extra cloth rank square and add Velcro backing as I have done in the above photo.

CAP RANK TAB: $2.70 x 2 and 



Layer Three - GORTEX rain jacket also labeled parka

BEST PRICE ONLINE: Quartermasters, for $140.00

(Do Not Pay over $150 for this item. Some stores have not reduced their prices and they sell for over $250)


Other Cold Weather Items



Nomex Air Force Cold Weather Intermediate Flyers Gloves HAU-15/P Amazon $14.95 -

Any solid black glove that is rated for winter wear. This includes driving gloves and skiing gloves. Just make sure they are all black.


Sage colored fleece watch caps can be found at the Army/Navy store or sometimes at the squadron for a small price. $4.95 

Flight Gear


Flight Suit "Corporate Flight Duty Uniform:  "FDU" in regs

As you progress in Civil Air Patrol and ready to fly as a Scanner, Observer, and Pilot, the Nomex flight suit is mandatory wear for Aircrew. 

The following is information on aircrew gear. IMPORTANT use the unofficial guide on Flight Suit wear by clicking HERE . Also see the CAP Uniform Manual - CAPM 39-1.

*** Important - check the sizing chart in the  GUIDE  as US Military sizes are different!

Flight Suit

a. Sage Green – CWU-27P – Must be Nomex/Aramid Fiber. Your first Flight Suit does not have to be brand new and $200.
b. The best eBay site is Colonel T's Supply with new and used flight gear well under $100.00 - Click Here.
c. Vanguard - $243 - Click here for green or here for blue.
d. eBay – surplus - $20 to $75. Make sure it is a CWU-27/P, and there is a picture of the issue tag. Note some flight suits are being sold on eBay and they are made of Nylon. Make sure you do not purchase these as they are not approved.  c. Click Here for an eBay search of CWU-27/P Sage. 

Flight Jacket Nomex/Aramid Fiber (optional)

a. USAF Stock number CWU-36/P Summer or CWU-45P Winter
b. A good eBay site is Colonel T's Supply - Click Here.
c. eBay - CWU-36/P or CWU-45/P.

Flight Jacket non-Nomex/Aramid (optional)

a. SAGE GREEN FLIGHT JACKET – Orange lining (Not Nomex)
b. Vanguard - Click Here - $40.00.


a. To be considered a flight boot, boots must be made of all-leather uppers that come above the ankles (the higher the better) and must be constructed so that metal parts, such as shoestring eyes or zippers, do not contact the wearer's skin. Non-leather boots must be flight approved in accordance with U.S. military standards for aviation use.
b. Big 5 Sporting Goods here.
c. Alameda Army Navy surplus – 2500 Embarcadero, Unit E, Oakland, CA. 510-261-5152.
d. Or click Here for eBay search.

e. On the left is an example of an approved non-leather flight boot (Belleville 770).
f. Click here to purchase from Belleville or shop around - $125.00 to $155.00.
g. Or eBay click Here.

June 2020: All airmen must transition to coyote brown boots. The old sage green boots, which most airmen wear with their ABUs, or desert sand boots, worn by some who already have OCPs, will no longer be allowed.

*For Emergency Services training and responses in the field - ANY proper, waterproof, warm, safe quality boot is acceptable; we discourage the use of Black combat boots for use by our members in the field.

Flight Gloves – Useful for winter flying (Optional)

a. Can be purchased from or found on eBay.

The following are the insignia for wear on the Flight Suit (affectionately known as the Bag).

Leather Name Patch:

a. Grade – Senior member SR MBR until completion of Form 5 or Observer, or six months with conditions. Grade thereafter pending approval from Commander is VFR - 2D LT, IFR/Commercial – 1ST LT, CFI/ATP – CAPT
b. If you are a pilot and will be taking the Form 5 within six months, order the patch with the pilot wings and cover them with a piece of black electrical tape, otherwise order AIRCREW BASIC and cover that with black electrical tape. DO NOT WEAR GRADE OR RATINGS THAT YOU HAVE NOT EARNED.
c. Vanguard - Click Here - $9.70.

California Wing Patch

a. Vanguard - Click Here - $2.30.

