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.
Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States; Smokejumpers, Montana; World War, 1939-1945; Methodist Church; 4-E classification; Smokejumper training; renewable energy
Civilian Public Service Smokejumpers Oral History Project, OH 163, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula
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 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Oral History Number
1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (12 p.: 28 cm.)
Ainsworth, John L., "John L. Ainsworth Interview, August 8, 1986" (1986). Civilian Public Service Smokejumpers Oral History Project. 25.