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History Department

Smokejumpers of the Civilian Public Service in World War II

Conscientious Objectors as Firefighters for the National Forest Service (McFarland, 2006)

This is the story of Civilian Public Service smokejumpers, who battled dangerous winds, searing heat, and devastating fires from 1943 until 1945. Fewer than 300 World War II conscientious objectors served their country in this fashion, operating out of CPS bases in Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. But that small band of men helped keep Forest Service operations alive in the Pacific Northwest. When the war ended, CPS smokejumpers, like millions of World War II combat soldiers, were ushered out of wartime service. Some, like returning GIS, encountered difficulties in adjusting to civilian life; many went on to make remarkable contributions to their communities, their nation, and the world.