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Smokejumper Magazine

Jan 2019

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The Beauty Of Clearcutting

by Karl Brauneis (Missoula ’77) |

A district ranger north of us at Dubois, Wyo., told me years ago that an old forester came in to visit and see some of the 1,000-acre clearcuts they had planned and harvested in the 1960s.

The forester felt remorse at the size and scope of the cuttings. It bothered him throughout his career. Now he was back to see the effects.

Upon returning from the field, he told the ranger, “Forget about what I said. Those clearcuts are beautiful.”

Oct 2018

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Wildfire Suppression— A Problem No One Can Solve?

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction ’59) |

Sure, there have been many practices in the past that have not been environmentally sound. But, at the same time, does that mean that we give up and go completely the other way? There has to be a middle ground reached. We cannot allow the radicals to rule the roost.

Jul 2018

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Surviving An Australian Firestorm – February 1983

by Dave Blakely (Missoula ’57) |

As I looked out at the raging flames, I had serious thoughts about whether or not we were going to survive. I wondered exactly why I was there? I thought of my family and that my wife had no idea where I was.

Apr 2018

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The Whetstone Ridge Fire – Later Part of the Meyers Fire Complex – A Failure in Early Detection and Attack

by Ben Smith (Missoula ’64) |

In the year 2017 we, as Americans, saw account- ably in many forms, from cabinet officers being fired for using less than $1million of private air travel, to Navy Captains and their bosses being relieved from command for accidents at sea. Where is the account- ability in the US Forest Service for spending $32 million dollars on a fire that should have had the same aggressive initial attack as three other nearby fires that cost less than $400,000 each?

Jan 2018

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T.V. Pearson And The Parachute Scheme

by Richard Elsom |

In the West, wildland fire is a regular threat to populated spaces as well as the rugged back- country found in forests and wilderness areas. In an effort to improve response time on fires in remote areas, the U.S. Forest Service began to experiment in 1939 with dropping firefighters from aircraft. These early parachute tests conducted in Washington state were so successful that they spawned a new type of wildland firefighter that still serves today – the smokejumper.

However, 1939 was not the first time the Forest Service tested the idea of dropping firefighters by parachute.

Oct 2017

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Bruce E. Egger - Citizen Soldier/Smokejumper

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction '59) |

Stephen Ambrose about Bruce Egger: 'There is no typical GI among the millions who served in Northwest Europe, but Bruce Egger surely was representative. He served at the war in almost continuous front-line action. He never missed a day of duty.'

Jul 2017

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Apr 2017

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Alaska, Bent Props And Luck

by Bill Mader (Boise '75) |

I realized almost immediately that is was a highly unorthodox landing – tumbling bodies in the fuselage and chunks of tundra flying past the window.

Jan 2017

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Oct 2016

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Shep Johnson Remembered

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction ’59) |

Unbelievably, this throwback to men who broke trails for wagon trains a couple hundred years ago, worked for the CIA with its Harvard men and persuasive boardroom thinkers.

Jul 2016

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A Tale of Two Coins

by Robert 'Bob' Bartlett (Associate) |

My hero, my father, and his brother both served in segregated Army units during World War II.

Apr 2016

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Beas - Part II

by by John Driscoll (Missoula '68) |

'What the hell did the general do to get me all these people? - He shot the lieutenant.'

Jan 2016

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'Beas' Part 1

by John B. Driscoll (Missoula '68) |

'See that last cow? When it goes out of the gate, I'm history. I'm going with the smokejumpers.'

Oct 2015

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Is The Forest Service Making The Best Decision In Going To The Square Chute?

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction '59) |

The round parachute has served the Forest Service well.

Smokejumpers are firefighters with an unusual delivery system. Is it a good move to go away from something that has provided safe and efficient delivery of the jumpers for 75 years?

Jul 2015

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The Selected Few and “The List”

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction ’59) |

Smokejumpers have had a special working relationship with the CIA for over 35 years beginning in 1951. Over 100 jumpers have been involved in overseas operations including the Taiwan Project, Bay of Pigs and the Secret War.

