Jump Stories

Smokejumper Project, Region Six, 1943

Heintzelmann-Sohler

Heintzelmann-Sohler

Jack Heintzelman was in charge of the Cave Junction Smokejumpers from the beginning of the base in 1943 through 1945. Originally a Protection Assistant at the Redwood Ranger Station, he had no connection to parachuting. After three years as the head of the Smokejumper project, he returned to forestry duties. The following are excerpts from his 1943 end-of-the-season report to his superior, Forest Supervisor Hershel Obye, Siskiyou National Forest.

Smokejumpers at CJ 1943-1945

Crew Quarters; Miller, Yoder, Holyman, Kauffman; 1945

Crew Quarters; Miller, Yoder, Holyman, Kauffman; 1945

In May of 1943, the Mennonite Church opened CPS camp #103 in Missoula, Montana, at Seeley Lake. In that first year, 60 men were trained both in parachute jumping and fire fighting. Seven men were then sent to Cave Junction to serve under the leadership of Jack Heintzelman. In 1944, the number of smokejumpers doubled to 120 and 12 of them went to Cave Junction. Then in the last year, 1945, the training moved to Nine Mile Camp at Huson, Montana. The trainers were Earl Cooley, Wag Dodge, Jim Waite, and others. Fourteen of us agreed to go to Cave Junction. It was the final year of the CPS camps, and the base in Missoula closed in April of 1946.


Mick Swift climbs a giant ponderosa pine tree to retrieve his parachute

Mick Swift climbs a giant ponderosa pine tree to retrieve his parachute


grants pass courier article june 19 2010


Smokejumper uses propeller to crank-start Fairchild jump plane before jump

Smokejumper uses propeller to crank-start Fairchild jump plane before jump