Reflection from Oliver Petty

Reflection from Oliver Petty

The following is a story written by Oliver Petty about his time in CPS at Three Forks Station. It was published in "Static Lines and Canopies":


The high point of our experience took place when Phil Thomforde tried to kill a bear with a splitting ax. It reminds me of some Disney cartoon.

A bear had gotten into our garbage pit. Raymond Phibbes and I were in the cabin. We went to the back door just in time to see Phil poised over the pit with an ax raised in the air. We hollered not to hit the bear, but we were too late. The bear heard us and came up out of the pit. Phil swung the ax with all he had. He hit a glancing blow to the side of the bear's head.

The bear walked off about 20 feet and looked back at Phil as if to say, "What do you think you're doing?" Later, the Forest Service packer said he saw a bear with a sore on the side of its head. Phil was lucky that the bear was a pacifist!


--Taken from Static Lines and Canopies: Stories from the Smoke Jumpers of 1943-1945 Civilian Service Camp 103, Missoula, Montana. Ed. Asa Mundell. Beaverton: 1993. Print.