Apr 2015

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Operation Firefly-Triple Nickles/Myth, Fact and Common Sense

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction ’59) |

Operation Firefly was a political smokescreen over which the Triple Nickle had no control. However, when history is changed, someone needs to challenge those changes. Books will continue to be written on this subject based on myth and inaccuracies and the Forest Service will continue with press releases based on sources 70 years removed. Let’s examine the record based on official documents.

Jan 2015

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Biophile of Melvin L. "Smokey" Greene

by Richard Baughn, Aerophile magazine |

In early 1942, Melvin L. "Smokey" Greene (MSO-42) started jumping out of airplanes to fight forest fires. A couple years later his jump training helped save his life when his B-29 was rammed by a Japanese fighter.

Oct 2014

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Bob Sallee: A Personal Remembrance

by Carl Gidlund (Missoula '58) |

To most of the world, Bob Sallee was merely the last living survivor of 1949’s Mann Gulch Fire, a disaster that took the lives of 12 smokejumpers.

Jul 2014

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Long Cheng Visited 39 Years After CIA/Jumpers Left

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction '59) |

Long Cheng has been called the “Most Secret Place On Earth.” During it’s peak the CIA base was one of the world’s busiest airports and had a population of approximately 50,000.

Apr 2014

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Jan 2014

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My First “Real” Combat Mission

by Gary Watts (McCall ’64) |

We wanted to be up North, where the action was, where the MiGs were. We were fighter pilots; we were trained for air combat. That was our job.

Oct 2013

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Luke Sheehy Remembered

by (Tributes from friends and fellow jumpers) |

Luke was born in Susanville, California. He did it all. It's no surprise that he ended up pursuing the adrenaline-filled career of smokejumping. He was a machine-it didn't matter if he was on the 25th rep of the 25th set of push-ups-he still had that smile and easy manner. His personality and over-sized grin were infectious.

Jul 2013

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Smokey’s Rock Pile And Uncle Kenn

by Guy Hurlbutt (Idaho City ’62) |

There was a time when “smokejumping” was a foreign term to me. My introduction came through Tall Timber Pilots, a book about the Johnson Flying Service whose aviators flew smokejumpers for many years. The book, published in 1953, eventually found its way into the library of the high school I attended in South Carolina.

Apr 2013

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Brinkley Leads Farewell To DC-3 At Ceremony

by (Editor's note - The following was given by McCall Base Manager Joe Brinkley (MYC-98) at the Oct. 24, 2012, retirement ceremony for the R-4 DC-3.) |

First and foremost, I would like to recognize Stan McGrew for his vision of a turbine-powered DC-3. His persistence extended the operational effectiveness of the aircraft for at least 20 more years.

Jan 2013

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The Weight Of Desire - She Had The Look

by Cameron Chambers (North Cascades ’04) |

When she came through the door for the first day of smokejumper rookie
training, everyone saw she was tiny. When she went to the weigh-in, the
foreman rolled the heavy metal fireproof door shut so no one could watch.
Outside the door they didn’t need the scale to know she was tiny.

Oct 2012

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Cliff Creek Fire - A Most Memorable Series of Events

by Rob Shaver (McCall '67) |

It was a busy fire season when I rookied at McCall, Idaho, in 1967. I was fortunate to have 14 fire jumps, which included four in Oregon. It was jumper number 13, on a small Oregon blaze, that was most memorable.

Jul 2012

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Remembering The Norton Creek Disaster And The Deaths Of Two Friends

by Gary M. Watts (McCall ’64) |

I am sitting here, in my home in Southern California, poring over a map. The map is a product of the United States Department of Interior Geological Survey. It is a 7.5-minute (topological) titled “Pungo Mountain, Idaho.”

Apr 2012

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Operation Bolo: Smokejumper Shoots Down MiG-21

by Fred Donner (Missoula ’59) |

On Jan. 3, 1967, I was the Air America airline station traffic manager at Danang, South Vietnam, for just over a year. In 1964 I spent the last of my five years as an Air Force lieutenant as commander of Detachment 5 of the 8th Aerial Port Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam, doing essentially the same kind of work.

