WHY WE CELEBRATE FOUNDERS DAY
In 1914 the United States Power Squadrons organization was founded when the men of the Boston
Yacht Club banded together and chose Founder Roger Upton as our first United States Power
Squadrons Chief Commander and in 1916 Charles F. Chapman as our first USPS Treasurer.
Members were required to take part in navel-type maneuvers and drills annually in order to retain
their membership. Everyone was addressed as “Captain”. A free nautical school trained men for
maritime services in 1918.
After World War I in 1919, education became a major concern for USPS. A 5week class in Nautical
Astronomy and a Junior Navigation class were offered. Merit marks in the 20’s were bestowed by the
Chief Commander. In 1922 the mandatory drills were discontinued, and a cruise and one drill were
substituted instead. As a preliminary to Junior Navigation, Piloting and Chart work classes were
instituted in 1926—(the Advanced Piloting course was added in 1931 and taught by George Rice
NYPS). P/R/C George Ruckdeschel, N (NYPS) became our first National Historian. This enthusiastic
national officer tried very hard to encourage local squadrons to tell their story, and to appoint
historians, and to keep their histories up-to-date.
During World War II, in the forties, many new courses were added: Motor Mechanics (later Engine
Maintenance), Weather, Visual Aids, Seamanship, First Aid, Signaling, Aviation, Navigation, and
Teacher Training. Later in the forties, the First Director of Education, L.H. Johnson, N held this office.
In the 50’s, the Radio Technical course was added which later became Marine Electronics. In 1969
selftaught courses were added, and Piloting Films were aired on NBC-TV in 1971. A great change
occurred when Basic Boating replaced the Piloting course for the general public, this course became
a great boon for the public because in some states certificate holders could get a state boating
license and could more easily get boating insurance if they took our courses.
The Senior Member Award and the 1973 Education Achievement Awards were soon a reality. The
greatest change in the seventies occurred in the nomenclature and ranking of bridge members: The
Squadron Education Officer, Secretary and Treasurer became bridge members and were ranked as
Lieutenant Commanders, rather than First Lieutenants as heretofore. In addition, as we drifted away
from the naval type maneuvers, cooperative charting, raft-ups, beach cookouts, rendezvous, mini-
cruises, and week-long annual cruises became popular. In 1982 women were invited to membership
at the San Antonio USPS Governing Board and the USPS Constitution and By-laws so amended. In
1990 a woman was elected Staff Commander (Jean Ruckdeschel).
And so we go on, always trying to do the job for which we were founded, always ready to change to
meet the needs of tomorrow!
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