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Grove Composite Squadron Heraldry (OK123)




Purpose:  To establish and maintain compliance with CAP heraldic standards for unit emblems as established in CAPR 110-3, Civil Air Patrol Heraldry Program.

Historical Significance: The Grove Composite Squadron was initially forged in 2006. The unit began serving the community of Grove and the surrounding areas of Oklahoma. The Grove Composite Squadron adopted the “pel-i-can” mantra among its membership, serving as a can-do attitude. The mantra was intended to further honor the unit’s commitment and involvement in an annual community event organized around the migration patterns of the American White Pelican. One of the largest North American birds, the American White Pelican migratory path passes through Grove, OK with hundreds of the large birds calling Grove home each year. The largest flock on record was estimated at 600 pelicans.

Heraldry: The components of this new design and their symbolism are described below.

The Sun: The sun is an emblem of glory and brilliance in heraldry. It is also a symbol of authority. It represents happiness, life and spirituality. The rising sun is a symbol of hope. It is the center field of the emblem.

The Clouds: The cloud, the symbol of the ethereal heights of heaven, represents the quality of higher truth. The set of three clouds on each side of the early morning sunrise represent the three programs of Civil Air Patrol; Aerospace Education, Emergency Services, and the Cadet Program.

Pelicans in Flight: The airborne pelicans in the emblem are shown “volant,” a heraldic term meaning facing the “dexter” (or viewer’s left) with its wings spread in flight (“addorsed and elevated”) and its legs tucked under its body.

The pelicans are shown rising “in bend,” flying from the lower right to the upper left of the emblem. This is a nod to the unit’s primary focus on aerospace education and flight. The pelicans are gaining altitude in a constant upward trajectory signifying the unit’s focus on growing its membership in numbers and individual personal growth. 

The three pelicans shown in flight are another nod to the power of three. Pelicans are social birds and typically travel in flocks, often strung out in a line. This is representative of the unit’s commitment to their wingmen, to always be looking out for one another.

The Flora and Post: Another representation of the number three, the three stems of the flora to the left reinforces the commitment to be vigilant in looking out for our wingmen. The four stems of the flora to the right are representative of the four Core Values of Civil Air Patrol; Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence, Respect. The two reeds among the flora represent strong cadet and senior programs. Standing tall, the reeds are symbolic of the squadron’s commitment to the Core Values in each program.

The pillar is a nod to Civil Air Patrol’s Five Pillars of Wellness and Resilience; Mind, Body, Relationships, Spirit and Family. It is representative of the unit’s focus on the individual both in and out of the program.

Together the flora, the reeds, and the pillar create the unit’s firm foundation; the Core Values, the wingman program, dynamic cadet and senior programs, and finally a pillar of wellness and resilience that propels the unit forward into its vision.

The Rings: An annulet is a plain circular ring. It is an ancient charge, dating from circa 1255 in the arms of John de Plessis, Earl of Warwick, possibly derived from the links composing chain armor.

The one Argent (white), one Or (gold) and two Azure (blue) annulets in the emblem are another symbolic reference to Civil Air Patrol’s Core Values; Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence and Respect.

The Pelican: The black silhouette of The American White Pelican at sunrise is of great significance to the unit. The color black with a heraldic name of “Sable” represents wisdom, constancy and prudence. It is one of the largest living birds, weighing between 10 & 17 pounds with a wingspan of 8 - 9 feet. These once-scarce birds call Grand Lake home on their annual migration from early February - May and early September – November. The Grand Lake region celebrates the arrival of the White Pelican with the Pelican Festival in Grove, Oklahoma annually in early October. The festival kicks off with a parade in which the unit provides a color guard.

In heraldic and ecclesiastical symbolism, the pelican has acquired a somewhat sacred character as typical of maternal solicitude. Speaking to the unit’s care and concern over its community. The pelican is a symbol of piety, devotion, self-sacrificing, and charitable nature.

Done on this day, the 5th day of September, two thousand twenty-one and of the Independence of the United States of America, two hundred and forty-five.

Design and Artwork: Capt. Brandon W. Lunsford, Sr

Reviewed by NHQ Historian Staff: Maj. Timothy Thornton, 15 Sep 2021

Coordinated Through Oklahoma Wing Commander: Col. Aaron E. Oliver, 15 Sep 2021

Approved by Southwest Region Commander: Col Martha C. Morris, 15 Sep 2021

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