California Cadet Corps

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The California Cadet Corps (CACC), originally called the California High School Cadets, is a paramilitary youth organization in California open to students in the college, high school, middle school and elementary school grades.

Role and purpose[edit]

The six objectives of the California Cadet Corps are to develop leadership, citizenship, patriotism, academic excellence, basic military knowledge, and health, wellness, and fitness. The Cadet Corps motto is "Essayons," a word in the French language meaning "Let us try."

The CACC's primary goal is not to send all their cadets to the military. More of the CACC's cadets have become astronauts, chemists, doctors and other professions than have joined the military.[citation needed]

The CACC's primary goal was originally to prepare young men to be officers in the United States Military, after Brigadier General Edwin A. Forbes saw that the Germans already had such programs before World War I.[citation needed] However the program has since shifted its goal. Now, they prepare young men and women not only for the service but also for the business world where communication and leadership skills are essential.

History of the California Cadet Corps[edit]

The CACC was founded on 5 April 1911 by Brigadier General Edwin Alexander Forbes. At that time every California high school was required to have a California Cadet Corps unit if at least thirty-two students at the school were interested in the program.

The California Cadet Corps was created by an act of the Legislature on 5 April 1911. The California High School Cadets program was designed to prepare young men for service in the California National Guard. In 1935, the Legislature changed the organization's name to the California Cadet Corps.

The program flourished during both of the World Wars and beyond, until the start of the Vietnam War. At that time there was criticism of the military and CACC's funding was cut by the state of California. The program was basically "dead" all through that time period. The CACC regained its funding in 1999. Since 1999 the Cadet Corps has begun a slow rise back up and as of 2007 there were 8,000 cadets in the state.


The California Cadet Corps is referenced under sections 500 through 520.1 of the California Military and Veterans Code (CMVC). All colleges, community colleges and high schools are required by law to form companies of cadets on their campuses whenever at least 100 students voluntarily enroll in the program (CMVC 500-500.1[1]). The California Adjutant General may organize those cadet companies into battalions and regiments at his or her discretion (CMVC 505[1]). California boards of education, school principals and college presidents are required by law to cooperate with the Adjutant General to implement California Cadet Corps programs (CMVC 517[1]). Those public college and school districts that are not in compliance are denied additional funding and supplies for failing to implement California Cadet Corps programs (CMVC 510, 511, 511.5, & 512[1]).


The California Cadet Corps [2] is the flagship youth program of the California National Guard. Oversight of the Corps on the state level is provided by the Headquarters Staff, led by the Executive Officer of the California Cadet Corps, currently Colonel (CACC) Grace Edinboro. Officers of the California Cadet Corps are commissioned as officers in the inactive or active militia under the auspices of the Military Department, State of California. There are currently 10 normal brigades plus tenth brigade, which is the training brigade. In any brigade there are usually one or more battalions and within each battalion there are generally 1 or more companies. A company consists of 2 platoons.

Cadet Ranks and Appointments[edit]

Enlisted, NCO, Warrant Officer and Commissioned Officer Ranks of the CACC


The ranks of the California cadet corps closely resemble the ranks of the United States Army. The main difference is in the enlisted ranks, where the "Private" rank is replaced with "Cadet". Cadets can get promoted with one of two ways. Recruits, Enlisted Cadets, and NCOs up to the rank of Staff Sergeant (C/SSG) must take an online test based on knowledge of the Cadet Corps and other practical life skills. To pass, the cadets must score an 80% or better. For officers and NCOs testing to Sergeant First Class (C/SFC) or higher, Cadets must go before a promotion board of three adults, usually prior military or Cadet Corps personnel. The Cadets are inspected on their uniform preparation and are quizzed on overall knowledge of the Cadet Corps, and in the case of officers, leadership philosophy and principle.


There are many jobs that cadets can hold in the Corps. The lowest level of leadership is the squad leader. They are usually in charge of 4-14 cadets, depending on the size the unit allows. After that would be the platoon sergeant (PSG). They are in charge of the welfare of their cadets, as well as running day to day platoon operations. PSGs are also in charge of teaching their new platoon leaders (usually newly commissioned lieutenants) how platoons work, and to be a liaison between the platoon leader, the first sergeant, and the squad leaders. Platoon leaders are the first level of officer leadership. Usually Lieutenants, but commonly warrant officers or NCOs if the unit strength is low. Platoon leaders are responsible for leading the platoon and supervising the squad leaders and platoon sergeant. After that positions are as follows:

Company First Sergeant[edit]

The company First Sergeant (C/1SG) is an assistant to the company commander and is in charge of all of the PSGs. They are usually selected from the highest ranking Non-Commissioned officers (NCOs) and are generally the oldest and most experienced NCO in the company.

Company Commander and Executive Officer[edit]

The company commander (CO) is the highest-ranking officer in the company, usually a C/CPT. He/she is in charge of leading the company and training the Executive Officer (XO) to take his place the following year. The CO is generally a senior in high school. The Executive Officer is a junior in high school that is training to be the CO the next year. He/she is in charge of running day-to-day operations and to make sure all of the leaders under his/her command are communicating.

Battalion Sergeant Major[edit]

The battalion sergeant major (C/SGM) essentially has the duties of the first sergeant, but at a higher level. He/she is in charge of managing all of the first sergeants in the battalion, as well as being an aide and advisor to the battalion CO.

Battalion Commanding Officer and Executive Officer[edit]

The battalion commanding officer is usually a C/LTC, and has the same responsibilities of a company commander, but like a C/SGM, it is on a greater level. The battalion CO is responsible for leading his company commanders and training the battalion XO. The battalion XO (authorized C/MAJ) is in charge of running day-to-day operations and to make sure all of the leaders under his/her command are communicating.


S-Shops are the cadets on staff for a company, brigade, or battalion responsible for the welfare of cadets.


Administration and Personnel Officer


Security and Safety Officer


Training and Operations Officer


Supply And Logistics Officer


Civic, Public, and Military Affairs Officer


Information Technology, Communication & Systems Officer


The California Cadet Corps is explicitly opposed in Los Angeles Unified School District by the Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools, which in their mission statement writes that they are "…working to eliminate the Junior Reserves Officer Training Corp in our High Schools and the California Cadets in our Middle Schools, along with the school community.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "California Codes (CMVC 500-520.1)". Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  2. ^ "California Cadet Corps". 
  3. ^ "Who We Are". Retrieved 2007-10-19. 

External links[edit]