This collection includes interviews detailing the experiences of smokejumpers during the 1981 fire season at the Redmond Air Center in Redmond, Oregon. The interviews were conducted from 1981 to 1983 by Nick Sundt, Charlie Bragdon, and Bruce Van Voorhis. The interviewees discuss their smokejumping training, memorable jumps, and colleagues. Most of the interviewees offer their opinions on the topic of women becoming smokejumpers and the U.S. Forest Service’s attempts to recruit women for smokejumping. The non-interview recordings consist of smokejumper meetings in the Center’s Ready Room, a rookie initiation, and various gatherings at local bars. The original interviews are held as Oral History collection OH 172 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 9 interviews.
Carl Dammann describes how he got into smokejumping after working on U.S. Forest Service IR crews for several years. He details the decision that prompted him to switch to smokejumping after a particularly bad fire season in 1970 that required many days of mopping up. ... Read More
David “Skinny” Beals talks about being a conscientious objector [CO] to World War Two and how this led to his involvement in smokejumping in the 1940s. He discusses the early days of smokejumping and talks about the various changes in equipment and technology that he ... Read More
Dean Johnson and Steve Reynaud
Dean Johnson and Steve Reynard discuss smokejumping and smokejumping culture during the 1960s and the 1970s. Johnson and Reynard talk about training new smokejumpers and how training was designed to prepare new smokejumpers for high-stress and life-threatening situations. Johnson and Reynard describe the dangerous experiences ... Read More
Doug Houston describes the ongoing efforts to establish the presence of women in the smokejumper program. He also details what changes are being made to the recruitment process and shares his concerns about these changes
Paul Sulinski describes how he became a smokejumper in the 1960s after moving from New Jersey to the West. He talks about working briefly at the jumper base in Winthrop, Washington, then joining the Marine Corps. Sulinski details going back as a smokejumper in the ... Read More
Richard E. Montague
Richard Montague discusses how firefighting funding was determined in the late-1970s and early-1980s, in terms of both prevention and suppression of wildfires. He describes the negotiation process between firefighting outfits, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Congress for appropriate funding. Montague also explains how ... Read More
Scott Fairchild, a lead plane and a jumper-plane pilot who worked as a smokejumper out of Redmond, Oregon, describes planes at the base, what lead plane pilot procedures consist of, critical aspects of the being a lead plane pilot, and the qualifications and procedures for ... Read More
Steve Nemore describes how he first became interested in smokejumping as a child, when he read about it in a Boys’ Life article. He recalls attending forestry school at Virginia Tech, then in 1966, getting his first hot shot job in Priest Lake, Idaho, before ... Read More
William D. Moody
William Moody discusses his 25-year career as a smokejumper in the Pacific Northwest, specifically at the Redmond Air Center in Redmond, Oregon. He talks about various aspects of the job including his rookie training and the mental and physical demands the job requires. Moody talks ... Read More