Chartered 1940

Located in District 9. Grosse Ile Power Squadron is a Unit of United States Power Squadrons® (USPS®) Sail and Power Boating.
A Non-Profit Educational Organization. Educating and Serving Recreational Sail and Power Boaters in Portions of Wayne and Monroe Counties in Southeast Michigan.

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The Founding Fathers 1937 – 40

The formation of the Grosse Ile Power Squadron (GIPS) was primarily the work of two members of Grosse Ile Yacht Club, Paul H. Toepp and Edward D. Campbell. They completed a course in what was then called Elementary Piloting (EP) on 05 May 1937 at Detroit Yacht Club. This was the second class taught by Detroit Power Squadron after its reorganization in 1936. That fall they taught a class of 20 at Grosse Ile Yacht Club. From this class three joined Detroit Power Squadron. Seven other downriver residents took the EP class with Detroit and one at Toledo in the following two years and joined United States Power Squadrons® (USPS®). In the winter of 1940 a second class was given, this time at Grosse Ile High School with eight passing and indicating an interest in joining the new squadron. During the summer, bylaws for the new squadron were drafted.

Grosse Ile Power Squadron Chartered 1940

An organizational meeting was called for Friday, 01 Nov at Grosse Ile Yacht Club; 12 attended. The bylaws were accepted and the following were elected:

  • Cdr Paul H. Toepp
  • Lt/C Edward D. Campbell, JN
  • Secr John F. Guernsey
  • Treas Ralph D. Sanders, AP
  • Executive Committee:
  • Lewis W. McAllister
  • Leroy E. Newell, AP
  • Anthony S. Gorno

In addition to those elected, others signing the application for a charter were:

  • Gordon V. Brown, AP
  • Edwin F. Linke
  • Lafayette S. Daniel
  • James H. Holden
  • John R. O'Brien

The bylaws and charter were approved by the Committee on Rules and the Governing Board on 11 Nov 1940.

The charter, dated 01 Nov 1940, was presented by C/C William K. Anderson, JN at the squadron Washington's Birthday dinner at Grosse Ile Yacht Club. In return the squadron presented Cdr Anderson a gavel, the head of which was lignum vitae from the bearing block of a D & C Steamer and the handle was teak. This gavel has since been presented to each succeeding Chief Commander as the Ceremonial Gavel of USPS®.

On 18 Oct 1940, a second charter application was submitted with the following additional members who transferred from Detroit and Toledo:

  • Ralph L. Agee
  • George E. Amiot, Jr.
  • Howard Freundlich
  • Russell T. Holland
  • Louis G. Liggett
  • Hazen H. Munro, AP
  • Paul K. Peden
  • Wilbur R. Risk
  • John C. Wright

This was approved by the Committee on Rules on 23 Oct 1940 but the revised charter was not issued until 05 Mar 1946.

Meanwhile the EP classes were being taught at Grosse Ile High School, starting 24 Jan 1941 with 13 who joined the squadron and the first Woman's Certificate Holder, Margaret Kreger. The EP course was taught twice a year, in spring and fall. Six merit marks were awarded in 1941.

World War II

GIPS entered the war years with increasing membership as a result of the EP classes but at the same time members were going off to war. The Governing Board approved the waiving of dues and the award of a merit mark for those entering the armed forces. The Honor Roll included the following from GIPS:

  • 1942 Army 3, Navy 5
  • 1943 Army 10, Navy 10
  • 1944 Army 6, Navy 16, Merchant Marine 1
  • 1945 Army 4, Navy 15, Merchant Marine 1
  • 1946 Army 1

Sadly, there was one killed in action: Charter Member Russell T. Holland.

During the first 15 years of the squadron we have to thank the diligence of the Secretary in the keeping of the 10-year records; there are no newsletters or rosters which remain. These 10-year records were 11 X 14 double sided sheets, one for each member, which listed the payment of dues, date of award of grade or completion of elective courses, attendance (not as reliable) and election or appointment to positions of responsibility. Fortunately, during this period The Ensign carried squadron news, Merit Mark Awards, and those attaining the grade of Navigator. There were also National Rosters which were published every two or three years by squadron listing the certificate number and year, grade and number of merit marks. Since new members from each class generally had consecutive certificate numbers of the same date, it was possible to list the EP classes and their examination date.

GIPS Members Serving District 9

Until 1947 there was no district organization except for the Rear Commander who was elected by the Governing Board. In 1947 the District 9 adopted its own bylaws, permitting the election of the Distict Bridge by the delegates to the District Conference. Staff Captains, a liaison officer from each squadron to the District Bridge, were also elected. For the years 1947-50 P/C Edward D. Campbell, JN represented GIPS. In 1951 the bylaws were changed so that only two were elected. In 1962 these became the District Executive and Administrative Officers. For the years 1957 and 58 P/C Eric H. Selby, S was elected D/Treasurer. The next GIPS member to be elected to the District Bridge was P/C Richard G. Rateick, N who served as District Secretary for the years 1975-76. In 1977 he was elected Administrative Officer, the following year Executive Officer and District Commander in 1979.

For the years 1979 to 81 P/C John D. Altstetter, SN was elected Assistant District Educational Officer and District Educational Officer 1982-84. In 1982 the National Educational Operations Committee was formed with Altstetter as a member through 1985. He was elected Rear Commander as Chairman of this committee 1986-87. In 1988-90 he was Chairman of the Support Division of the Educational Department.

The next squadron member to be elected to the District Office was P/D/C Edwin R. Schwenk, SN who was elected Assistant Secretary in 1988. He became Secretary in 1989-90, Administrative Officer in '91, Executive Officer in '92, and District Commander in '93. 1998-2000 he served with his wife JoAnn on the National Ship's Store Committee. 1999-2000 he was elected Staff Commander as Assistant Chairman of the Engine Maintenance Committee.

In 1994 P/D/C James M. Gabocy, Jr., SN was elected District Assistant Secretary. In '95 he became Secretary, '96 Executive Officer and '97 District Commander.

Grand Traverse Bay, Dearborn & Wyandotte are Chartered

GIPS has assisted in the formation of three other squadrons. In 1947 Wallace S. Willman, AP, a member of the squadron for five years, conducted Piloting Classes in Traverse City which lead to the chartering of Grand Traverse Bay Power Squadron on 9 June 1947. Willman served as Charter Commander in 1947-48 and again 1952-53.

In the spring of 1953 a class was formed at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn from which nine members and one Woman's Certificate Holder became members of GIPS. On 2 March 1954 under the leadership of William C. Vincent, JN, a member of GIPS for five years and Charter Commodore of Ford Yacht Club, Dearborn Power Squadron was chartered.

In the fall of 1953 and '54 two classes were held at Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte. On 13 May 1955 Wyandotte Power Squadron was chartered with 20 transferred from GIPS, both new and older members.

GIPS as Host

GIPS has served as host to the District Council and Conference. The first time was on 28 Oct 1950 at Grosse Ile Yacht Club. The second time was 09-10 March 1956 when GIPS, along with newly chartered Dearborn and Wyandotte, co-hosted the Council and Conference at the Dearborn Inn. It was in this close association of the three squadrons that tri-squadron meetings, Christmas parties and rendezvous have continued. The next Council and Conference hosted was 02-03 March 1962 at the Cadillac Hotel in Detroit. There was a long period when GIPS did not host a Conference. On 04-05 November 1988 a Conference was hosted at the Novi Hilton Hotel. To celebrate its 50th anniversary another Conference was held at the Novi Hilton on 02-03 November 1990. On 23-24 March 1996 the squadron hosted the Conference at the Troy Marriott Hotel. To celebrate its 60th anniversary GIPS hosted the District Conference on 20-21 October 2000, also at the Troy Marriott.

The GIPS Burgee

The squadron burgee was selected from four choices at the 12 June 1954 General Meeting. It was approved by the 02 Oct District Council Meeting and the Flag & Etiquette and Governing Board on 8 Nov. The original drawing is on file in the squadron file of the National Historian at USPS® Headquarters. The white of the burgee represents the island Grosse Ile, surrounded by the blue border for the Detroit River. The compass rose is for the many points of sailing from Grosse Ile and the initials GIPS for Grosse Ile Power Squadron.

Distinguished Members

Over the years members have distinguished themselves in a number of ways:

50 Year Members

  • 1989 P/C William C. Vincent, JN Detroit/Grosse Ile/Dearborn
  • 1990 P/C Robert K. Weldy, AP Detroit/Grosse Ile/Grand Traverse Bay
  • 1997 P/Lt/C Jack H. Venema, N Detroit/Grosse Ile
  • 1998 P/C Eric H. Selby, AP Detroit/Grosse Ile
  • 2005 P/C John E. McEnhill, N

Life Members (25 merit marks)

