Earl Cooley, the Montanan smokejumper pioneer who also first trained USAF Pararescuemen, has died at 98 years of age in Missoula.
I spent a summer once fighting fire, and another working as a volunteer wilderness ranger for the Forest Service, and found out about smokejumping. Later, when I was at the UMT Forestry School's Wilderness Institute, I met a lot of former and current smokejumpers. One nice duty I drew was to take seniors on summer outings each Friday afternoon. One venue was the smokejumper base at the Missoula airport, where the seniors would get a tour and a talk from a jumper. I met a couple of the original jumpers, including a fellow who had been an Amishman before volunteering for smokejumper duty during WW2.
Later on I learned from guys I knew in Pararescue that there had been this contribution from the smokejumpers at the founding of the USAF service.