Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Logo
Apply to SIUE
Insitutue of Urban Research Header

Denise DeGarmo

"Oral History: Preserve the Work Experience of Defense Workers in America During the Nuclear Legacy of the Post WWII Era"

This IUR Urban Research Scholar Award funded preliminary research to compile oral histories of American defense workers in the post-World War II Vietnam era. DeGarmo has established a database and has documented interviews using a video camera purchased with the IUR award. An application for funding for a larger-scale proposal is currently under consideration by the Boeing Foundation.

This project will document the stories of the defense workers who, in the words of the Boeing Corporate Website "…built passenger planes, helicopters, warbirds and missiles, satellites and spacecraft. They sent astronauts to the moon and brought cultures together in harmony aboard the International Space Station. Their inventions blazed the trail for today's new technologies" while they are still alive, to preserve their records for future research and for generations to come.

Principal Investigator, Denise DeGarmo and her research team will interview space and defense workers who were active during the post WWII Vietnam era (1960-1975) in the St. Louis area to provide relevant historical information to the public. Researchers will conduct interviews of approximately 500 workers who were involved in defense, aviation, space and aero-space occupations. The research team will gather supporting documents relevant to the people that are needed for the interviews, interview the people that were involved, and compile all the interviews into a collection for future use that will be housed at the archives of SIUE.

Denise DeGarmo received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2001. She is currently an associate Ppofessor and chair of the Department of Political Science. As an International Relations scholar, her focus is on issues of international security. Since arriving at SIUE, DeGarmo has been especially interested in the contributions the St. Louis and Metro-East have made to the military-industrial complex. Boeing being an important component of this complex, provides opportunities to explore its contribution not only to the weapons systems used by the United States to provide for its security, it certainly has policy implications for the area as well. The project she proposes to undertake with Boeing would consist of interviewing the employees who worked for Boeing during WWII and Vietnam Wars to determine what their experiences were like working for this weapons manufacturer. Additional interviews would be conducted with members of management and Department of Defense officials to further understand Boeing's contributions to the war-fighting capacity of the United States.