Robert Searles Interview, August 12, 1986


Robert Searles


Kim Taylor



Download Audio Interview (43.5 MB)

Download Transcript of Robert Searles Interview (282 KB)


Robert “Bob” Searles provides biographical information about his life prior to becoming a smokejumper, including his college years, and working in the radio and television business. Searles explains how he became a conscientious objector and what led to his decision to train as a smokejumper. He recalls his first jump, which resulted in two sprained ankles, and details a difficult let-down when he got his chute caught in a tree. Searles describes some of his off-duty activities, including transplanting trees, working as a cook, and assisting with a training movie. He discusses two experiences he had involving a moose and another with a mountain lion while working on a fire. Searles recalls the camaraderie among the Civilian Public Service [CPS] smokejumpers as well as other servicemen, and he emphasizes his continued support of pacifism.


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Document Type

Oral History


American Friends Service Committee; Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States; Smokejumpers, Montana; Smokejumpers, Oregon; World War, 1939-1945; The Charlie Ruggles Show, Oxford movement; Gandhi, Mahatma; Methodist Church; Cooley, Earl; Wesley Club Student Union; Smokejumper training; Cascade Locks, Oregon; Big Meadow Creek Fire; Seeley Lake, Montana; Missoula, 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 163-003

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (11 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:34:37 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_003.mp3; OH_163_003.pdf

Robert Searles Interview, August 12, 1986