by Tawny Aguayo, Student Contributor
The talents of Alice Lloyd College’s professors are not limited to the mountains of Kentucky, but are showcased internationally. Dr. Rhonda Smith-Daugherty, Associate Professor of History, spent April 14-17, 2014, at an international conference in Sandhurst, England, presenting her paper over famous aviator Jacqueline Cochran.
The conference,“1944: Seventy Years On,” was focused on World War II and involved scholars from all over the world, including the United States, Great Britain, France, Holland, Russia, Germany, Japan, Poland, and many other nations. The conference was sponsored by Global War Studies: The Journal for the Study of Warfare and Weapons, 1919-1945 and the Royal Military Academy, the British equivalent to West Point.
“Being invited to Sandhurst was a great honor,” says Smith-Daugherty.
Her paper, “Wings for Victory: Jacqueline Cochran, American Women Pilots and the RAF,” told the story of female aviator Jacqueline Cochran, who became the first woman pilot to fly across the ocean after delivering a bomber to England in the summer of 1941. In 1942, Cochran also led twenty-five female pilots to England where they delivered fighters and bombers for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), a support group for the Royal Air Force (RAF).
“The work of the ATA is little known in history,” Smith-Daugherty says. “They performed a very important role: releasing able-bodied male pilots for combat and helping defeat the German Luftwaffe. The women who worked with the program needed their story told.”
Smith-Daugherty has spent many hours exploring the life of Jacqueline Cochran, beginning with Cochran as the topic of her doctoral dissertation in 1999. The professor also published a biography of Cochran in 2012 titled Jacqueline Cochran: Biography of a Pioneer Aviator. Her research has taken her all across the United States, including the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas, where Cochran’s papers are located, and the site of the Cochran Collection at the National Air and Space Station in Washington, D.C.
“I spent most of the semester writing this paper, which helps explain why my office looks like it was hit by a tornado,” jokes Smith-Daugherty.
Smith-Daugherty’s husband, Dr. Leo J. Daugherty, was also a participant in the conference. A United States Marine, Command Historian at Fort Knox, and an adjunct professor at Alice Lloyd College, he presented his paper, “Marauder: Frank D. Merrill and the U.S. Army’s War in Burma.”
In addition to the conference, the couple also explored and visited some of England’s historical attractions, such as the Rosetta Stone, the British Army Museum, Winston Churchill’s underground bunker during World War II, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and St. James Park.
Smith-Daugherty’s plans for the future include the publishing of a book on counterinsurgency in 2015 of which she is a collaborating author.
To find out more about the event, please visit this website.
For more information about Jacqueline Cochran, click here.