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Robert H. Cavanaugh ( Pilot )

posted: May 1, 2021

Robert died June 23, 1958, when the Twin Beech he was piloting crashed on the Eight-Mile Ridge Fire 21 miles northwest of the smokejumper base at Winthrop. He was from Medford, Oregon, and a WWII carrier pilot.

From Bill Moody: "Jumper and cargo droppers killed in the crash: Keith (Gus) Hendrickson, Gerald Helmer, and Bob Carlman. Mission: cargo drop of mechanized equipment, fuel, chow, etc. to 21 rookies and supervisory jumper who had driven to the fire and five jumpers who had jumped earlier in the day. Active severe thunder storm over area - on second cargo drop apparently hit by severe downdraft and failed to clear the ridge.

"Afternoon of day before the crash, we jumpers and Cavanaugh watched 'Victory At Sea' and aircraft carrier activity. Cavanaugh described (from firsthand experience) the battle, and carrier landings."