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Addison Reynold Carlson ( Missoula 1943 )

posted: Sep 17, 2020

Add, 71, died December 9, 1981, in Minneapolis. He was born August 13, 1910, in Big Falls, Minnesota. He lived there for the first 25 years of his life and by 1940, he and his three brothers had moved to San Anselmo, in Marin County California. Addison was a driver for the Parish Brothers Construction Company working on the Alpine Dam from the late 1930s until early 1942.

In March 1942, Add and his brother, Clarence, both members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, appealed to the San Rafael draft board that they be exempt, based on their religious belief from induction into the military service. Clarence contented that he was exempt because he was a minister. However, a federal court jury sentenced Clarence to four years in prison and Addison was certified exempt if he would appear for assignment to a Civilian Public Service work camp. In lieu of serving in prison, Addison reported to Camp Number 031-01. Camp 31 was operated by the Mennonite Central Committee, opening in April 1942, a month after Addison agreed to serve in a work camp. Camp 31 was a Forest Service camp 60 miles east of Sacramento, California with the enrollees making transportation and erosion improvements and preventing and fighting forest fires.

In early 1943, a request was made by the Forest Service for Conscientious Objectors in Civilian Public Service Camps to volunteer to be trained as smokejumpers. Approximately 350 volunteered and 62 were selected. Addison was one of the selectees and he reported to Civilian Public Service Camp 103-01, in Seely Lake, Montana. Camp 103 opened in May 1943. Addison was a smokejumper in 1943, 1944, and 1945, all three years that Conscientious Objectors participated as smokejumpers. He had at least seven fire jumps while smokejumping.

After leaving the smokejumping program, Addison returned to Minnesota where he worked as a carpenter in Minneapolis. He never married but had many friends. He is buried in Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis.