James R.


James R. Brunk


Tedford Lewis



Download Audio Interview (61.0 MB)

Download Transcript of James Brunk Interview (308 KB)


James Brunk talks about entering the smokejumpers in 1945, when he was 19 years old. He discusses the training regimen, and being significantly younger than many of his peers at the camp. He recalls some of the men whom he befriended, particularly Maynard Shetler and Ad Carlson. He then describes some of his 14 jumps, including three rescue jumps. Brunk describes a jump in which one of his team members broke his leg, and the crew had to carry him out. He also talks about the Smith Mountain Fire, where he worked with a crew of Mexican laborers to contain the fire. He describes his religious background and convictions, and how he had to re-apply as a conscientious objector when being drafted for the Korean war. Brunk concludes by discussing his decision to go into medical school after the war, and the ways in which the smokejumper experience helped him grow and develop.


Media is loading

Document Type

Oral History


Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States; Smokejumpers, Montana; World War, 1939-1945; 4-E classification; Mennonite Church; Smokejumper training; United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration; Cattle boats; Rescue jumps; Korean War

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 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 163-031

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (14 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:47:06 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_031.mp3; OH_163_031.pdf

James R.