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Guide 3 - Unit Officer Guide

Category: Guides

Published date: Apr 12, 2024

This guide was created to assist Unit Staff Officers in performing their duties and to meet reporting requirements. This guide was created to assist Unit Staff Officers and volunteers in performing their duties.



This guide was created to assist Unit Staff Officers and volunteers in performing their duties.

  1. Who Should Use this guide?

    All current Unit Staff Officers and CAF Members should use this Guide.

  2. Changes:

    This is your organization. Any CAF Member, Unit Staff Officer or employee may recommend changes to any CAF publication. Recommendations may be submitted in any format; however, the specific document must be identified by number, title and date. The office of primary responsibility will evaluate recommendations within thirty (30) days and the individual or Unit will be notified of action taken.

No. of Printed Pages - 12 OPR: Vice President of Membership Approved by: President Distribution: All Unit Staff Officers, CAF members upon request and Headquarters Staff as required. (Also available online)


Thank you for volunteering to serve the CAF as a Unit Staff Officer. Some of you may have the good fortune of being trained and informed of your new duties and responsibilities by the person you are replacing but many are new to the CAF and new to your leadership position. The CAF Headquarters staff is available to assist you and answer any questions. If you are not sure who to talk to, call the Vice President of Membership at 214-330-1700, ext. 142, or email Another key resource is the CAF's website It contains several useful pages packed with CAF information. Follow the login instructions, and then use the buttons on the homepage to locate Membership Renewal page, Digital Dispatch, Unit Manual, Guides and Resources, CAF Mission, Code of Conduct and Global Ends, General Staff Meeting Schedule and Minutes, New Member Videos and Safety. CAF HQ departments also have websites. Take a look at,, and!


As Unit Leader, you assume the responsibility for the overall operation of your Unit. You are responsible to ensure the Unit follows the CAF Unit Manual, Guides and Policies. You have been elected by the membership and they expect you to provide leadership to help move the Unit forward.

As the Unit’s CEO, you should be involved in all aspects of the Unit’s operation. This does not mean that you must manage every detail of the Unit’s operation. That might be possible in a small Unit, but impossible for the larger Units. Like any CEO, you should be aware of what your fellow volunteers are doing to support the CAF and Unit mission.

You are the public face of the organization and should be ready and willing to talk knowledgeably about the CAF and your Unit. You are also an ambassador for General Aviation in your community. You should foster a welcoming and open atmosphere at your Unit meetings and events, so guests will feel that they can be a part of the CAF family.

What are the duties for my new position?

Unit Officer positions and duties are described in Section 2 of the CAF Unit Manual. However, don't forget that the best information may come from the person you are replacing. Also, individual Units and Unit Officers have sometimes agreed to share tasking and some reporting responsibilities. So, get to know your local procedures.

What regulations do I need to know about and how do I get them?

• Regulations are available for download from the COLONEL LOGIN area of the CAF website,, using the Unit Manual, Guides & Resources button.

Your Unit Staff position will identify the regulations you need to do your duty. Unit Staff position descriptions are in Section 2 of the CAF Unit Manual. You should also refer to Guide 2.

Aircraft Safety

The safe operation of vintage aircraft is central to the CAF mission. While a Unit Leader is not required to be a licensed mechanic or qualified to fly a particular aircraft, it is within the Unit Leader’s authority and obligation to request intervention and assistance by the CAF Headquarters Staff in matters of aircraft maintenance and operations.

Conflict Resolution

A Unit Leader sets the tone for the Unit. Collaboration and cooperation are keys to success. However, it is almost inevitable that disputes will occur within the Unit. Sometimes these are personality conflicts between members. As Unit Leader, you should act quickly to resolve those disputes before they fester and begin to impact the Unit’s performance. This often involves having a frank and sometime difficult discussion with the parties involved. You should strive to resolve the conflict but remember you must keep the best interest of the Unit in the forefront. Sometimes disputes simply can’t be resolved and one or both parties involved need to step away from the Unit. If you as the Leader have done your best to mediate the problem, there is no shame in losing a member, if in the long run the Unit will be better.

