Daugherty Mason Smith
Colonel, United States Army
Daugherty Mason Smith
Daugherty Mason "Snuffy" Smith joined the Class of January 1943 in 1939 as a recognized plebe. A wonderful career followed involving service in both Europe and Japan in World War II, and further service in Southeast Asia before our commitment to Vietnam became as well-known as in the 1960s.
As “K” Company’s “shortest flanker,” to quote our Howitzer, he played an important role in the company, acting as academic coach for those who needed help, serving as a cadet lieutenant, singing four years in the Catholic Chapel Choir, and generally impressing everyone with his unselfish nature and his devotion to duty.
Snuffy was born in Denver but spent his youth in Iowa and considered himself an Iowa boy. Before entering USMA, he had prepared at the Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he was a cadet colonel, and then two years at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where his two eldest sons would later graduate to start military careers. He also managed to squeeze in two years in the Iowa National Guard, where he made sergeant.
Right after graduation, Snuffy returned to Council Bluffs to marry Dorothy, a marriage that was to last until his death almost 48 years later. Their marriage was followed by the hectic World War II period, with Snuffy joining the 97th Infantry Division’s Signal Company and staying with them in the ETO, through two campaigns, redeployment to Cebu and Japan and a series of high-level assignments in Japan. His last assignment as Crypto Officer of the Far East Command earned him the first of several Commendation Medals.
The period after World War II included challenging Department of the Army assignments with the Chief Signal Officer, and with the JCEC — a committee he accompanied on trips to Canada, Europe, and Africa. He graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College in 1954 after earning a master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Later he also earned a master’s in international relations from GWU. From Leavenworth in 1954, Snuffy and Dorothy started a three-year assignment to SHAPE, then located west of Paris. They enjoyed their time in France and the excitement of the international community at SHAPE, where he served for the AC of S (C&E).
That international assignment prepared him
well for the next three years on the Joint Staff. The JCS assignment led
to PACOM in Hawaii. Once again Snuffy traveled extensively on TDY in the
developing theater of operations, particularly in Thailand. That experience
led naturally to command of the 125th Signal Battalion of the 25th Division
at Schofield, where again he performed with distinction. Chosen for the
Army War College, he graduated in 1966. Later he took the family with him
to Korea in 1969, where he wore four hats in the communications field (ACofS
CE for the UN
After enjoying retired life for four years, Snuffy returned to the workforce as a senior scientist, Operations Research Institute/Calculon under contract to the Department of Energy. As principal consultant he advised on radio frequency management and C-E support for emergency planning programs. DOE activities involved development of international and national radio spectrum policy. Eleven years later he retired again.
A classmate who ran into Snuffy during that period described him as “. . . a totally happy man; happy in his work, with enough compensation to live as he and Dorothy wanted; with happy memories of his service and their life together; and particularly happy with their family.”
He retired from Calculon in 1987, but life remained centered around family, community, and church. Then, on 22 November 1990, Snuffy died of congestive heart failure.
We salute a classmate who never sought
publicity, who worked quietly but with dedication and professionalism at
everything he did, and whose life exemplified all those virtues that describe
a Christian gentleman. But no one who stood in Arlington Cemetery that
farewell day could fail to be impressed by the family he had nurtured and
for whom he had set an example: five sons, two daughters, and 19 grandchildren.
Mason, an Army colonel, and Gary, an Army Lieutenant
Colonel, both Vietnam veterans, are old enough that some of us served
with them. Stephan graduated from
It is obvious that Snuffy’s life was based on four pillars: Duty, Honor, Country, and Family. He did us all proud, and we stand taller in his shadow.
— A classmate