Joseph Coffin and Audine Coffin Interview, August 12, 1986


Rosa Stone



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Download Transcript of Joseph and Audine Coffin Interview (321 KB)


Joseph and Audine Coffin describe their time in the Civilian Public Service [CPS], working first at a mental hospital in Medical Lake, Washington, and then with the smokejumpers in Missoula, Montana. Audine Coffin describes what it was like being the wife of a CPS worker, and how the wives were integral to the running of the mental hospital. She describes how, after being fired for not buying war bonds, she worked with Gordon Hirabayashi in Spokane to run an inter-racial house for Japanese internees. Joseph Coffin describes how he found out about the smokejumpers through that house, and why he chose to apply. He recalls his training in the summer of 1945, and how that was an especially brutal fire season. He talks about a few of the fires he jumped on, including one where his unit was fully engulfed in flames and barely survived. Joseph and Audine talk about the relative youth of many of their fellow CPS colleagues, and how the government did not offer any help or benefits to conscientious objectors at the end of the war.


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Document Type

Oral History


Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States; Smokejumpers, Montana; World War, 1939-1945; Quaker Church; 4-E classification; Smokejumper training; Mental hospitals; 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 /

Oral History Number

OH 163-019

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (18 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:46:50 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_019.mp3; OH_163_019.pdf

Joseph Coffin and Audine Coffin Interview, August 12, 1986