Some disputes occur at the Unit Staff level. Remember, you have the authority and obligation to override the decisions of the Unit Staff if, in your opinion, that decision is not logical, a business decision that will lead the Unit into financial difficulties or a decision that may be detrimental to the “good order and success” of the Unit.

While every effort should be made at the Unit level to resolve disputes, a Unit staff officer(s) may appeal an override decision of the Unit Leader and request the assistance of the Headquarters’ staff. This appeal should be made to the office of the CAF Vice President of Membership. The level of intervention necessary will determined by the Vice President of Membership. If Headquarters Staff does become involved in a Unit dispute, they will attempt to be as fair and impartial as possible, while keeping the best interest of the Unit and the overall CAF in mind. The President may also provide Headquarters Staff assistance without a direct request from the Unit.

Continuity of Leadership

Unplanned events sometimes occur within a Unit’s Leadership which limits or even eliminates a Unit Officer from functioning in their elected position. To maintain and sustain the Unit’s leadership, any Unit officer in this situation must bring it to the attention of the Unit Staff. The Unit Staff must consider their options and take action to meet the needs of the Unit. The Staff may choose to appoint an interim qualified officer or move the duties to another staff officer to ensure leadership continuity during the absence of the affected officer. This should be done anytime an officer’s service is interrupted for more than 30 days. Interim appointment will only be made for the time required to replace the absent staff Officer and must be approved by a majority vote of the remaining staff and coordinated with the Vice President of Membership. Any absences of more than 90 days must be handled as a normal vacancy on the Unit Staff. If a Unit Staff officer is removed or resigns, an appointment may be made by the CAF President.


All Unit Staff Officers must read the CAF Unit Manual and have a clear understanding of the CAF's mission, goals and objectives, the Code of Conduct (Section 2) and a basic understanding of Unit Operations (Section 3).

  1. Unit Leaders, Executive Officers and Adjutants must know the Unit Manual and be familiar with the CAF Aircraft Sponsorship program (Section 6 of the Unit Manual), CAF Constitution and Bylaws (Section 10) and be familiar with CAF Guide 2 for Reports and Information required by Headquarters.

  2. Unit Operations Officers must have access to CAFR 60-1, know the requirements, and be familiar with the Aircraft Sponsorship program (Section 6 of the CAF Unit Manual) and CAFR 55-7 Request for Airshow/Events Approvals.

  3. Unit Maintenance Officers should have access to CAFR 66-1 and be familiar with the CAF Unit Manual and applicable FAA regulations and requirements for their assigned aircraft. Additionally, Maintenance Officers must help observe ground safety hazards and work with the Unit Safety Officer to help ensure a safe working environment during maintenance and ground operations.

  4. Unit Finance Officers must have a working knowledge of the CAF Unit Finance Guide and be familiar with the CAF Unit Manual particularly in its guidance regarding fundraising events, Aircraft Sponsorship program and the Unit Financial Status Policy in Section 2 of the Unit Manual.

  5. Unit Safety Officers should have access to the CAF Unit Ground Safety Guide and must be familiar with the requirements of the CAF Unit Manual and their assigned aircraft, hangar and ground operations and monitor all aspects of Unit safety by working closely with the Unit Operations and Maintenance Officers. Safety is everyone's job!

  6. Education Officers should look for opportunities to engage with youth to promote the CAF, STEM and aviation learning. It is the responsibility of the Education Officer to ensure all volunteers and the Unit are complying with the Youth Protection and Interaction Policy, media use and hold harmless directives. Please note that starting on January 1, 2025, any person serving as a Unit Staff Officer must complete the Youth Protection and Interaction Training and the Criminal History Background Check. It is important to be familiar with Section 8 of the Unit Manual.

  7. Development Officers should be familiar with what a Culture of Philanthropy is, as outlined in Section 9 Fundraising of the Unit Manual and encourage this culture of every Unit. They should be familiar with the requirements related to donations (cash and non-cash) as outlined in the CAF Unit Manual and the CAF Unit Finance Guide. Ensuring supporters (donors and members) are recognized and appreciated for their support is vital fulfilling the CAF’s mission.

