District 31 was the first district to be formed out of District
This "catch all district" had squadrons that were not located in any
specific region or in
close proximity to each other, but geographically were actually
rather far-flung in nature.
Read how some dedicated USPS ® members worked to bring
District 31 into existence.
Our thanks to our past District Historian of many years, D/lt Mickey
Corley, SN, (deceased)
and Dot Sherman for this fine written record.
And away we go.....
District 31 of the United States Power Squadrons® is
originally made up of seven squadrons located in Oklahoma and Arkansas. The formation of
these squadrons is due to forward-thinking USPS members who through dedication and hard
work enthusiastically spread their boating knowledge and expertise in USPS public boating
courses, teaching others how to boat safely. The successful students of this formerly
called "Piloting" course often wanted to learn more than just the basics of
boating, so they became members and soon formed divisions, then squadrons in their own
areas and eventually formed their own district.
Charter Members of our District
P/C David S. Shumake, JN
October 18, 1926 - June 28,
Dave Shumake was Oklahoma
City Sail and Power Squadrons first Commander after it was chartered in 1971 and had
worked tirelessly on its behalf ever since. In the 1980s, Dave also served on the National
Rules Committee for a while, but for those of us in other squadrons in District 31, he may
be best remembered for his work on the district level. He was very supportive of the
formation of our district which finally took place, after being a division of District 50
for several years, at the 1975 USPS Annual Meeting. He also served on the District Bridge
as its Treasurer in 1977-78; later on he served faithfully as its Law Officer for decades.
Dave was a life member of the United States Power Squadrons and had supported the
organization with his service on all levels, Squadron, District, and National.
Dave was a fixture in our district and will
be missed for who he was and all he did. He was a man of strong opinions but was big
enough to admit when he was wrong (which was not often) and apologize. He was full of
enthusiasm and made his squadrons hosting of District Conferences much fun. He was
helpful in his many USPS activities, often going out of his way to furnish needed
L to R: Tom and Louise Davis of Tulsa
Billie and Dave Shumake of Oklahoma City Power Squadron;
and Carolyn and Bill Foster of Pine Bluff Power Squadron
enjoy the long awaited and momentous occasion of becoming
members of the brand new District 31 at USPS Annual Meeting in 1975
In November 1962, a USPS member moved to the Stillwater Oklahoma
area and requested a change of address from the United States Power Squadrons. The Office
Manager at National Headquarters suggested the possibility of a new Power Squadron being
formed in the Oklahoma - Stillwater - Tulsa area as there were several unattached members
living in the area at that time.
In February of 1964, the District 50 Commander wrote to the eight
members living in the area and asked if they would be interested in forming a new
In September 1964, the Tulsa Daily World newspaper carried the
notice of a class in Piloting (now called the Public Boating Course) to be held at the
Naval Reserve Training Center. Seth Henderson, the Austin Power Squadron member who moved
to Stillwater, drove regularly from Stillwater to Tulsa to teach the course. He was
assisted by Robert Baker, a St. Louis Power Squadron member and Ray Brady, a Wilmington
Squadron member (both members were then living in Tulsa, OK). In December of 1964, eight
students took the examination and passed.
The first Squadron organized in the area was Tulsa Power Squadron,
District 50, with a membership of 19. They received a charter on March 15, 1965 .
In 1969, National Headquarters was approached by six members of
various squadrons who wanted to form a Squadron in the Bull Shoals/Norfolk lakes area. A
Piloting (Public Boating) Course was held in Mountain Home Arkansas with Fred Roberts,
Russell Bugeon, and Harold Harris as instructors. In April of 1970, the exam was given
with 3 ladies and 11 men passing. They received their Charter as the Twin Lakes Squadron,
District 50, on September 13, 1970 with 6 members from other Squadrons, 18 new members,
and 4 women Certificate Holders.
Also in 1969, Franklin Wedge and 7 other members who were living in
the Memphis, Tennessee area were considering the organization of a new Squadron in
Memphis. In 1970, they conducted a Piloting (Public Boating) Course with approximately 25
students attending. Their Charter was presented to them on May 9, 1971 with a total of 27
About this time, there was a desperate need for boating education
in the area. Man-made lakes and the navigable Arkansas River (to be completed in 1971) and
the Mississippi River made it one of the fastest growing boating areas in the world.
Anyone could buy a boat, put it in the water, and take off without the faintest idea there
were safety rules and regulations. Weekends and holidays become nightmares on all of the
bodies of water. This small nucleus of dedicated Power Squadron members in the Oklahoma -
Arkansas - Tennessee area set out to correct this deficiency.
In 1970, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Little
Rock, Arkansas became Divisions of the Tulsa Power Squadron. Will Dyer, Bob Baker, Hub
Hubbell, and Jack Owens traveled weekly to these Divisions as instructors for the Piloting
(Public Boating) Course.
Tulsa Power Squadrons first Division to become a Squadron was
Oklahoma City Power Squadron, District 50. At the time the Charter was applied for, there
were 18 members and by the time it was received on October 8, 1971, there were 68 members.
