Tom Summers Interview, August 12, 1986


Tom Summers


Gregg Phifer



Download Audio Interview (57.2 MB)

Download Transcript of Tom Summers Interview (362 KB)


Tom Summers describes his experience as a smokejumper at McCall, Idaho, during the summer of 1945. He talks about getting the 4-E classification without a religious background, and about his time in Coleville, California, before moving on to smokejumping. He describes his training at Ninemile, including an injury he received due to unsafe axe use. He also describes the difference between the Irvin parachutes that the smokejumpers used and the older Eagle parachutes. Summers recalls a few of his 14 fire jumps, including a large fire on the Imnaha River, in eastern Oregon. He then speaks briefly about his work at a mental hospital in Lyons, New Jersey, and about his work after the end of the war. He describes time spent in Germany and Switzerland in the 1950s, and reminisces about how the CPS experience shaped his outlook and future direction in life.


Media is loading

Document Type

Oral History


Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States; Smokejumpers, Idaho; World War, 1939-1945; 4-E classification; Smokejumper training; Mental Hospitals; West Germany; 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 163-027

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

00:45:00 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_027.mp3; OH_163_027.pdf

Tom Summers Interview, August 12, 1986