John P. Ferguson Interview, July 21, 1984


John P. Ferguson


Floyd Cowles



Download Audio Interview (137.8 MB)

Download Transcript of John Ferguson Interview (371 KB)


.John Ferguson describes helping to set up the smokejumper program in McCall, Idaho, after his 1942 training at the Nine Mile Ranger Station in Montana and in Missoula, Montana. He recalls how he was on the first fire jump for Region 4. Ferguson discusses training jumps and fire jumps, equipment modifications, and changes in the cargo dropping system. He talks about training doctors to jump. Ferguson describes the government’s use of conscientious objectors to serve as smokejumpers during World War Two, the training of African American jumpers, the first fire death of a smokejumper in 1946, and the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire.


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Document Type

Oral History


Smokejumpers Montana Biography; Smokejumping Montana History; Smokejumpers Training of; Smokejumping Equipment and supplies; Airdrop

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 /

Oral History Number

OH 133-034, OH 133-035

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassettes (105 min.) : analog + 1 transcript (27 p. : 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:49:11 minutes

Local Filename

OH_133_034_035.mp3; OH_133_034_035.pdf

John P. Ferguson Interview, July 21, 1984
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