On June 5, 1971, the McClellan-Kerr Waterway was completed to Tulsa
Port of Catoosa opening up the area drained by the Arkansas River for possible boating to
anywhere in the world. The need for educating the areas public to water safety
became essential. Most boaters in the area had never seen a buoy, daymark, or lock and dam
such as were now on the Arkansas River. Education on what they were and their proper usage
to navigate a river were high priorities in our educational classes.
Then, Tulsa presented its second Division, Pine Bluff of District
50, with its Squadron Charter, dated December 22, 1971.
During the summer of 1972, our most western squadron, Oklahoma City
Power Squadron, cruised down the Arkansas and up the Mississippi to the most eastern
squadron, Memphis Power Squadron, in Tennessee - a distance of some 475 miles. What an
With 5 squadrons of District 50 geographically contiguous, they
began thinking about becoming a new district. The first Conference ever held in District
50 was in September of 1972, hosted by the Tulsa Power Squadron at Shangri-la Lodge on
Grand Lake O Cherokees, Oklahoma. National officers were in attendance as well as
the District 50 Commander and Bridge Officers, and our areas Squadron Commanders of
Tulsa, Twin Lakes, Memphis, Pine Bluff, Oklahoma City, along with a Squadron Commander of
Mile High Power Squadron of Colorado. A tentative discussion was held concerning the
possibility of the inland squadrons becoming a district. The National and District
officers who attended undoubtedly could not visualize the need for a separate district so
far from "blue" water in the middle of farming country.
On March of 1973, District 50 held its second Conference at the
Sheraton Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee - again in our area of what would in the
future become District 31. A petition was drafted requesting a District be formed of the
above-named Squadrons (with one exception) to be presented to the Governing Board at
Pittsburgh in May 1973. The Mile High Power Squadron had declined to be included in the
petition as most of their members boated on Powell Lake or the West Coast. The proposal
for a new District was not approved.
Little Rock Power Squadron, the last Tulsa Division at that time, was granted a Charter on
April 4, 1973. Now the prospective District was 6 Squadrons strong with 403 members.
The other 15 squadrons of District 50 were scattered to the four
corners of the world. This caused great difficulties in communication and understanding of
the needs of this small core of inland boaters. It was imperative that a new District be
formed, drawing officers from members who were familiar with their unique boating
problems; who could communicate directly with National; and who could attend District
Conferences without under hardship.
In August of 1973, another petition was resubmitted to National.
When it was presented at the Louisville Governing Board Meeting in September, an interim
resolution was presented to organize a Division of District 50. After an objection by
Oklahoma City and a long discussion, Chief Commander Cosdon stated, "
Squadrons are not strong enough to survive at this time as a District and we are trying to
give you an interim period as a Division of District 50 so that you can receive directly
from National all of the communications that your Squadrons will need in a District
capacity until such time, whether it be a year or two years from now, that you have
established enough strength to warrant full membership as a District organization."
After still more discussion in which operating procedures under
Division status were discussed as pertained to correspondence with National, V/C Lucey
I dont think that we can clarify all your questions at this time.
.As of now we have nothing officially recognized, at any place in USPS as a
"Division" of a District." They never had a need for one before.
On September 10, 1973, the District 50 Commander authorized the
Squadron Commanders of River Division 50/1 to organize the Division and elect officers. A
general membership meeting was convened at Oklahoma City on March 23, 1974 for the purpose
of electing permanent officers, and to discuss and adopt a Constitution, By-Laws and
Budget. The Division Officers elected were: Commander, Robert Baker, AP; Executive
Officer, Franklin Wedge, N; Educational Officer, William Johnson, AP; Administrative
Officer, Don Reed, AP; Secretary, Jack Owens, AP; and Treasurer, Harold Naylor, S. Another
petition for District status was drafted requesting action by the Spring Governing Board
scheduled to meet in Memphis.
During 1974, Division 1 of District 50 was very active. Memphis
hosted the May Governing Board; the first Division Newsletter -- the DAYMARK (later to
become the District Newsletter) was issued; the Divisions 1st rendezvous was held at
Piney Creek on the Arkansas river; and the first (and last) official Division Conference
was held at Dogpatch, Arkansas and was hosted by the Twin Lakes Power Squadron.
No record is available concerning the action taken by the Spring
Governing Board concerning the Divisions petition, but the Fall Governing Board
convened on September 7, 1974 in Seattle, Washington, and recommended that District 50,
Division 1 be granted District status to become effective at its Annual Meeting the
following year. At the Annual Meeting which was held on January 18, 1975 at the Hotel
Fountainbleau at Miami Beach, Florida, the Resolution was introduced and approved that our
new District be named District 31 and would consist of Little Rock Power Squadron, Memphis
Power Squadron, Oklahoma City Power Squadron, Pine Bluff Power Squadron, Tulsa Power
Squadron and Twin Lakes Power Squadron. Persons holding Division Offices in Division 50/1
were to hold the equivalent rank in District 31.
