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This article refers to the general definition of cadet. A Cadet may also be a member of the Cadets, a historical Russianmarker political party. For the record label, see Cadet Records.

A cadet is a trainee officer in the military, a junior branch of an important family, or simply a person who is a junior trainee.


The word is recorded in English since 1634, originally for a young son, identical to the French, which is itself derived from the gascon Occitan (spoken in Gasconymarker in southwest France) capdet "captain, chief," in turn from the Late Latin capitellum, the diminutive of Latin caput "head" (hence also chief).
A group of Cadets
Younger sons from Gascon families apparently were commonly sent to the French court to serve as officers; as a rule non-heirs from the European nobility sought careers in the military or the clergy.

Genealogical usage

A cadet is a younger son, as opposed to the firstborn heir. Compare puisne.

As an adjective, "cadet" is used to signify a junior branch of a family. Thus, the Orleans line was a cadet branch of the Bourbon family.For the status as such, the noun cadency exists, as in the heraldic term mark of cadency for a feature which distinguishes a cadet son's coat of arms from the father's which is passed on unaltered only to the (usually firstborn) heir.

Military has been the traditional career choice of the nobility throughout the centuries, and it has been customary that the firstborn son has inherited the title, lands and possessions, while the younger sons of a noble family went to military, often to be trained as officers. Hence the meaning "cadet branch" for a junior branch of a family.

Military context

In Commonwealth countries, including United Kingdommarker, a cadet is a member of one of the cadet forces. In the United Kingdom these are the Combined Cadet Force, the Sea Cadets, Army Cadets and the Air Training Corps. Military officers in training are called officer cadets.

In Canadamarker, the term "cadet" refers to an officer in training, with the official rank names as Officer Cadet for the Air Force and Army and Naval Cadet for the Navy. It also refers to any member of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, Royal Canadian Air Cadets or Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. These three organizations are volunteer youth groups administered by the Department of National Defence.

In Germanymarker, the rank Cadet ( ) only exists in the German Navy for officers in training. In the Army and the Luftwaffe, officers in training usually have the rank of a Fahnenjunker or Ensign (German: Fähnrich) before they are promoted into the rank of a Lieutenant.

In the Philippinesmarker, the term cadet is used in mostly military attached organizations, but it is more distinctive in the service academies of the Philippines, such as these are the Philippine Military Academymarker(PMA), the Philippine National Police Academy(PNPA), and Philippine Merchant Marine Academy(PMMA). Graduates of these service academies, are automatically given officer commission in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau Of Jail Management and Penelogy. Graduates of PMMA are given reserve officer status in the Philippine Navy and mostly go the private shipping firms. The term cadet is also applicable to the enrolles of Citizen's Army Training (for high school) and Reserve Officer Training Corps (for college).Service academy cadets are thought to be between the NCO and Officers ranks, and NCO consider cadets as rank higher to them.

In Irelandmarker, Cadet is a pupil of the Military College, which carries out officer training for the Air Corps, Army and Naval Service. Training takes 2 years and the Cadets are split into Senior and Junior Grades and Classes.

In Norwaymarker, a "cadet" is a pupil of either of the three the Krigsskolen ("war schools"), which educate commanding officers for either the Army, the Navy or to the Air Force.

In the United Statesmarker, cadet refers to an officer in training. Students at the United States Military Academymarker, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the Maine Maritime Academy, the Massachusetts Maritime Academymarker, the State University of New York Maritime College, and members of the Air Force and Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps officially rank as "Cadet" while holding varying cadet ranks in their individual organizations.

In Australia Cadet also refers to an officer in training. The official rank is Officer Cadet (OCDT) however OCDT's in the Royal Military College - Duntroon are referred to as Staff Cadet (SCDT) for historical reasons.

Youth cadet corps

Faujdarhat Cadet College
In the British and Commonwealth (formerly Empire) as well as Russianmarker service, these groups of boys or youths are organized, armed and trained on volunteer military lines.


Antigua And Barbuda Cadet Corps Consist of students between the age of 12-19. the Antigua & Barbuda Cadet Core (ABCC) is a youth program helps discipline children and is part of the Antigua and Baruda Defense Force They are two catogaries in the Cadet Core the sea cadets and the land cadets, ranks in this force starts from Recruit, Coropal, Staff sargen, Sargen and the highest is WNCO.