Plastic Encased Grade

d. Vanguard - Click Here - $6.60 TO $7.70.
e. Note that some members sew Velcro onto the rank and the flight suit.

Command Patch

a. Vanguard - Click Here - $3.80.

American Flag - 2" X 3"

a. Vanguard - Click Here - $4.55.

Flight Cap Device - Senior Member/Officer (green flight suit only)

a. Vanguard - Click Here - $6.20.

Male Senior Member OFFICER Flight Caps (for men, green flight suit only)

a. Vanguard - Click Here - $19.45.

Female Senior Member OFFICER Flight Caps (for Women, green flight suit only)

a. Vanguard - Click Here - $19.45.

Sage Green Velcro (use black for blue flight suit)

a. Can be purchased from or eBay.

Cost Matrix:





Flight Suit












Flight Cap





The following are the uniform selections for wear on Tuesday nights, and where to get them.   All of the options below and the CAP distinctive uniforms are acceptable as per the CAP Uniform Manual CAPM 39-1.

For wear, instructions consult the CAPM 39-1 Uniform Manual.

Corporate Working Uniform - Blue and Grey's (Polo/ Golf Shirt)

Suggested for new members in rank of Senior Member (SM)

Note:  It is suggested that new members either order the Screen Printed versions until they achieve their Form 5 or GMT 3 or order them with Aeronautical Wings or the Ground Team badge and put a piece of black tape over the badge.

Golf Shirt Suppliers:
a.  Civil Air Patrol Uniform: Golf Shirt with Screened Seal - navy blue - $25.90.
b.  Civil Air Patrol Uniform: Golf Shirt with Seal - $35.65.
c.  Add-On personalization is $8.65, check the box before assing to your cart.

Wear with Medium Grey Pants, Black Belt, and Black Shoes or boots.

Pant Suppliers:
a. 5.11 TacLite Pro pant - Charcoal - $47.74








USAF Class "A"

a.  AAFES/MCSS – Travis Air Force Base - Base Map.
 i.  Blues, Male, Service Coat, Shade 1620, with Epaulettes (Sizes 36 - 52) - $195.00
ii.  Blues, Male, Shirt, Short Sleeve, with Epaulettes, Blue - $19.95
iii.  Blues, Male, Shoes, Dress, Leather Oxford, New Style (Size 5-15) - $46.00 or
iv.  Blues, Male, Shoes, Hi-Gloss (Sizes 5 - 15) - $46.00







USAF Class "B"

Suggested after achieving officer rank of Second Lieutenant 

a.  AAFES/MCSS – Travis Air Force Base - Base Map.
b.  Coast Guard Inland (Oakland) – Coast Guard Tropical Blue Short Sleeve (SS) shirt is identical to the Air Force SS shirt.  Pants and belt are different color.
i.  Blues, Male, Shirt, Short Sleeve with epaulettes, Blue - $44.00
ii.  Blues, Male, Trousers, Shade 1625 - $55.00
iii.  Blues, Male, Shoes, Hi-Gloss (Sizes 5 - 15) - $46.00
iv.  Belt, AF Blue with SILVER TIP & BUCKLE, Mens, 54 inch (With Buckle) -$3.50
v.  Flight cap, senior sizes, male - $16.50
vi.  Senior flight cap device - $4.60
vii.  Nameplate, civil air patrol, 3 line, w/last name - Gray (for seniors) - $3.20
viii.  Senior grade epaulette loop, gray (pr) - $6.60 - $7.70
d.  Alameda Army Navy Surplus - A large amount of Surplus gear - Click Here.



CAP Distinctive uniforms for Senior Members only

Each of the uniform options (Except the Blue's and Grey's) have a CAP Distinctive option for those that have broad shoulders or facial hair.  For those options, see the CAP Uniform Manual CAPM 39-1.

The CAP Distinctive uniforms can be purchased at  White aviator shirts can also be found at various pilot shops on the internet.



Battle Dress Uniform - All-blue (seniors only - *Cadets over 18 who DO NOT meet height/weight standards may choose to wear these if they meet grooming standards.)


