St. Paul Squadron History

The St. Paul Squadron received its Charter on 11 November 1963, becoming part of District 10 (Minnesota, Wisconsin & Upper Peninsula of Michigan) of the United States Power Squadrons.

Squadron Commanders and a description of the high points of their years are listed below.  An asterisk* indicates that member was elected to the position of District Commander.

2021 - 2023 - Commander Kris Harmon, AP (*2016) - 2021 found the Squadron beginning to recover from COVID-19: 159 VSCs were performed; custom seminars were conducted for boaters in 4 partner marinas.  7 individuals participated in and passed our Virtual ABC class.  In Education, 9 Members accounted for 20 course completions; Karen Manor earned her Educational Proficiency, Dale Perry achieved the grade SN, and 5 members earned their first grade of S.  Our annual Membership Appreciation Picnic (and Triangle Day) was a success. The Squadron hosted the District 10 Fall Conference.  The Bent Prop was awarded to Al & Kris Harmon.  2022 continued and expanded on the successes of 2021:  We added 2 new Vessel Examiners, and 9 individuals passed our hybrid ABC Class.  We welcomed 10 new members.  Social events included our Annual membership Picnic and an 4-day cruise up the Mississippi that included lock training through the lower St. Anthony Lock & Dam. In Education: Five members complete Boat Handling and earned the grade of S.  The Squadron was awared the District 10 SEA (Squadron Educational Award) trophy.  Greg Holmen earnd his 25th Merit Mark and received Life Member status. The Bent Prop was awarded to Rick & Penny Schroeder.  2023 (so far):  We retired the Bent Prop Award. Ten VEs completed 159 VSCs.  We conducted our first Geodetic Marker hunt and the squadron earned honor-roll status.  16 students completed the ABC course.  We welcomed 11 new members.  We began posting and advertising regularly on Facebook with noticeable success.  A new event for us was the Shakedown Cruise week in June.  We hosted a Marine Navigation (Piloting) class with 15 participants from the public and multiple squadrons; 5 St. Paul members earned the grade of P.  A Marine Electrical Systems class is underway.  We were awarded the first place National MIRA (Membership Involvement & Retention Award) trophy.  And we're celebrating the 60th anniversary of our charter on November 11!

2018, 2019 & 2020 - Commander Ed Manor, S – 2018 was an “on-the-job” learning experience going from Treasurer to Commander.  ABC3 course taught to 22 students, 137 VSE’s, monthly events planned and held.  2019:  ABC3 course taught to 6 students; Boating on Rivers, Lakes, and Locks seminar taught to 22 students; 163 VSEs.  2020 (the year of COVID-19): learned the skill of virtual meetings; taught and attended classes online (ABC3, Weather, Marine Electrical Systems); only 42 VSEs due to COVID restrictions.  Bent Prop awarded to Ed & Karen Manor (2018), Dave West (2019), and Dale Tobin (2020).

2016 & 2017 - Commander Nancy Gagich, S - Hosted the District 10 Spring Conference for 2016.  Coordinated with St. Croix River Marinas to increase awareness of Electric Shock Drowning (ESD).  Also, coordinated ESD presentations at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair.  2016 Bent Prop awarded to Jim and Peggy Senesac.

2014 & 2015 - Commander John Gagich, S - The squadron achieved four stars as a Star Squadron in District 10 for 2014 and 2015.  Hosted the 2014 District 10 Spring Conference.  Inaugurated a boating and social program to support disabled returning Veterans.  Won district annual Distinctive Communicator awards for both The River Skipper publication and Squadron Website in 2014 and 2015.  Bent Prop jointly awarded to John and Nancy Gagich for 2014.  2015 Bent Prop awarded to SeanJon Wilson. 

2012 & 2013 - Commander Jeff Davis, AP - The squadron won the District 10 “Prince Henry” award for outstanding educational achievements in 2013.  Won annual Distinctive Communicator awards for both The River Skipper publication and Squadron Website in both 2012 and 2013.  Bent Prop awarded to Don Magnus for 2012.  Bent Prop awarded to Dale Perry for 2013.

2011 - Commander Dale Perry, N (*2014) - Hosted the District 10 Fall Conference. Inaugurated on-the-water boat handling training. Launched the Summer Lobster Bake as a public outreach event. Developed partnership with the DNR on a boating safety demonstration at the Minnesota State Fair; received D10 support to expand the show in 2012.  Bent Prop Awarded to Will & Sue Lutterman.

