Lewis Berg


Gregg Phifer



Download Audio Interview (56.8 MB)

Download Transcript of Lewis Berg Interview (211 KB)


Lewis “Lou” Berg discusses how his religious convictions led him to apply for 4-E status after the military could not promise him a non-combatant role otherwise. He tells how this status prevented him from getting his first teaching contract renewed. He then talks about his first Civilian Public Service [CPS] camp in Coshocton, Ohio, where he worked on a soil hydrology experiment, and about why he decided to apply for the smokejumpers. Berg describes his time with the smokejumpers, including his work on the Bell Lake fire in 1944. He explains why he transferred away from the smokejumpers in 1945, to work at a mental hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia. After briefly discussing his experiences there, Berg recalls his time with the American Friends Service Committee in Germany, and then his teaching career after his return to the United States.

Document Type

Oral History


American Friends Service Committee; Civilian Public Service; Smokejumpers Montana Interviews; World War, 1939-1945; Conscientious objectors; Methodist Church; Soil Conservation; Mental hospitals; Bell Lake Fire; Ninemile, Montana

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 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 163-015

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (16 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:44:45 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_015.mp3; OH_163_015.pdf