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DC-3 ...1949... 13 dead...Remember?

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  • DC-3 ...1949... 13 dead...Remember?

    MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A museum here is now exhibiting the
    airplane that flew 15 smokejumpers to a 1949 wildfire where 12 of
    them and a forest ranger died, a catastrophe that changed
    firefighting and was told in the 1992 bestseller "Young Men and
    Fire" by Norman Maclean.
    The restored DC-3 on permanent display at the Museum of Mountain
    Flying was dedicated Sunday. Among those on hand was 95-year-old
    Earl Cooley, who served as the jumpmaster and spotter aboard the
    flight to Mann Gulch, along the Missouri River north of Helena.
    Eleven men died in the gulch on Aug. 5, 1949, and two others
    with severe burns died the next day.
    The deadly blaze led the U.S. Forest Service to institute a
    number of changes in firefighting practices.
    Other than the absence of benches, Cooley said, the plane is the
    same as when it transported the jumpers 57 years ago.
    "It's good to remember these things so our younger people know
    what we did," said Cooley, who climbed into the belly of the plane
    Sunday and looked at the cargo area.
    The plane, put to fire use after Johnson Flying Service Inc. of
    Missoula bought it at a 1946 surplus sale, remained in service
    until sold by Johnson in the mid 1970s.
    A few years ago, one of the plane's former pilots saw it in
    Arkansas, and a plan to return the aircraft to Montana took shape.
    In 2001 the plane was bought with $125,000 in donations and flown
    to Missoula.
    Shined to a high luster, the plane looks better than ever, said
    Wally Small, a former smokejumper who jumped from it in 1952-53.
    "I'm glad it's here," Small said. "It's a real piece of
    history, a real piece of important history."
    Doris Johnson was 10 when she saw the plane as her smokejumper
    brother, Eldon Diettert, prepared to leave for Mann Gulch. The
    departure was on her brother's birthday and the family had taken a
    cake to him at the smokejumper center.
    "I find it a little sad, but I appreciate it as a memorial,"
    Johnson said Sunday as she saw the plane for the second time. "I
    just wish my parents could have been here for it."
    ---
    On the Net:
    Museum of Mountain Flying: www.museumofmountainflying.org
    ---
    Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  • #2
    Movie Title

    There was a movie made about this fire in the 1950's. Anyone recall the name of the movie? Red Sky Over Montana? With all the old movies available these days, this one might be too.

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    • #3
      1949 smoke jumpers

      I'm just about finished with the book. Very interesting reading. And so far, I haven't been able to find any copies of the movie.

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      • #4
        The book told a compelling story-it is appropriately named. Warner Bros studios is supposed to have a movie in the works.
        Young Men and Fire
        -------------------
        "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
        -----------------------------------------------
        Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

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        • #5
          I live in Kalispell, will be sure to get down and see it. Thanks for posting about this.

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          • #6
            Storm King

            there was another fatal fire in Colorado .. 1994 .. was called the South Canyon Fire ... was actually on Storm King Mt it killed 14 fire fighters ... every time I read the book I cry.

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