2010 - Commander Nancy Anderson, JN - Squadron achieved three-star squadron status, received the Distinctive Communicator award for both our newsletter, The River Skipper, and our website. Received the District 10 recognition for Membership Growth and Vessel Safety Check performance. Bent Prop Awarded to Robert Mercil.

2009 - Commander Robert Schmit, JN - Squadron achieved three-star squadron status, received the Excellence Award for our web site, the 22nd Distinction in Journalism Award for The River Skipper, and the Carl C. Mahnken Public Relations Award. Clara Sorenson became the most senior member ever as a 91-year-old new member.  Bent Prop Awarded to Joni Hasper.

2007 & 2008 - Commander Mark Fotsch, AP - Website updated under direction of Ron Reimann who also won the Bent Prop Award for 2008, and Mark Fotsch won for 2007.

2006 - Commander Ron Bakken, P - Participated in the Ron Schara Fishing Clinic teaching kids about water safety and personal floatation devices. Hosted the District 10 Fall Conference at the Best Western in Hudson. The Charles Chapman Scrapbook Award was presented to Sue Tipler. Bent Prop presented to Ken Kidd.

2005 - Commander Sue Tipler, AP - Squadron members talked with over 1,000 kids at the Water Safety Booth during the Ron Schara's Traveling Fishing Clinics at the Mall of America and in Ogilvie, MN.  Bent Prop presented to Hal Fotsch.

2004 - Commander Andrea Davis, AP - Squadron members volunteered their boats and time to act as escort vessels for the Grand Excursion which celebrated the opening of the upper Mississippi to commercial traffic. Members escorted the flotilla of stern-wheelers from La Crosse to St Paul. Awarded the West Marine Youth Award ($2,500) for equipment used during the Ron Schara's Fishing Clinics. Bent Prop presented to Ron Bakken.

2003 - Commander Greg Holmen, AP - Received the WCCO Good Neighbor Award, a proclamation from the Governor, and letters of congratulations from Senator Norm Coleman, U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCullum and St Paul Mayor Randy Kelly for celebrating 30th anniversary.  Hosted the District 10 Spring Conference at the Best Western in Maplewood. Bent Prop presented to Eric Fotsch.

2002 - Commander Marnie Selden, P - Squadron began participating in the Vessel Safety Check program. The Bent Prop Award presented to Marie Cravens.

2001 - Commander Marie Cravens, P - Bent Prop Award presented to Robert Schmit.

2000 - Commander Jim Messer, P - Bent Prop Award presented to Greg Holmen.

1999 - Commander Art Mollica, JN (*2003) - Name of the squadron changed to St Paul Sail and Power Squadron. Bent Prop Award presented to Ron Erickson.

1998 - Commander Rachael Harvey, P - Bent Prop Award presented to Art Mollica.

1997 - Commander Art Mollica, SN (*2003) - Meteorologist Dr. Mike Lynch presented a program on star gazing. Bent Prop Award presented to Dick Halverson.

1996 - Commander Kathy Reeder, AP - Bent Prop Award presented to Kathy Reeder.

1995 - Commander Paul Cravens, AP - Hosted the District 10 Spring Conference at the Mall of America. The Chippewa Valley Division of the St Paul Power Squadron received its charter. Bent Prop Award presented to Rachael Harvey.

1994 - Commander Robert Peterson, AP - Entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Apostolic Bible Institute for classroom and storage space. Bent Prop Award presented to Geir Seger.

1993 - Commander Geir Seger, AP (*1999) - The Good Samaritan Award was given to Dustin Glebe of Red Wing. Bent Prop Award presented to Larry Musarick.

1991 & 1992 - Commander Neil McMillin, N (*1995) - Hosted the 91 District 10 Spring Conference at the St Paul Radisson Plaza. Sponsored new power squadrons in Eau Claire, WI and Rochester, MN. Bent Prop Award presented to Robert Peterson (91) and Neil McMillin (92).

1990 - Commander William Stevens, P - Purchased one square inch of land at USPS headquarters as part of a building fund raiser. Bent Prop Award presented to Verlin Ellingson.