Jan 2012

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Going Full Circle: A Jump Home

by Cameron Chambers (North Cascades '04) |

I woke in the sterile hotel room at 6 a.m. - day five of a boost and sore after a three-day fire on the Lewis and Clark. By seven I stood in front of the box for roll call.

Oct 2011

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Glory Days

by Don Havel (Fairbanks '66) |

Often on a fire jump I would stand looking over the country and tell myself that I was standing on a spot where no one had ever stood before

Jul 2011

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Athletic Excellence – Olympic Gold

by Ed Booth (Associate Editor) |

while no smokejumper of whom we’re aware has been an Olympic athlete, three of them have had children who have not only competed at the Olympic level – but have excelled.

Apr 2011

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For Jerry Dixon, The Dancing Never Stopped

by Doug Abromeit (McCall '71) |

The bags were unwieldy, uncomfortable, bulbous and heavy. Our task was to put these monstrosities on our backs and carry them five tortuous miles back to the jump base in one hour; the trainers, of course, slipped rocks into everyone’s bag.

Jan 2011

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Poor Old George-(An Interview With Bob Nicol)

by Gayle Morrison (Associate) |

When the sick scientist heard the Skyhook plan, he said, “You’re gonna get me out of here, how?!? No way am I leaving like that!”

Oct 2010

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Jumping Into Helispots

by Ray Farinetti (Cave Junction '64) |

Well…the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes turn to rat #$%& !

Jul 2010

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Apr 2010

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Early Smokejumper History

by Earl Cooley |

In the fall of 1939 a group of "barnstormers" dropped into timbered areas near Winthrop, Washington to determine the feasibility of dropping firefighters by parachute to combat forest fires. The experiment proved successful and the program continued in 1940.

Jan 2010

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Oct 2009

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The Birth of Smokejumping - Notes Of The First Forestry Parachutist - Part 2

by Giorgy Alexandrovich Makeev (Leningrad 1949) |

In Part One (April 2009) Makeev told of his efforts to develop a smokejumper program in the Soviet Union in 1934 and to convince the Head of Forest Protection that it could be done safely and effectively. The project was approved for further experimentation in 1935. In spite of negative reports from his superiors, Makeev was given approval to further develop the smokejumper program in 1936. Thanks to Bruce Ford (MSO-75) and Tony Pastro (FBX-77) for their translation of this historic document.

Jul 2009

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The Birth of Smokejumping - Notes Of The First Forestry Parachutist

by Giorgy Alexandrovich Makeev (Leningrad 1949) |

I remember that with pleasure I let go with my tired left hand and then came to my senses hanging by the risers of an open parachute in full silence and solitude in the midst of the sky's expanse. The wind rocked me strongly. I flew over the aerodrome. This minute of parachute descent was one of the happiest of my life.

Apr 2009

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The Start of the Fall of Long Tieng

by Ed Dearborn |

In the fall of 1971 the North Vietnamese Army launched a full-scale attack on all the fire bases. I had a chance to talk to Jerry Daniels (MSO-58) at Long Tieng. He said, "We aren't making it down here. I don't think we can hold out much longer. If it goes bad, I'm going to have to walk out of here." I would never see Jerry again.

Jan 2009

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Oct 2008

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Jul 2008

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Eight-Mile Ridge Fire

by Douglas Baird (North Cascades '58) |

The following account of a tragic plane crash is an excerpt from the personal journal of Doug Baird written during his rookie year at NCSB.

Apr 2008

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"Rescue Dawn"-A Big Disappointment

by Denny Breslin (North Cascades '69) |

After reading the critical comments by Gene DeBruin's family, it is clear that Werner Herzog went beyond the bounds of "literary license" into what amounts to mean fiction.

Jan 2008

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Oct 2007

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A Tribute To Fred Brauer

by Ron Stoleson (Missoula '56) |

One historic mission that Fred flew was the dropping of the 101st Airborne troops at 0115 on D-Day the 6th of June, 1944.