You will find many useful resources at these departmental websites: There are additional materials that will help you; some key documents are:

Guide 2 Administrative Guide for Reports/Information required by CAF Headquarters Guide 3 Unit Officers Guide Guide 7 Restoration Grant Program Guide Guide 9 CAF Hall of Fame Guide
Guide 10 Unit Level Employees Guide
Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is the organizational structure of the CAF?

The organizational structure of the CAF and its associated corporations is outlined in CAF Unit Manual Section 2. This section explains the four separate corporations and short job descriptions for all CAF employees. It also contains information regarding the CAF General Staff and CAF Advisory Board. Additional information is contained in Section 10, CAF Constitution and Bylaws, in the CAF Unit Manual.

  1. Are CAF Units separate legal entities?

No, Units operate under the CAF. Units of the Commemorative Air Force have neither legal authority nor entity unto themselves. A Unit will not represent itself to be a legal entity or obtain a tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. Please refer the CAF Unit Finance Guide, Legal Status of Units for more information.

  1. Can I sign a contract or legal agreement as a CAF Unit Officer?

No Unit, member of that Unit, or any member of the Commemorative Air Force as a whole, can enter into a contractual agreement or make purchases in the name of the Commemorative Air Force without written approval of authorized Headquarters Officers. There are mechanisms to grant authority for approved Unit events such as airshows, but these are accomplished through an official approval process. Refer to CAFR 55-7 for Airshow and event approvals. Internally, each Unit should have in place local procedures for approval of expenditures and financial controls following the policies of the Unit Finance Guide. Additional guidance is available in the CAF Unit Manual Section 2, Unit Staff Organization.

  1. As a Unit Officer, am I protected by the CAF's Directors and Officers Insurance policy?

Yes, to the extent of the coverage and limits defined in the policy.

  1. Who can join a CAF Unit?

CAF Unit Membership is open to anyone who is eligible for CAF membership. Unit members must be dues paid national CAF members (Colonels, Preservation Colonels, Life Members, Gold Life Members or Platinum Life Members). Cadets can participate in Unit activities; however, Cadets may not hold Unit Staff Officer positions. Supporting Members and members of the Vintage Warbird Riders Club are not eligible to vote in CAF matters and are not eligible to join a Unit or serve in a leadership role. All Unit member applications are subject to review by the Unit staff. Life and Honorary memberships are not permitted at the Unit level. The CAF's President must approve all requests for national Honorary memberships.

Additional information about the membership requirements is in Section 2 of the CAF Unit Manual.

  1. Where do I find copies of all the necessary CAF forms, such as maintenance forms, hold harmless, operations forms or membership forms?

The quickest way to locate these forms is to use the "Unit Manual, Guides & Resources" button on the members only website,

  1. How do I find information regarding becoming a CAF pilot?

Because of the unique and historic nature of the CAF flying fleet, the organization has established a set of qualifications for pilot participation. Visit for more information. Also refer to CAFR 60-1. You will find a copy on the members website, under "Unit Manual, Guides & Resources".

  1. How do I find information regarding the Aircraft Sponsorship program?

The Aircraft Sponsor Program is a cornerstone of the CAF organization and is responsible for helping keep the CAF Fleet flying for over 65 years. The Sponsor Program is outlined in the CAF Unit Manual, Section 6. The Unit Manual is available online from the members only website,

  1. What are the rules regarding Unit websites?

The guidelines for Unit websites are contained in the CAF Unit Manual, Section 3. Questions can be directed to the CAF's Vice President of Marketing. Additional information is available in the COLONEL LOGIN area of the CAF website You will want to refer to The Standards Guide.

Note: All Domain names for Unit websites must be registered in the Name of the Unit, not the individual or webmaster performing these duties. All registration information and passwords for accessing the administration of the Domain must be provided to CAF Headquarters. Please send this information to the the Vice President of Marketing.

  1. Where do I find the information regarding addresses, email addresses and telephone information for Headquarters Staff?

The current contact list is available from the CAF’s website Click the “About” button at the top and select “Headquarters Staff”. The mailing address for CAF Headquarters is: P.O. Box 764769, Dallas, Texas, 75376. The physical address for CAF Headquarters is 5661 Mariner Drive, Dallas, Texas, 75237.