In Australia, a "Cadet" is a person aged between 13 and 20 who is a member of the Australian Defence Force Cadets (ADFC). The ADFC comprises the Australian Navy Cadets (ANC), the Australian Army Cadets (AAC), Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC), which are funded by the Australian Government via the Department of Defence. Other cadet movements include the St John Ambulance Cadets (First Aid Services), and the South Australian Country Fire Service Cadets.


In Bangladesh the students of Cadet colleges are called Cadet. The recruits of army, navy and airforce are also called Gentleman Cadet(GC).There are 12 cadet colleges in Bangladesh. Faujdarhat Cadet College is the first cadet college of the country, established in 1958.


Cadets Canada is the marketing name for the Canadian Cadet Organizations that comprise the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.

The program is sponsored by the Canadian Forces and funded through the Department of National Defence (DND) in partnership with the Army Cadet, Air Cadet, and Navy Leagues of Canada.

The term Cadet Movement applies when speaking of everyone associated with the program including the CF, DND, Leagues, Community Sponsors, Cadets, and parents and guardians of cadets.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police use to maintain police cadet partnership with Scouts Canada called the RCMP Rovers and Ventures; however, it has been re-constituted into the RCMP Stetsons and Spurs and is run by various RCMP detachments.

St. John Ambulance in Canada supports a youth division that includes "cadets".

Hong Kong

Two cadet corps are linked to Hong Kongmarker colonial past:

Both are now funded by the Hong Kongmarker government and has no ties to either the British Forces or the PLA.


In Ireland a cadet is a young member of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps or the St. John Ambulance Brigade of Ireland and trainee army officers are cadets from DFTC.

New Zealand

In New Zealandmarker, the cadet forces are the Air Training Corps (ATC), the New Zealand Cadet Corps (NZCC) and the Sea Cadet Corps (SCC). All of these organisations are part of the umbrella organisation of the New Zealand Cadet Forces


Russian cadet corps have existed since 1732 and despite being banned by the Sovietmarker government for their support of the White movement, were reintroduced after the fall of the USSR.


In Singaporemarker, three national cadet forces exist: the National Cadet Corpsmarker, National Police Cadet Corpsmarker and the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps. These cadet organisations have a uniform and rank structure which closely mirrors that of their parent body.

In addition there are other non-national cadet organisations, namely the The Boys' Brigade in Singapore, Girls' Brigade, The Singapore Scout Association, Girl Guides Singapore, St. John Ambulance in Singapore and Red Cross Youth.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lankamarker, there is one primary cadet force which is the National Cadet Corps (NCC). In recent years Air Force Cadet platoons have been established, however its unknown if these units come under the NCC or the Sri Lanka Air Force. St Peters College and Royal College inaugurated the air force cadet platoons in year 2007

United Kingdom

In Commonwealth countries, including United Kingdommarker, a cadet is a member of one of the cadet forces. In the United Kingdommarker, the cadet forces are the Air Training Corps, Police Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Sea Cadets (each is a stand alone youth organisations) and the school-based Combined Cadet Force. At the next level of training there are university cadet forces - University Officer Training Corps (UOTCs), of which there are 19 across the country, University Air Squadrons (UASs), of which there are 14, and University Royal Naval Units (URNUs), of which there are also 14. They are designed to train university students in military leadership, to promote the military across universities and to increase civilian-military relations. Students are not committed to serve in the armed forces, but can gain qualifications and commissions through the organisations. Cadets can gain a Territorial Army (Group B officer) commission through a UOTC, an Acting Pilot Officer commission through a UAS, while URNU students hold the rank of Honorary Midshipman.

Cadets also represent St. John Ambulance in the line of public duties and first aid.

There are many competitions for cadets within the UK, for example the "Swift and Bold Competition", held at "The London Oratory School", whose CCF still holds the name Royal Green Jackets long after the regular army and territorial army regiments have been amalgamated into The Rifles.

United States

The United States also has several youth cadet organizations. The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps is a youth citizenship program with units administered by either the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard in American high schools. One of the primary functions of the Civil Air Patrol is to administer a similar cadet program training in elements of leadership, aerospace studies, and search and rescue. There are other programs including the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps and the Young Marines. The oldest cadet program in the United States is the United States Army Cadet Corps which was created in 1909.

