Smokejumper History

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.

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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