Cadet Element Leader

A Cadet Element Leader is a cadet in charge of a cadet element in a flight. The Element Leader is generally the lowest leadership position a cadet can be assigned to in most situations.


According to CAPR 20-1, the duties of an element leader to his or her element are as follows:

  • Satisfactory performance during formations and ceremonies.
  • Military bearing
  • Morale

Note that while CARP 20-1 refers to these being the duties of a "Cadet Squad Leader", it is generally accepted that, because Element Leader is not mentioned in CAPR 20-1, that "Squad Leader" actually refers to Cadet Element Leaders.

General Information

Cadet Element Leader is the lowest responsibility that a cadet may hold, and is generally assigned to cadets holding the grade of C/Amn, C/A1C, and C/SrA. Element Leaders report to the cadet flight sergeant.

Duties of the element leader do NOT include any command responsibilities. Rather, element leaders are expected to train their elements over the fundamental military bearing that all cadets are expected to have. Element leaders may serve as a link in the chain of command, however, so that any information that needs to pass either to the element from above or to the flight sergeant from below may go through the element leader. In some squadrons, the element leader may serve ONLY as a link in the chain of command, and hold no responsibility outside of that.

The element leader is generally not considered a "staff position" due to the lack of any real command responsibility, although the fact that it includes special duties above that of a basic cadet usually allows the element leader to be included as a pseudo-staff position..

In some cases, especially those with larger flights, element leaders may be assigned an assistant element leader to assist with training.

Position at different command levels

Element leaders are generally most highly utilized at activities above the squadron level, such as encampments and some NCSA's. Most squadrons do not have the volume of cadets necessary to make assigning element leaders practical, and generally the flight sergeant will take over the responsibilities of the element leader.


  • CAPR 20-1, Organization of Civil Air Patrol
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