Peter Rayls, a Ph.D. candidate studying Canadian military history at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, is the first recipient of the Air Vice Marshal Keith Hodson Scholarship, awarded to him for his research on the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
The Air Vice Marshal Hodson Scholarship will be presented annually to a graduate student whose thesis makes a significant contribution to the theme of Canadian military aviation.
Mr. Rayls’ dissertation focuses on the personal relationships between Canadian and U.S. Air Force officers who were influenced by the establishment of NORAD in 1957, the command’s early operations, and the emergence of a unique North American air defence culture.
It is also very fitting that Mr. Rayls’ thesis includes sections on Air Vice Marshal Keith Hodson’s life and legacy, given the Vice Marshall’s role in the development of the RCAF doctrine during the Cold War and his final posting at NORAD headquarters at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado.
Air Vice Marshal Hodson was a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot who flew Spitfires in the Royal Air Force Fighter Command in 1941, completing 120 missions over Europe and receiving two Distinguished Flying Crosses. He was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). After the war, Hodson held a number of senior posts, including Commandant of the RCAF College in Toronto, Ontario, and Deputy Chief of Staff NORAD.
The RCAF Heritage Fund committee selected Hodson’s name…