John L. Ainsworth Interview, August 8, 1986


John L. Ainsworth


Rosa Stone



Download Audio Interview (53.2 MB)

Download Transcript of John Ainsworth Interview (269 KB)


John Ainsworth describes his experiences during the three years he spent as a smokejumper, from 1943 to 1945. He talks about wanting to do work of national importance rather than use violence in the war, and how he feels that firefighting fit that description. He recalls a few of his 28 fire jumps, particularly a fire at Pot Mountain in Idaho. Ainsworth discusses being on a lookout tower overnight on that fire and watching lightning hit the forest below. He then talks about his career as an electrical engineer after the war, and about his interest in renewable energy and sustainable housing. He criticizes the government’s handling of natural resources. The interview ends with interviewer Rosa Stone explaining the larger purpose of the oral history project, and some of its methodology.


Media is loading

Document Type

Oral History


Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States; Smokejumpers, Montana; World War, 1939-1945; Methodist Church; 4-E classification; Smokejumper training; renewable energy

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage

Montana; Idaho



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 163-025

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (12 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:41:39 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_025.mp3; OH_163_025.pdf

John L. Ainsworth Interview, August 8, 1986