John Scott Interview, August 12, 1986


John Scott


Gregg Phifer



Download Audio Interview (58.0 MB)

Download Transcript of John Scott Interview (357 KB)


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 Idaho. Scott discusses working at a CPS camp in Elkton, Oregon, for over a year before being accepted into the smokejumping program in 1944. He talks about training at Ninemile, Montana, and fighting the Bell Lake fire of September 1944 with 29 other smokejumpers. He goes on to tell of his experiences during the busy fire season of 1945, including carrying out a colleague on a stretcher, and injuring two vertebrae while parachuting to a fire. Scott reminisces about returning to his hometown of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, after the war and operating the family farm for more than 20 years.


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Document Type

Oral History


American Friends Service Committee; Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States Interviews; Smokejumpers, Montana Interviews; Smokejumpers, Idaho Interviews; World War, 1939-1945; Fergus Falls, Minnesota; Elkton, Montana; Ninemile, Montana; SPF (Sets, Portable, Forestry) radio; Bell Lake Fire, 1944; Priest River, Idaho; Savenac Nursery, Haugan, Montana; Missoula, Montana; Crowned fire behavior

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




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 163-012

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (21 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:44:07 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_012.mp3; OH_163_012.pdf

John Scott Interview, August 12, 1986