Jul 2007

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Who Are Those Guys?

by Troop Emonds (Cave Junction '66) |

Troop, Jerry and The Pirates vs. Chinese Slave Traders

Apr 2007

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The Remarkable Yuri Yushkov

by Bruce Ford (Missoula ’75) |

Veteran smokejumper Yuri Yushkov first strapped on a parachute at age 18 in 1943 as war raged against the invading Nazis.
Out of the 6,000 dropped, "Only a handful of us survived."

Jan 2007

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Prisoner In Laos: A Story Of Survival-Part II

by Phisit Intharathat (Associate Life Member) |

Arriving at an intersection of several trails, I checked to make sure it was clear and started to run across the clearing. Halfway across I heard someone yelling, "Yute, Yute!" I turned my head and met the cold steel gaze of an M-1 rifle, pointed at my face."

Oct 2006

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Prisoner In Laos: A Story Of Survival-Part I

by Phisit Intharathat (Associate Life Member) |

I climbed out first, followed by the others. The guard was still snoring loudly. I moved to the outside fence, pulled in wide enough to squeeze through and signaled for my friends to follow.

Jul 2006

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Russian Smokejumpers: The Pre-War Years

by Bruce Ford (Missoula '70) |

At its height, AFPS was the largest aerial fire service in the world, employing thousands of smokejumpers and rappellers and hundreds of aircraft. Its history parallels and often anticipates developments in the West.

Apr 2006

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Jan 2006

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Fire and Ice: U.S. Jumpers Tour Russian Bases, Warm to Russian Hospitality

by Bruce Ford (MSO-75) |

Queuing up to the door of an airplane is all in a day's work for a smokejumper. But it's January and minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside. The jumpers in front of you are 14- and 15-year-old boys and girls, many on their first jump. The 17-year-olds already have several jumps under their belts and sit nonchalantly waiting their turns. That's because this is Russia, and being tough is all part of growing up.

Oct 2005

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Members of Missoula Elite Unit Recruited for CIA Mission to Taiwan

by John Q. Murray |

Because the smokejumpers represented the most advanced parachute technology in the world at that time, with elite men like Jim Waite (MSO-40) and Frank Derry (MSO-40) pushing the state of the art with their innovations, the CIA turned to the smokejumpers for help with a secret mission after the war.

Jul 2005

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To The Moon!

by Jill Léger (Associate Editor) |

Former Jumper Made History Aboard Apollo 14

Apr 2005

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Smokejumpers to the Ravens (Part Two)

by Gene Hamner (Missoula '67) |

The pilots spoke of colleagues who had vanished into the highly classified operation codenamed the 'Steve Canyon Program.' Insiders who worked with them knew these pilots as the Ravens.

Jan 2005

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Smokejumpers to the Ravens (Part One)

by Gene Hamner (Missoula '67) |

As the war dragged on, so the myth grew. Apparently, there was another war even nastier than the one in Vietnam. The men who chose to fight in it were handpicked volunteers, and anyone accepted for a tour seemed to disappear as if from the face of the earth.

Oct 2004

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Shep Johnson: A More Than Interesting Life

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction '59) |

"I was wounded February 14, 1971, at General Vang Pao's secret base, known as Long Tieng, or Lima Site 20A. I always felt it was a Valentine's gift from Ho Chi Minh."

Jul 2004

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Smokejumper Awarded Medal of Honor

by Chuck Sheley (CJ '59) |

Lt. Sisler realized that two of his [men] had been wounded and left behind. Racing back alone into the jungle, Sisler picked up one man and was running with him when the NVA launched a second assault, headed directly for him.

Apr 2004

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I Wish I Could Have Met Willi

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction '59) |

Tackling the West Ridge was an enormous undertaking. Dodging avalanches and contending with 100-mph winds, the climbers set up camp at a biologically brutalizing 27,250 feet.

Jan 2004

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An Interview With A Pioneer Smokejumper

by James Budenholzer (Missoula '73) |

A member of the first smokejumper force in 1940, Jim "Smokey" Alexander is a true pioneer. Alexander recently sat down with James Budenholzer (Missoula '73) to share his recollections of that first season—and what it was like to make history.

