Holding the most prestigious and challenging position available to a
cadet NCO, the cadet first sergeant’s role is a varied one. The “shirt” is
expected to be a master trainer, a great motivator, a fair referee, a just
disciplinarian, and an aide-de-camp to the cadet commander.
Immediate Supervisor: Cadet Commander
Typical Grades: C/MSgt through C/CMSgt
Lead Cadets in PT. As first sergeant, you will lead cadets in fitness
games and drills, and ensure cadets warm-up and cool-down properly.
You are expected to be a great motivator during all fitness events.
Lead Cadets in Drill & Ceremonies. You organize all squadron formations
and receive the reports from the flight sergeants. Additionally,
you supervise and mentor flight sergeants during drill. The testing officer
may request your help during the drill portions of leadership tests.
Safeguard CAP Facilities & Property. The cadet commander will rely
on you to ensure the headquarters, and any place the cadets visit, is
left in good condition. Likewise, you help the supply officer issue temporary
equipment and ensure it is properly cared for and returned.
Participate in Inspections. Assist the inspecting officer by taking notes
during inspections. Follow-up by working with the flight sergeants to
ensure cadets correct deficiencies. Look for trends in the inspection
results to determine if cadets need extra training to meet standards.
Keep Cadets Safe. Because you will be working directly with junior
cadets, you have a special responsibility to protect their safety and
general welfare. This includes ensuring they drink plenty of water,
understand the safety rules, keep themselves clean, etc. (This aspect
of your job applies mostly during weekend and summer activities.)
Counsel Cadets. Flight sergeants will seek your help in resolving
disputes, correcting inappropriate behavior, and enforcing standards. A
visit to the first sergeant is a cadet’s last chance to resolve a problem
informally, without involving an officer. Listen well and be fair in your
dealings with cadets.
Train Cadets in the Basics of Cadet Life. You should be one of the top
instructors in the whole squadron, an expert in basic leadership topics.
You may be called upon to teach cadets drill, wear of the uniform, and
customs and courtesies. Moreover, it is your responsibility to help the
element leaders and flight sergeants become good trainers.
Provide Personnel & Administrative Support. You should be a resource
for cadets in the personnel arena by helping them request ribbons and
awards. Also, keep the commander informed about which cadets are
eligible for promotion. The commander will also count on you for general
Pass-On Information. As a vital link in the chain of command, you
need to promote excellent two-way communication between yourself
and the cadet commander. Keep your commander informed of any
issues which may develop into significant problems.
Support the Commander. Represent the cadet commander. When
passing on their instructions, show cadets that you support the unit’s
goals. Be flexible and help the commander whenever possible.
For additional perspectives on the cadet first sergeant, see the Wiki at
Prepare for the Future: Flight Commander
- Study for Mitchell Award exam. Lead by example. Keep progressing
rapidly in the Cadet Program.
- Think about your own performance as a leader. What are your
strengths? What are your weaknesses? Lead yourself by taking
charge of your own leadership development.
- Hone your delegation skills. To succeed as first sergeant, you
must gain the support of your flight sergeants. As you
advance in CAP, delegation skills will become even more vital.