Earl Cooley Interview, June 20, 1984


Earl Cooley


Dan Hall



Download Audio Interview (121.8 MB)

Download Transcript of Earl Cooley Interview (399 KB)


Earl Cooley describes developments in the smokejumper program from World War II until he left the organization in 1951. He discusses the use of conscientious objectors as smokejumpers during the war through the Civilian Public Service program (CPS). Cooley also recalls the smokejumper program training men for the military during the war, including the all-African American 555th Battalion. He describes the transition to using returning military veterans after the war, the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire, and the filming of Red Skies of Montana. He talks about returning to run the smokejumper program in 1958 and offers his thoughts on its future.


Media is loading

Document Type

Oral History


Smokejumpers Montana Biography; Smokejumping Montana History; World War, 1939-1945 Conscientious objectors; Forest fires Montana; Red Skies of Montana

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Smokejumpers 1984 Reunion Oral History Collection, OH 133, 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 Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use of this item. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 133-021

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) : analog + 1 transcript (20 pp. : 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:28:42 minutes

Local Filename

OH_133_021.mp3; OH_133_021.pdf

Earl Cooley Interview, June 20, 1984
Please be advised: Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."