  1. How do I get an aircraft assigned to my Unit?

When CAF aircraft become available for assignment, they are listed on the website. A Unit can request assignment through the CAF's Director of Operations & Maintenance. Information can be provided to you regarding the aircraft and process your requests. The American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum and Headquarters staff review assignment requests and make recommendations to the President for his consideration. Final assignment is approved by the American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum. The assignment process is in the CAF Unit Manual, Section 5.

  1. How do I get an issue or question on the General Staff’s agenda?

Members are encouraged to contact the CAF President to bring up issues or questions for their meeting agenda. Typically, the meeting’s final agenda and "read ahead" file are prepared and sent to the General Staff approximately one week in advance of each scheduled meeting. Any member is welcome to attend any General Staff meetings during the year. You can find a list of scheduled meetings on the General Staff page of the CAF website.

  1. How do I get in touch with other CAF Units and Unit Officers?

Use the website,, and look at the Locations. Units with websites are linked there, and that is the quickest source of contact information. Additionally, you may contact Headquarters for the latest contact information.

  1. Is it a requirement that I attend the CAF Conference held each year?

Attendance is mandatory for each Unit Leader. The CAF Conference is designed to share information and best practices within the CAF Unit structure. It provides an opportunity to review critical new information related to CAF Units and provides a direct channel for Units to interact with CAF Staff and other Unit Leaders. While Unit Leaders are required to attend, other Unit Officers are strongly encouraged to attend as the break-out sessions cover a wide variety of topics that are valuable to a Unit’s operations. Regular CAF members are also welcome to attend. If the Unit Leader cannot attend or be represented by another staff officer, a request for a waiver must be submitted to the CAF President.

  1. Where do I find information regarding fundraising?

The basic guidelines for fundraising are available in the CAF Unit Manual, Section 9. The best resource, however, is For specific questions, contact the Chief Relationship Officer or Phanthropy Manager for assistance. Often you can be put in touch with Units that have experience conducting successful fundraising events.

  1. Where do I find information regarding education?

    Information on Education can be found in the CAF Unit Manual, Section 8. The best resource is For specific questions, contact the Vice President of Education for assistance.

  2. Why is it important to provide Headquarters with our Unit Membership list?

First, having an accurate Unit Roster is critical to keeping track of the member’s participation and is a backup to locally held records. Second, at election time this list becomes very important to the Unit Finance Officer, who is responsible for determining who is eligible to vote in Unit elections. A roster should be sent to Headquarters twice annually. See Guide 2 Reports and Information Required for Headquarters for a full list of what is required and when. See Unit Manual, Section 2, for details regarding the Adjutant's duties and Unit election information.

  1. What are the guidelines regarding wearing CAF uniforms?

This information is contained in the COLONEL LOGIN area of the CAF website, under the Uniform Information button.

  1. Where is the information regarding CAF Unit and individual awards program?

Awards information is contained in CAFR 900-1. See the COLONEL LOGIN area of the CAF website, and use the "Unit Manual, Guides & Resources" button or contact the Vice President of Membership for details. Deadlines are important. Individual awards nominations must be submitted to Headquarters by 15 July each year; and Unit awards nominations not later than 15 December each year. CAF national awards are not to be used to replace local awards programs used at the Unit level.

  1. What is the approval process for Unit Airshows and fundraising events?

Refer to CAFR 55-7 Airshow and Event Approval for details. Additional details are available in the Unit Finance Guide and the Unit Manual, Section 9. Any event where alcohol is sold and or distributed requires approval from Headquarters to ensure that proper insurance coverage is in place for the event. See the information found on

  1. What is ASAP?

Annual Standardized Assessment Program (ASAP). ASAP is an important funding mechanism to cover some (but not all) of the administrative operations of the CAF (including but not limited to compliance and regulatory requirements (FAA, IRS, State Filings, audit, etc.) Details are contained in the Unit Finance Guide.

  1. Can we borrow artifacts from the Museum’s Collection?

Yes, provided your Unit can meet the established loan requirements. Contact the Chief Operating Officer for details at

For current HQ Staff contacts, go to and click on the Headquarters Staff link from the ABOUT menu.

(214) 330-1700 Toll Free (877) 767-7175 HQ Fax (214) 623-0023 Ops Fax (214) 623-0014 End of Guide

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