The cadet flight commander leads a flight of 8 to 15 cadets. It is the
first cadet position to have significant managerial and oversight
responsibilities, as the flight commander supervises and mentors a
flight sergeant and 2 to 4 element leaders. Having developed some
basic instructional skills, flight commanders are called on to teach
almost any cadet-related topic. As commanders, they set goals and
develop training plans for the flight, informally counsel cadets and formally
evaluate their leadership skills. As officers, flight commanders
serve on the squadron’s leadership team, working with the cadet commander
and other officers to grow the squadron. In short, the flight
commander creates the conditions necessary for the flight to succeed.
Immediate Supervisor: Cadet Commander
Typical Grades: C/2d Lt through C/Capt
Instruct Cadets. While the basic aspects of cadet life – wear of the
uniform, drill, saluting, etc. – should be instructed by cadet NCOs, as a
flight commander and cadet officer, the squadron needs your teaching
experience. You may be called on to teach a variety of cadet-related
topics. Continue to develop your teaching and presentation skills.
Motivate and Discipline the Flight. The key to developing positive attitudes
is understanding. Ensure everyone in the flight understands the
big picture, the reason behind the various aspects of cadet life. Uphold
CAP’s standards in the leadership laboratory and the Core Values, but
work through flight sergeants when possible. Recognize that your status
as a role model is even more powerful than your positional authority.
Lead by example.
Mentor the Flight Sergeant and Element Leaders. Ensure the flight
sergeant and element leaders understand the scope of their responsibilities.
Expect them to make mistakes from time to time, and help
them learn from them. You are their coach and mentor; help them
develop their leadership skills. Likewise, be on watch for cadets who
are ready for new leadership challenges.
Set Goals for the Flight. Take the cadet commander’s broad goals and
add specificity and detail to them as you set goals for the flight.
Identify what skills and subjects cadets need help with and what they
need to do to qualify for promotion; help get those needs added to the
squadron’s training calendar. Depending on how your squadron develops
training plans, you may be asked to draft schedules for weekly
squadron meetings or special activities. Assist the cadet commander
and senior staff in setting mid to long-range goals for the squadron.
Coach and Counsel Cadets. Help cadets develop their potential
through informal, on-the-spot coaching. Work through your flight
sergeant when possible. Likewise, formally evaluate each cadet’s performance
using a CAPF 60-90. Assist the cadet commander and senior
staff in making promotion decisions. Always be observing cadets.
Drill and Ceremonies. Lead the flight during formations and ceremonies.
Supervise and coach the flight sergeant and element leaders
as they drill the flight.
Prepare for the Future: Cadet Commander
- Keep developing your people skills. Pay special attention to how
you interact with seniors. Listen well. Explain your ideas logically.
Be open to others’ ideas. Show that you are willing to cooperate.
- Be level-headed and show you grasp the big picture and are not
easily rattled or frustrated. Maturity and a positive attitude are
two critical attributes for cadet officers.
- Work on delegation. Resist the urge to micromanage your NCOs.
Give “mission-type” directions to your NCOs and allow them
some flexibility to make the job their own.
- Take charge of your own leadership development. Review your
own leadership performance. Consider using a journal to reflect
on what you are learning about leadership.