Oct 2003

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The Story Behind The Picture

by John Culbertson (Fairbanks '69) |

I was kind of wild then and often had one wheel spinning loose in the sand. I guess I was telling myself to get serious. Somebody took a picture while all that was in my head, capturing what, for me, was an important moment in time.

Jul 2003

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Jerry Daniels (Missoula 58-60) Remembered

by Fred Donner (Missoula '59) |

The enemy was at the gates and thousands of Hmong expected to leave, a repeat of Vietnam the month before. By every account, Jerry was the glue that held things together until the final bitter moments when he and Vang Pao had to pull the plug...On the last airplane out of Sky, Hog broke out a case of Olympia - a true blue smokejumper.

Apr 2003

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Spaghetti-O's vs A 30-30 At Fort Yukon

by Larry Welch (Cave Junction '61) |

One of my fellow jumpers was a Southern California boy. He had a can of Spaghetti-O's and was in the process of eating them with a plastic spoon, when in walked a young native man armed with a lever-action 30-30 rifle.

Jan 2003

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On Becoming a Smokejumper

by Deanne Shulman (McCall '81) |

True ecologists and proponents of chaos theory will say everything and everyone is connected. With a gentle half-smile, they will explain how the slight air movements made by the flitting wings of a butterfly in China will have effects around the globe. Pondering such fundamental connections, I know with certainty that a man I never met influenced the course of my life.

Oct 2002

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Interview with John McLean

by Steve Smith (NSA Historian) |

In the following interview with John Maclean, NSA Historian, Steve Smith talked with Maclean about the October 28th History Channel special, which is not to be missed.

Jul 2002

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The Humbling - (Early 1950s)

by Reid Jackson (McCall '49) |

As we all know - one of the more enjoyable sports pursued by second-year and older jumpers is badgering new jumper candidates (NEDS). Scare stories of all types are passed around. Most of these stories center around various types of parachute malfunctions all the way from line-overs (Mae West's) to full blown streamers, etc.

Apr 2002

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Women Celebrate 20 Years of Smokejumping

by Tara Rothwell (Redmond '92) |

Everyone was invited! If you didn't make it, you missed one hell of a good time. On December 7th and 8th the women of smokejumping, their friends and families came together in Sun Valley, Idaho for their 20th reunion.

Jan 2002

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Rookie Training 2001-Day by Day

by Michael Blinn (Redding '01) |

I woke up this morning at 6:30, looking forward to my first day of Rookie Training at the California Smokejumper base in Redding, Calif. I didn't get much in the way of sleep last night, mostly tossing, turning and second guessing.

Oct 2001

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Fallen Friend

by Mike McMillan (Fairbanks '96) |

"Get Ready!" The spotter's hand came down on Dave's shoulder and he threw himself into the wind stream. Seconds later he pulled the green handle from his harness, sending his parachute to the sky with a loud crack.

Jul 2001

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Jack Ridgway Story - Smokejumper Training Thwarts Hijacking

by Chuck Sheley (Cave Junction '59) |

The armed man had not seen Ridgway come down the staircase behind him. Operating under the premise that it was a military coup, Jack retreated quietly up the staircase to the flight deck where he opened one of the cockpit hatches to see if there were any vehicles and activity by the military. There was no activity on the ground outside the 747!

Apr 2001

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The Ride of My Life

by Paige Houston (Fairbanks '95) |

On July 27, 1996, I made my 37th jump on a fire in Northern California that turned out to be my last as a smokejumper. This 52-second ride should have put me in a pine box six feet under.

Jan 2001

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1958 Trip to Redding - Really Tall Trees!

by Wild Bill Yensen (McCall '53) |

We all made it to the ground except Bill Weaver. Bill had a Mae West and had to deploy his reserve. Naturally he landed in the top of one of those huge sugar pines.

Oct 2000

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The Jump at Red Dawn

by Leo Cromwell (Idaho City '66) as told to Jason Greenlee (Redding '99) |

A little voice told him things were not right when the spotter said, "Oh, just spot yourself." Maybe we weren't supposed to hear that but we did, and it definitely gave us all pause to think.

