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Howard Paul Jernigan ( Missoula 1943 )

posted: Jul 29, 2020

Paul died March 3, 2013. He was born in 1919 and was a member of the Quakers Church. Paul was drafted into the Civilian Public Service in 1941 from Greensboro, N.C. His first camp was Camp 19 at Buck Creek, N.C., where he fought fires and did park maintenance. From there he went to CPS-103 at Seeley Lake, MT, to be trained as a smokejumper. He only jumped the 1943 season and got a single fire jump.

Paul remembers a practice jump where Frank Derry yanked him back into the plane. Paul’s static line had come undone and the wind had wrapped it around his neck. “Above the roar of the motor I heard some choice Frank Derry words, then felt a kick on my backside which got me out the door. That evening Frank Derry called an emergency safety meeting. He talked long and loud about the necessary attention and care due static lines if we wanted to survive as smokejumpers. All sixty of us knew why the meeting was held.”

Paul finished his service at Camp 108 near Gatlinburg, TN, where he fought fires and maintained the park. He was discharged in 1943.

Paul graduated with his bachelor's degree from Guiford College in Greensboro, NC, and his Master's from Appalachian State University. He was a school Principal in the Mecklenburg School District for 33 years retiring in 1982.