Civil Air Patrol National History Program

The 1970s

Florida IACE Mug

Florida IACE Mug (1974)

Beginning in 1968, female cadets were permitted to participate in IACE, but other aspects of the program never changed—including the creation and gifting of unique IACE memorabilia by both hosts and participants. During the 1965 IACE, for example, visiting foreign cadets were presented souvenir pens by Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Cadets might also present their escorts with mementos like customized souvenir dishes, handkerchiefs, or photographs. 

“Take a look at Civil Air Patrol” Flyer

“Take a look at Civil Air Patrol” Flyer (late 1970s)

Civil Air Patrol struggled with recruitment as the Vietnam War made the military and its affiliates increasingly unpopular. In 1973 Brig. Gen. S. Hallock duPont, Chairman of the CAP Board, lamented:

"We have a program that should sell, but it doesn't. Our potential market is 18 million youngsters in the 13-17 age bracket. As I write this, we have less than one tenth of one percent of that market. This means that we are reaching one of every 7,440 potential customers...

As it now stands, we lose four and gain three. If we maintain that ratio--based on our current 25,000 cadet census--we'll be out of the youth motivation business by 1978... and that's optimistic!" 

Flyers of the day emphasized that the cadet program provided a wealth of opportunities and need not be a precursor to a military career. Even so, cadet membership declined overall throughout the 1970s and 1980s. 



Female Cadet Summer Dress Uniform

Female Cadet Dress Uniform (1967-1977)

This female cadet summer dress uniform featured a knee-length skirt—a much shorter skirt than previous uniforms. Nevertheless, some cadets apparently considered the skirt too long. One unit commander reported in the February 1974 Civil Air Patrol News that he "heard a lot of complaints from boys and girls...The boys complain about hair cut, mustaches and sideburns while the girls complain about skirt length and HAIR LENGTH." CAP uniform and grooming standards were at odds with the long hairstyles and miniskirts of the period.