DISTRICT 31 was finally a fact
six squadrons with a total of approximately 460 members in 1975. Over the
years the district underwent many changes, losing some squadrons and adding new
Our retiring District Historian,
D/Lt Mickey Corley, SN, whose interesting narrative of our district history has been
printed above for your information is lauded for her many years of dedication by D/C
Steven Johnson, AP at our District Spring Conference in 2000.
31 Historian Remembered
thanks to our past Historian, D/Lt Mickey Corley, SN for her expertise and
many years of dedication to careful preservation of our district history. The
written record of our district's history on this page was taken from her pamphlet,
"District 31 History", a very interesting, factual narrative written and
complied by Mickey, our District's first woman Senior Navigator. Mickey earned this
top USPS educational achievement by her successful completion of all advanced courses and
elective courses offered at the time to become a USPS "Full Certificate" SN
Later on, Tulsa Power Squadron gave birth to another division which
eventually became Beaver Lake Power Squadron, officially receiving its Charter on May 16,
1987 making it our seventh squadron. By 1998, District 31 membership grew to approximately
700 members, but sadly, its second oldest squadron, Twin Lakes, dissolved. This squadron
made many contributions to the district and its passing from view was honored with a
Special Tribute on 24 October 1998 at a District Conference.
On a happier note, a new division formed in the same year. The Grand Lake Sail & Power
Division of Tulsa Power Squadron held their first organizational meeting on 18 June 1998,
making a total of five divisions that had formed from Tulsa Power Squadron and later went
on to become squadrons when Grand Lake Division received its squadron charter on 29
January 2000 becoming the Grand Lake Sail & Power Squadron.
Winning logo was designed by
PDC Bill Sherman, SN
in 1998. It has since been modified to reflect changes in the district.
District 31 also added a provisional squadron in Fort Smith,
Arkansas as well as one in Norman, Oklahoma in 1999. Norman Sail and Power
Provisional Squadron earned its charter as a full status squadron on 29 November
2000. At the end of 2000, District 31 had a total of eight squadrons and one
provisional squadron. However, in January 2001, Memphis Sail and Power Squadron in
Tennessee transferred to District 17 which brought our number of squadrons back down to a
total of seven full squadrons and one provisional squadron, all located now within the
states of Arkansas and Oklahoma with a total active and family membership of close to 750
members. At the Fall GB in Des Moines IA, on 14 September 2002, the River Valley
Power Squadron received their Charter. The district now has eight squadrons, four in
Arkansas and four in Oklahoma.
As time passes........
At the Spring 2003 conference in Normal OK we heard
the sad news that another of the charter squadrons of the district had decided to
dissolve. Cdr W.F. Foster, AP (Pine Bluff) advised the D31 Squadron Commanders that
Pine Bluff was relinquishing its charter at the end of this dues year, May 31, 2003.
As a parting gesture the Pine Bluff Squadron presented D31 with a Pine Bluff Trophy for
the Vessel Safety Check Program. This will be a perpetual trophy presented annually
by D31 to the squadron which has the most noteworthy VSC program for the preceeding
year. The District now has seven squadrons, four in Oklahoma and three in Arkansas.
More bad news. At the NYC GB in August 2006,
the Operating Committee accepted the charter of the Little Rock Squadron (one of the
charter squadrons in D31) and the River Valley Power Squadron. This reduced the
number of squadrons in D31 to five, four in Oklahoma and one in Arkansas.
Then the really crushing news
that the Tulsa Power Squadron relinquist it's charter to the Operating Committee of USPS
at the September 2010 Governing Board meeting in Bellevue, WA. Tulsa was the
catylist for many of the squadrons in district 31, as noted above and was the one of the
last two charter squadrons in D31. This has reduced the number of squadrons in D31
to four. Three in Oklahoma and one in Arkansas. Not a good sign for our
SPECIAL HONORS FOR DISTRICT MEMBERS
P/D/Lt/C Arthur Corley, SN (above on right) had served in an elected
office in the District Educational Department for eleven years, both as District Education
Officer and as an Assistant District Educational Officer several different times while
training others in the department. Art was honored upon retirement from the District
Educationa Department with a special recognition plaque in 2002 ( presented by DEO
William Sherman, SN) in grateful appreciation for his leadership and service in USPS
education on behalf of the district. Art also contributed to the district inother
ways - as its award-winning editor of the DAYMARK in its early years and also as its
Co-operative Charting Chairman in more recent years. In 1982, Art earned the
district's highest honor, the District Helmsman Award. Clearly, Art is a man of many
talents and interests. The district is indebted to him for his long-standing
dedication and diverse contributions. Our thanks to a remarkable member.
|During the Spring D31
conference in Norman OK, Cdr W.F. Foster, AP is recognized for his long service to USPS,
the Pine Bluff Power Squadron and D31. During ceremonies, pertaining to the
dissolving of the Pine Bluff Squadron, Cdr Foster presented a Pine Bluff Trophy to D31 to
be used with the VSC program. A picture of the trophy is below.