1988 & 1989 - Commander Marty Wirtz, P - Governor Rudy Perpich sent a proclamation designating 11 November 1988 at St Paul Power Squadron 25th Anniversary day. Congratulatory letters were received from Senator David Durenberger, and Representative Martin Sabo. The USPS 75th Anniversary ensign was moved across the US, passing from squadron to squadron. Bent Prop Award presented to Jack Welch (88) and Larry Kemp (89).

1987 - Commander Donald Anderson, P - To promote good service and safe boating and facilitate the USPS oath, a 'Good Samaritan Award" program was developed and is intended to honor a member or non-member for his/her contribution to fellow boaters or members of the public in the area of safe boating.  Bent prop awarded to Verlin Ellingson (1987).

1985 & 1986 - Commander Harold Fotsch, AP (*1991) - A summer boating class was held in downtown St Paul. The Geodetic Survey marker hunt was started as part of the Cooperative Charting program. Hosted the 1986 District Fall Conference at the Holiday Inn Town Square featuring performances by the Klondike Kates. Bent Prop Award presented to Bruce Bakken (85) and William Crowley (86).

1984 - Commander Robert Harvey Sr., S - The members of the St Paul Power Squadron voted to continue the lady’s organization. Bent Prop Award presented to Jerry Brings.

1982 & 1983 - Commander Robert Eriksen, AP - The USPS Governing Board voted to admitted women to membership and adopted the family membership category. Member Ken Merryman, who discovered the ship “Kamloops’, that mysteriously disappeared in a November storm off of Isle Royal in 1927, presented slides at a membership meeting. He served as a guide for the Cousteau Foundation’s “Calypso’ during their exploration of Lake Superior in the summer of 1980. Hosted the District 10 Spring Conference. The guest speaker at the March 1983 membership meeting was Master Mariner John Beaton, Fulbright Scholar from the United Kingdom and a member of the National Life Boat Association, the sea rescue organization of the United Kingdom. Bent Prop Award presented to Pete Peterson (82) and Don Anderson (83).

1980 & 1981 - Commander Jack Raby, AP - Don DeLage, former squadron member and owner of Century Fence Co., donated 200 feet of 4’ cyclone fencing to separate the Troy Beach from the Squadron Beach. The squadron hosted the District 10 Spring Conference at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in the new Town Square Centre. In 1982 the squadron won a certificate of appreciation from the National Safe Boating Council for organizing a safe boating demonstration which was broadcast on Channel 5 news. Bent Prop Awards presented to Jack Butherus (80) and Jack Newman (81).

1979 - Commander J. Paul Leonard, N - The squadron organized a fund raiser to purchase a floatable pump for the Washington County Water Patrol to use in firefighting on the river system. Bent Prop Award presented to Jack Raby.

1978 - Commander Robert Fischer, Sr., N - Squadron charter member Warren Smith began a sightseeing and excursion company out of Stillwater using a replica of the keelboat used by Lewis and Clark to explore the rivers of the Louisiana Purchase. The North Central Marine Association selected the Jack Raby family as the ‘Boating Family of the Year’. Bent Prop Award presented to Don LaValle.

1977 - Commander Glen Galles, AP - MnDNR accepted the USPS Public Boating Course as a qualifying safety course for persons 13-18 years old to be certified to operate a power boat in Minnesota. The squadron won the District 10 “Prince Henry” award for outstanding educational achievements. Bent Prop Award presented to Harlan Street.

1976 - Commander John Newman, AP (*1982) - The Corps of Engineers conducted a test of locking pleasure boats through Lock 2 at Hastings and Lock 7 at LaCrosse at a specific time from Friday to Sunday. Use of the beach on the St. Croix River was negotiated with the YMCA Camp in exchange for 10 campership donations. The St Paul Bicentennial Commission asked the squadron to organize a river boat parade on the Mississippi thru the downtown area of St Paul for Sunday, 4 July. Bent Prop Award presented to Charles North.

1975 - Commander Rogers George, AP - The squadron hosted the District 10 Spring Conference at the Marriott Inn, Bloomington. A veteran’s cruise was held on 20 September with squadron members volunteering their boats to take residents of the Veteran’s Hospital on a short cruise on the river system. Bent Prop Award presented to Jack Pink.

