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Staff Duty Analysis: Public Affairs Officer


PAO Pitfalls and Sample Assignment

Working on your Staff Duty Analysis (SDA) for C/1st Lt Sustained? 

1.      Review these following common pitfalls you should avoid as a CAP PAO:  
  • Boring or irrelevant headline: Make sure it’s a hook that is relevant to Joe Public. A good CAP Headline is not necessarily a good News Headline. 

  • Boring or irrelevant content. Grip & Grin photos/stories almost never get published...unless it's a cadet milestone or there's a politician in it. CAP members might care...but will an uneducated audience care? Use photos that tell a story. NEVER use photos that violate CAPM 39-1. 

  • Trying to tell too much story: CAP has 75 years of story that is relevant to every story we tell, so we must TELL ALL OF IT! Not true! Make sure your story is not an essay. Accept that people may not know anything about your CAP (or the topic), so you need to express the main point of your news story and represent your topic at the same time. Use the CAP Boilerplate to fill in this “background.” Keep it to 2000 characters or less and break your copy into short paragraphs.

  • Attaching large files to emails: Don’t. Include a reasonable print-worthy photo or three (no more), but don’t include the 35 MB version that came off your camera. Never embed photos in Word documents.

  • Attaching your release in a Word document: Some mail servers prevent attachments. Include your release in the body if the email.

  • Writing press releases like advertisements: They should be newsworthy and informative.

  • No call-to-action or clear identity: So you wrote a story about a squadron. Did you mention they are part of Civil Air Patrol, or what that is? Did you include a “call-to-action” for the reader at the end?

  • Writing in first or second person: Never do this.

2.      Review:
(a) the Tips & Tricks section of this site; and 
(b) review the last two presentations on the Training page.

3.      Complete the Sample PAO Assignment.