For those who choose to enter a formal program to become an officer, cadet is the rank bestowed on those in the United States Air Force Academy, West Pointmarker, the Coast Guard Academy and ROTC. Members of these programs will be commissioned in the military, with a term of commitment afterwards.

In additon, students at a senior military college such as The Citadel marker, the Virginia Military Institutemarker, and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets are referred to as cadets - although they may or may not be enrolled in a formal officer commissioning program.

Civilian context

Hong Kong

In early colonial history of Hong Kongmarker, cadet was a system for training young Englishmen to be officials for Hong Kong, where they had to learn Chinese culture and sometimes Cantonese language and written Chinese in Hong Kong. Some cadets became major officials and even Hong Kong Governors. Later cadets were young policemen under training in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force.


In Switzerlandmarker, cadet ( ) refers to a participant of the programs of a corps of cadets ( ), which are maintained by public schools or private associations. From the late 18th century to the mid-20th century, the Kadettenkorps used to prepare highschool students for service in the Swiss army. Influenced by the "Turnerbewegung" ('Gym movement'), the Kadettenkorps started in the early 20th century to shift their programme towards sports. Nowadays, the Swiss Cadets Association ( ) includes Kadettenkorps offering the following programmes: general sports (including the national league handball club Kadetten Schaffhausen), trecking (like scouting), march music bands ( ) and traffic regulation ( ). Kadettenkorps offering traffic regulation only, are represented by the Swiss Verkehrskadetten Association ( ).

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, a similar usage exists for personnel in training to become Firefighters, Police officers, Ambulance Technicians or Paramedics .

United States

In the United States, cadet refers to an officer in training for the police, firefighter and EMT services. Some police and sheriff's departments employ cadets as non-sworn law enforcement officers, either before or after entering a training academy, to allow them to gain experience in law enforcement without becoming a fully-sworn officer. They conduct various duties, similar to the UKmarker's PCSOs, ranging from office work to parking and traffic enforcement. An example is the NYC police cadet corps, which is similar to an internship.

Merchant Navy

In the Merchant Navy, a Cadet is an officer under training in much the same way as the military context. Cadets choose either one of two branches for professional development. Deck Cadets train in the fields of Navigation, Shiphandling and Cargo Handling as well as Maritime Law. They will also receive training in firefighting, first aid and survival techniques. Engineering Cadets train to become Marine Engineers, and as such their fields encompass a range of theoretical and practical engineering subjects, including mechanical physics, thermodynamics, control engineering, applied mathematics, welding and fabrication. Engineering practice is mostly learned during the Cadet's assignment to a ship. Engineering Cadets also train in firefighting, survival and first aid. The cadet training scheme differs from country to country, but the learning objectives are always the same. In the UKmarker for example, Cadets undergo training in a block-release format, spending a shorter time in college before going to sea for a short assignment after which the cadet returns to college. Other countries allow the cadet to finish his/her degree before going to sea, but most countries seem to prefer a system where a cadet completes all of his/her sea time before returning to college for the final year of their degree.

Other usage

Some sports teams also refer to players that are in the process of being built up to play for the team at a later date as cadets. Such players often play for a lesser team in the same club. This is done quite commonly in the National Rugby League (NRL). The Serie B, the second most important football league in Italy, is nicknamed campionato cadetto, meaning championship of the cadets.

Cadet is also used in short track auto racing for the name of a category of cars. This division is usually an intermediate division that allows drivers to gain experience for faster classes in the future. This name has been used at race tracks in the Western PA/WV/Southwestern NY area and the GA/AL/SC area.

In Australia, the term is also used to describe a person pursuing a career as a Chartered Accountant under the "Cadetship" program, designed to accelerate career progression for motivated students. The programs are offered to students finishing high school or currently undertaking tertiary studies in relevant courses by several Accounting firms such as the Big 4 accountancy firms (Deloitte, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopersmarker and Ernst & Young), and mid-tier firms such as BDO and Grant Thornton.

To refer to someone as a space cadet is to imply that they are "on another planet," i.e. foolish or unaware of their surroundings, for example, "That guy is a total space cadet." The phrase was inspired by science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein's juvenile novel Space Cadet.

"Cadet" may also refer to a member of The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, based in Allentownmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker.

In The Bahamas, it is not uncommon to refer to upper primary or high school students job shadowing various professionals as cadets. E.g. teacher cadet, library cadet, police cadet, nurse cadet and technical cadets.

See also


Sources and external links

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