Jul 2000

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Some Casual Reflections on Early Jumping

by Neil Shier (Cave Junction '46) |

When we arrived at Missoula, we were trucked to Nine Mile Camp and joined a large group of trainees in what looked like Civilian Conservation Corps barracks. Most were vets, many from airborne outfits.

Apr 2000

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8-Mile Ridge Crash

by Bill Eastman (North Cascades '54) |

Streamers indicated no more than a breeze, but when I went out, a strong wind took my chute at a 90 degree angle from the ridge and away from the fire. For the first and only time, I pulled down lines on one side until my canopy collapsed, then fell free for about 1,000 feet.

Jan 2000

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. . . And If You Find Out, I'll Have To Kill You

by Don Courtney (Missoula '56) |

There was a time when certain jumpers coming back in the spring for another fire season were greeted with, "Where ya been? Secret mission for the CIA?"

Oct 1999

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Mann Gulch Remembered

by Carl Gidlund (MSO 1958) |

Remarks of Keynote Speaker Bob Sallee, last living survivor of the Mann Gulch Fire, at the 50th anniversary of that fire, commemorated on the Helena, Mont. Capitol lawn, August 5, 1999

Jul 1999

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Civilian Public Service Camp 103: CPS Smokejumpers

by Roy & Lillian Wenger (associate members) |

The idea of conscientious objectors serving as smokejumpers was suggested by a young man named Phil Stanley, a Quaker.

At the start of the war, upon reading that the pool of forest fire fighters was drying up, he wrote to the Forest Service suggesting that the men of CPS be given an opportunity to do this work.

Apr 1999

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The Boys of a Different Summer

by Charley Palmer (MSO '95) |

They report to Spring Training, ready to take part in the conditioning and drills that will prepare them for another season. The winter break has allowed them more time to spend with those closest to them. Each knows too well that during the heat of the summer time comes sparingly, and in miserly small amounts. The break has also given them a chance to get stronger, and to heal some of the small, yet nagging injuries that were suffered the year before. They have dissipated in the off-season, like smoke in the swirling wind, exploring, exploring...

Jan 1999

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Addiction to Fire

by Charley Palmer (MSO '95) |

It was at this point he realized his addiction with fire. As strong as any compulsion for gambling or alcohol, he needed fire, and only by being away from it did he realize just how powerful this need really was.

Oct 1998

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Jimmy Pearce

by John Culbertson |

Jimmy's idea of a good deal was rolling down the road in his Mercury convertible to pester the waitresses at the Beacon Coffee Shop in Alturas after the jump season was over in Alaska.

Jul 1998

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Women Smokejumpers

by Charley Palmer (MSO '95) |

They stand out, not due to their strength in numbers, but rather, just the opposite, because of their rarity within the smokejumper group as a whole.

Apr 1998

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Canadian Smokejumpers, Smithers, British Columbia, 1998

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

Many smokejumpers and pilots do not know that Canadian Smokejumper history dates back to days at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan , around 1942-1949, and that those Canadian jumpers trained at Missoula.

Jan 1998

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Smokejumper Aircraft Evaluation Process

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

The criteria for an "approved" smokejumper aircraft were developed and are maintained by the Smokejumper Aircraft Screening and Evaluation Board (SASEB).

Oct 1997

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The Unsoeld Story

by Jolene Unsoeld |

Willi's great love was mountaineering. At the age of 12 he was climbing mountains and through 1946 had scaled peaks in the Washington and Oregon Cascades, Yosemite Valley and the Tetons.

Jul 1997

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1937 Blackwater Fire Investigation

by Karl Brauneis (MSO '77) Forester, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming |

the Smokejumper project was first de­veloped at Winthrop, Washington (Region 6) in the autumn of 1939. Still, I believe that the Smokejumpers were born through tragedy on a hot August day in 1937 near a stream called Blackwater.

Apr 1997

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A House Jump

by Joe Gutkoski (MSO '50) |

At that point, I turned the canopy, facing the direction I was being blown and drifted over the power line. Then I noticed a big picture window ahead of me, coming up fast.