These Blue uniforms are identical in design to the ABU/BDU style and are available to purchase at

On the Corporate-style Field Uniform, no collar insignia or rank insignia on the hat will be worn Belt and Buckle. Dark blue or black, woven cotton web, solid or woven elastic belt with black metal tip end and plain (open faced) black buckle.

Uniform bets come in 2 flavors: nonsubdued hardware (silver for those among us with a public school edumakation) or subdued (black, for those same people...). The silver one is worn with the service uniform, because it's shiny. The black one is worn with the utility iniform because a shiny set of hardware on your belt would become impossibly scratched and dented while working in said uniform....


White Aviator:

As for the kind of white shirt specified for the TPU or the CAP grays, all 39-1 specifies is an aviator style shirt, which is defined as a shirt with flap pockets and epaulets.

On the Aviator shirt, gray epaulets without grade insignia will be worn
The "Aviator" shirt made by Van Heusen is the most commonly available, though some prefer the shirts made by Pilot House, which are oxford cloth (the VH Aviators are a little too thin in comparison) and styled nearly identical to the AF-style light blue shirt.

Be aware of the following, though:
-Don't get the shirts with eyelets pre-cut for pilot wings. Our insignia isn't designed that way. Only saving grace is that you'll never go wrong putting wings on your uniform!  ;D
-Police-style shirts with the scalloped flap pockets and pre-sewn military creases are a no-go. 
-Avoid getting the shirts that have the velcro closure on the top of the flap pocket - resist the temptation of putting pens, pencils, glasses, etc. in them.
-Watch out for shirt pocket flaps that have 'fancy' designs; aim for a simple horizontal or single slighly curved bottom.

Here is a vendor selling them for $9.99 right now; (link may be expired or out of stock in the future; valid as of Sept 2019)



Boot Socks:

If you purchased warm weather jungle boots for your cadet, their toes will freeze quickly in the winter. Please purchase quality wool or Thinsulate black socks to wear in the winter months. Double up on them if you have too. Also, don't wear cotton socks as they will get wet and that can bring on frost bite.

Shortcuts for warmth

You can just buy the fleece jacket and all the rank and name tapes and get by for most weather, but the rain will still soak you. Another idea is to just get the GORTEX raincoat and get a cheap liner for the M-65 jacket at the Army/Navy store. These can be had for under $20 and you just wear them over the ABU coat and under your GORTEX jacket. 

You can wear regular long underwear top under your tan t-shirt so long as the long underwear can't be seen. 

General rule: if it's worn under the ABU uniform, it must be sand or tan colored. IE t-shirt and belt. If it's worn over the ABU uniform it needs to be sage colored or ABU digital tiger stripe.

Uniform Fine print!

Multiple 'styles' and 'shades'

1. If purchasing used you must realize that there are multiple versions of the Air Force Uniform over the years.   Buying a 'Blues Jacket' might offer 6 different versions of that jacket.  Cadets are authorized to wear the older style jackets (senior members must wear the latest version called the Retrofit Service Dress Uniform 1994 - Present which is a 3 button jacket with fake pockets).

The color code to look for is "Air force Blue 1620" - Make sure it has that exact shade of blue.

Blue Shade 1084 & 1549 Service Dress Uniform (1962-1969) are not acceptable for wear (although this is the most iconic version of the Blues in film history)

General John P. McConnell Service Dress Uniform 1969 - 1994 is authorized for Cadets only.  This is a four button jacket with real pockets.  Be warned that there are multiple color and material variants and your cadet will not be in the best uniform for national level competitions.  Colors range from 1578 in wool and polyester, tropical or gabardine; 1598 polyester serge; and 1608  polyester and wool tropical weave.


Jacket fine print;

1. Realize that NCO's and Officer jackets are slightly different (officers have shoulder boards on their sleeves and unique embroidery; plus the matching hats must have silver lining).

a. There is a kit you can buy to convert NCO to officer: $30.00

2. Male and Female jackets are different... so that is 4 potential jackets (plus cadets can wear the older style or the current style so that makes it 8 potential jackets)



Thanks to various other sites for compiling this info including:



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