Robert Painter


Kim Taylor



Download Audio Interview (39.1 MB)

Download Transcript of Robert Painter Interview (260 KB)


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 first fire jump, becoming assistant director of his unit in Oregon, and the duties of the job. He talks about the relationships among the smokejumpers, the Forest Service, and the community. He also relates how the resistance churches and some members of the community felt about conscientious objectors. Painter describes some of his memorable fire experiences, including when the plane engines stopped working mid-flight and when parachutes didn’t open correctly. He concludes by discussing what being a conscientious objector meant to him and fighting to keep his objector status after he was drafted a second time.


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Document Type

Oral History


Jack Heintzelman; American Friends Service Committee; Quakers; Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States; Smokejumpers, Montana; Smokejumpers, Oregon; World War, 1939-1945

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage

Montana; Oregon



Original Collection

Civilian Public Service Smokejumpers Oral History Project, OH 163, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 163-001

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (10 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:33:53 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_001.mp3; OH_163_001.pdf