Jan 1997

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Rescue Jump, October 1949

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

The other twelve jumpers had been "gridding" the area where Davis' tracks were last seen. An unusual incident occurred when the second campfire Davis had set was found on a Saturday night by search hounds. The man's shirt, a glove and his gun were located.

Oct 1996

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Beechcraft Super 18 on it's Back Over the Drop Zone with Jumpers On-board

by Dan Thompson (AKA '86) |

He had visions of a fireball and became convinced that they were all going to die momentarily. He remembers thinking, "I really don't want to die today." He had to get out of the Volpar! With all of his will racing overtime he still was welded, unmovable, in the doorway. Staying in the plane would be suicide, but if he could jump, did he have enough altitude, would he miss the propellers? What about their airspeed­ later determined to be 140-150 knots at the time?

Jul 1996

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Search for the Downed

by John Ferguson (MYC '42) |

Several people at homesteads along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River saw the B-17 flying along erratically, with lights on-not knowing that the crew had left it some time earlier.

Apr 1996

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Mongolian Smokejumpers, continued

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

He said that many of the Mongolian jumpers had at least 800 parachute jumps to their credit--many of them free falls performed during non-duty time.

Jan 1996

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Fractured Fables from the Fire Line Jan 96

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

We received an urgent message at 2100 hrs. from dispatch that a search plan was in place. The plan called for "Fixed wing at 0600, choppers at 0700, and search dogs at 1000 hrs.

Oct 1995

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Some Injuries

by Asa Mundell (MSO '43) |

Asa Mundell, MSO 43, published a book in 1993 with the title Static Lines and Canopies. Stories from the Smokeiumpers in Civilian Public Service Camp No. 103, Missoula, Montana 1943. 1944, and 1945. Asa gave us permission to reproduce one of those stories concerning Earl Schmidt. Asa lives at Beaverton, Oregon.

Aug 1995

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Lucky to Be Alive

by Greg Whipple (MSO, 59) |

On the day of the crash, Greg's wife had told him to take some leave time. She had had a dream about a plane crash, but the plane didn't bum. In her dream she had called repeatedly, "No fire, no fire, no fire." . And in her dream she had put the fire out.

Apr 1995

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Turboporter Accident

by Bill Bull (MYC '64) |

I adjusted the headphones and picked up the radio's microphone to call the dispatcher. We were passing through an altitude of 400 feet as I depressed the button and started to speak. It was then that the engine quit!

Jan 1995

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Bear Mauling at Big Horn Pass

by Bob Boyer (RDD '67) |

I realized there would be a need for helicopter evacuation a I remember turning to the new dispatcher and saying, "Don't ever blow the whistle unless you have a confirmed request. However, I'm going to break that rule because our jumpers and pilots are leaving the base and I know YNP's second helicopter isn't in place for its contract."

Oct 1994

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Rescue Mission in the South Fork Primitive Area

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

Dr. Martin had trained at Missoula under Frank Derry and had also taken some training in parachuting at Moose Creek in the Nez Perce National Forest. He was not a smokejumper, but had taken parachute training on his own so as to be jump-qualified for rescue operations. (Medical journals in the United States referred to him as the only "Jump Doctor" in the nation at that time.)

Jul 1994

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Deanne Shulman, McCall, First Woman Smokejumper

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

She also said that one of the biggest thrills in jumping is during the first few seconds out of the door of an aircraft, a time of free fall, and a sort of out-of-control feeling, and then the opening of the chute, followed by the challenge of getting down to the jump spot.

Apr 1994

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Black Paratroopers Where WWII Smokejumpers

by Carl Gidlund (MSO 1958) |

A unit officer, now-retired Lt. Col. Bradley Biggs, recalls the mission, dubbed by the War Department "Operation Firefly."

Dec 1993

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Tragedy Out of McCall

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

The first Smokejumper fatality in the history of this elite organization did not take place at Mann Gulch north of Helena, Montana on August 5, 1949. Instead, the scene was in the Payette National Forest of Idaho.

Aug 1993

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Here's What We've Been Up To

by Jack Demmons (MSO 1950) |

We filed our Articles of Incorporation as a non-profit, public interest corporation on Sept. 24, 1992.