The 1980s - Present
Olive drab fatigues—sometimes called “Pickle" Greens—were worn from the late 1960s into the 1980s, but were not authorized by the Air Force for female wear until 1975. Even after authorization, green fatigues for female members were not available for many months (apparently the fatigues were not considered unisex like today's BDUs). By the 1980s, a significant number of cadet activity patches were authorized for wear on fatigues.
Since the early days of IACE, Cadets have exchanged pins and insignia with their new friends from other countries. In more recent decades, IACE cadets have participated in an exchange of t-shirts with those they meet on their travels.
The need to continually recruit new cadets has been a recurring theme throughout the history of the Civil Air Patrol. Publications have alternately emphasized the cadet program’s value for military training, leadership, aviation knowledge and training, community service, communications, and emergency preparedness. Yet, cadet numbers have never approached those of the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1994, Civil Air Patrol initiated its Drug Demand Reduction program. Although the program was principally intended to reduce illegal drug use in communities where Air Force members and their families lived, it became heavily intertwined with the CAP Cadet Program. The Cadet Program was touted as a community-centered activity with the potential to discourage drug use among young people, and cadets themselves were increasingly presented with substance abuse awareness training.
Throughout the decades, many cadet activities have established unique activity-specific uniform combinations and accessories, including honor guards and drill teams. IACE uniforms were introduced in the 1960s (formerly, CAP cadets wore their regular uniforms). Today, cadets are often permitted to wear specially designed CAP t-shirts at encampment or other designated activities.