This collection includes interviews detailing the experiences of World War Two conscientious objectors who served as smokejumpers and trained at Seeley Lake, Montana. The interviews were conducted in 1986 by Kim Taylor, Rosa Stone, Gregg Phifer, Ted Lewis, and Roxanne Farwell during a smokejumper reunion at Seeley Lake. The interviewees discuss why they chose to be conscientious objectors, their smokejumper training, daily life in the camp, specific fires they fought, and developing an appreciation for wilderness. The original interviews are held as Oral History collection OH 163 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 12 interviews.
Bryn Hammarstrom Sr.
Bryn Hammarstrom describes smokejumper training at Seeley Lake, Montana, where he was sent after applying for conscientious objector status during World War Two. He talks about his smokejumper duties which included repairing and packing parachutes. He recalls specific jumps including one in Yellowstone Park. He ... Read More
Clyde Earl Schmidt
Earl Schmidt describes obtaining the 4-E classification with relative ease due to being a member of the Mennonite church, and entering Camp Henry, Illinois, on January 7, 1942. Schmidt talks about his experiences in various Civilian Public Service [CPS] jobs including smokejumping in Montana and ... Read More
Ed Nafzinger recalls his childhood, his registration for conscientious objector status, and his decision to become a smokejumper. Nafzinger details his training and talks about one hard landing he had during training that resulted in a concussion. He describes working on parachute rigging after his ... Read More
George S. Leavitt
George S. Leavitt explains how his formal and religious education at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, influenced his decision to become a conscientious objector. He describes the difficulty he had obtaining 4-E status, a process which took almost two years. Leavitt recalls his CO ... Read More
Harvey Henry Weirich
Harvey Henry Weirich describes why he chose to register as a conscientious objector [C.O.] and apply for 4-E status after being drafted at age 19. Weirich explains that his early fascination with airplanes influenced his decision to become a smokejumper. He discusses his smokejumper training ... Read More
H. Lee Hebel
H. Lee Hebel, who was raised in the Lutheran church, describes his decision to register as a conscientious objector [CO] during World War Two. He talks about working various Civilian Public Service [CPS] jobs, including smokejumping in Montana and Idaho. Hebel recalls how smokejumping increased ... Read More
Hubert Roher briefly provides biographical information about his life prior to becoming a smokejumper. He recalls what led to his decision to become a conscientious objector [CO] during World War Two. Roher discusses why he applied for smokejumping within the Civilian Public Service [CPS] program ... Read More
John Scott reminisces about the influence a minister had on his decision to become a pacifist. Scott recalls appealing many times for conscientious objector (CO) status. He describes various civilian public services (CPS) positions he held during World War Two, including smokejumping in Montana and ... Read More
Robert "Bob" Painter discusses his Quaker background, and obtaining conscientious objector status when he was drafted during World War Two. He details how he became a smokejumper and his training in Missoula, Montana, at Nine Mile and in Oregon at Cave Junction. Painter describes his ... Read More
Robert “Bob” Searles provides biographical information about his life prior to becoming a smokejumper, including his college years, and working in the radio and television business. Searles explains how he became a conscientious objector and what led to his decision to train as a smokejumper. ... Read More
Sheldon Mills discusses his decision to become a conscientious objector and to volunteer as a smokejumper during World War Two. He describes the difficulty he had obtaining 4-E status and, later, his conscientious objector [CO] status because he was a Methodist. He relates coming to ... Read More
Willard Handrich discusses his Mennonite religious background, and his experience applying for 4-E status. He explains how he learned of smokjumping in the CPS, and why he chose to volunteer. Handrich describes smokejumper training in Ninemile, Montana, and recalls his most eventful jumps. He recalls ... Read More