  • 1965 P/C Edward D. Campbell, JN
  • 1974 P/C Robert K. Weldy, AP
  • 1975 P/C Herbert L. Garner, AP
  • 1975 P/Lt/C Jack H. Venema, N
  • 1976 P/C Eric H. Selby, AP
  • 1980 P/C LeRoy W. Reeves, AP
  • 1981 Lt Louis F. (Pete) Johnson, P
  • 1983 Stf/C Everett R. Clark, N
  • 1985 Lt Elwin N. (Bud) Farrell, P
  • 1985 P/C John E. McEnhill, N
  • 1990 P/C Donald C. Bowen, SN
  • 1991 R/C John D. Altstetter, SN
  • 1995 P/C Newell M. (Bob) Figi, P
  • 1999 P/D/C Edwin R. Schwenk, SN
  • 1999 P/C William D. Smelter, SN
  • 2000 P/D/C James M. Gabocy, Jr., SN
  • 2002 Lt John R. Hayward, JN
  • 2004 Lt William Germaine, AP
  • 2005 P/C Denis L. Creazzi, SN
  • 2005 P/C George W. Mathis, SN
  • 2005 P/C Dennis Tartal, SN
  • 2007 Lt Francis C. Kootsillas, AP
  • 2008 P/Lt/C George C. Nelson, AP

Senior Navigators

  • 14 Apr 75 T. Jeff Porte
  • 05 Dec 75 John D. Altstetter
  • 09 May 77 Donald C. Bowen
  • 03 Apr 78 Leslie G. Naidow
  • 16 Jan 79 Richard G. Rateick
  • 08 Oct 81 William D. Smelter
  • 09 Apr 82 Edward E. Lyden, Jr.
  • 09 Apr 82 Edwin R. Schwenk
  • 09 Apr 82 Mary J. Smelter
  • 16 Jan 86 James M. Gabocy, Jr.
  • 04 Apr 89 G. Joseph Yacho
  • 05 Jan 90 Dennis L. Tartal
  • 24 Apr 90 Denis L. Creazzi
  • 06 May 91 Josephine B. Altstetter
  • 06 May 91 Linda Monaghan
  • 06 May 91 Thomas P. Monaghan
  • 03 Mar 93 Burton G. Bickel
  • 03 May 93 Steve Deak
  • 03 May 93 George Mathis
  • 24 Nov 93 Andrew Zakar
  • 07 Dec 94 Michael E. (Mick) Mastal
  • 04 Apr 95 Denise Keeler
  • 04 Apr 95 Stuart P. Keeler
  • 17 Apr 96 James L. Sowards
  • Nov 02 Sally A. Rulon
  • Sep 03 Robert D. Lang

District Awards

  • Historian 2003: Lt William Germaine, AP
  • Bowsprit 2003
  • Boating Safety 1990, 1991
  • Chapman Award 2004: P/C Dennis Tartal, SN
  • Commander's Cup: Membership Retention 2002
  • Lafayette Daniel Novice Predicted Log 1983: P/C Newell M. (Bob) Figi, P
  • Sailor of the Year 1991: P/C Mick Mastal, SN; 1993: Lt Thomas P. Monaghan, SN
  • R/C Glenn H. Howell, N Elective Courses 1991, 2003
  • R/C Donald C. Beran, N Educational Improvement 2003
  • Educational Achievement 1991
  • Teacher of the year 1993: Lt Thomas P. Monaghan, SN; 2004: P/C Dennis Tartal, SN
  • Prince Henry the Navigator 1993, 2003

National Awards

  • Teaching Aids Exhibit, P 1971: Alfred Chadburn; 2003: Capt Robert D. Lang, SN
  • Co-op Charting National Honor Role 1977, '79, '80, '83, '03
  • Co-op " Individual Honor Role, 39th in USPS® 2001, 28th 2003: P/C Newell M. (Bob) Figi, P
  • Distinction in Journalism,
    1986: P/C Barbara M. Mathis, AP
    1991: P/D/C James M. Gabocy, Jr., SN
    1992-95: Vicky Mastal
    1996-97: Denise Keeler, SN
    1998: Frances Rose, P
    2000-01: Tony Mazurek, P
    2002-03: Patt Matthews
    2004-05: Lt/C Shannon Egan, S
    2007: Lt Janet M. Coursey & P/C Dennis McHugh, AP
  • USPS Educational Fund Honor Roll, 1990-2003
  • USPS Educational Fund Award, 2007
  • Web site Award, 2003-04 and 2007-09: Capt Robert Mason, AP
  • Web site Award For Excellence, 2005: Capt Robert Mason, AP

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