1974 - Commander Ben Lachowitzer, AP (*1977) - Co-operative Charting began and the St Paul District of the Corps of Engineers asked the squadron to include them in the distribution of chart errors and corrections for the St. Croix, Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers so that future river charts could be corrected.  The squadron had the opportunity to buy the 400-foot beach at Mile 20.4 on the St Croix River for $100/foot; the members decided not to buy the beach. Joe Dworsky won the Bent Prop Award for bending more props in one season than anyone else. 

1973 - Commander Nels Lundell, N - On 11 September the squadron members voted to recommend to the national organization that the constitution and bylaws of the organization be amended to allow women to become members of USPS. Bent Prop Award presented to Richard Johnson.

1972 - Commander Albert Ziton, N - On 17 June there was a Hawaiian Luau on the beach, featuring the roasting of a pig in the ground and eating of poi among other interesting events. Bent Prop Award presented to Mike Keating.

1971 - Commander Gerald Brings, N (*1981) - The Powder Squadron purchased an addressing machine for the squadron. Bent Prop Award presented to Mischa Dworsky.

1970 - Commander Gene Felsenthal, AP - The north side of the Kinnikinic beach was rented for this boating season. The squadron members had to remove sand reefs and clean up the beach of trash and debris. The Powder Squadron presented a ‘celestial globe’ to the squadron for its educational programs. Bent Prop Award presented to Mack Salisbury.

1969 - Commander Eugene Mitchell, AP - A committee investigated the possibility of purchasing a pontoon barge to be made into a floating classroom and to be used for squadron activities; the members turned down the proposal. Bent Prop Award presented to Richard Johnson.

1968 - Commander Merle Swan, AP - The squadron hosted its first district conference at the Hotel Pick-Nicollet in Minneapolis. The Kinnikinic Delta Beach was rented for the summer. The Bent Prop Award traveling trophy was designed by Jim Cornish. Later that year, Jim received the Bent Prop Award for his dredging of a channel on the wrong side of the Kinnikinic delta channel to the tune of 2 shafts & 2 props.

1967 - Commander Robert Losinski, S - Members attending the district conference in Milwaukee chartered 'Super Dome Hiawatha' (a private railroad car) for the trip. Bent Prop Award presented to William Shorack.

1966 - Commander James Nelson, AP - "The River Skipper" was chosen as the name of the squadron newsletter. Squadron meetings were held at the Employees Club at Fort Snelling. Squadron members collected data on the rivers and provided the data to the USACofE for the first river charts. Lorna Holm hand embroidered a squadron burgee and presented it to the squadron. Bent Prop Award presented to Joe Calyore.

1965 - Commander William Smith, S - Squadron newsletter was started by the editor, James C. Nelson. Bent Prop Award presented to Stan Feldmann.

1964 - Commander Thomas Whalen - On 27 May 1964, Past Chief Commander Charles F. Chapman, Chairman of the Flag and Etiquette Committee sent a letter advising the approval of the squadron burgee. The squadron was incorporated. First Bent Prop Award presented to Edward Bronstien, Jr.

1963 - The first nominating committee was appointed consisting of Harold Alt, Merle Cuthbertson and Merle Swan. A meeting of the St Paul Division was held with 17 members in attendance. At this meeting the name "St. Paul Power Squadron' was chosen. In June the Division held its first rendezvous at Point Douglas. In August, there was an 'over-nighter' at Point Au Sable (now Long Point) in Lake Pepin with 14 boats and 36 persons attending. On Sunday the day began with a pancake breakfast and this tradition continues today and has become known as 'Officers-Serve-Breakfast'. In November 1963 a formal organization meeting was held at the Ford Motor Plant and a petition to the USPS Governing Board for a local charter was forwarded by District 10 Commander Carl Liebert. The St. Paul Power Squadron received its charter dated 11 November 1963 with 32 signing members.

1962 - A group of boaters with particular interest in river boating met on numerous occasions at Holiday Harbor (now called Watergate Marina) to discuss forming a squadron with orientation to the Upper Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers. A group of potential members enrolled in the Piloting Course of the St Paul Sail & Power Squadron and upon successful completion were accepted into the St Paul Sail & Power Squadron. On 19 Nov 1962 the St. Paul Division of Minnetonka was formed. The elected officers were: Thomas Whalen, Commander; Robert Lundell, Treasurer; and Thom Jordon, Secretary. A Piloting Course was started at the Ford Motor Plant for the members and prospective members of the new squadron.