Jumping Into Fire in 1945: Black Paratroopers in the Pacific Northwest

November 28, 2016 7PM

In 1945, an elite unit of the Army’s best trained paratroopers arrived at Pendleton Field as part of a highly classified mission, Operation Firefly. The all-black unit spent the next several months jumping and fighting forest fires throughout the Pacific Northwest. One of the “Triple Nickles” died on a fire jump near Roseburg, the first smokejumper to die in the line of duty. These men gained military fame as the first all-black “Airborne Infantry Firefighters.” Theirs is a unique story of patriotism, race, and service.

Speaker Robert Bartlett is a Vietnam War veteran and the son of Walter Bartlett, Sr., a WWII Army Air Corps veteran. Bob has nearly 30 years of university teaching and presentation experience. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Colorado Mesa University, a M.A. in Sociology from Washington State University, and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University. Bob is currently a Senior Lecturer at Eastern Washington University in the Department of Sociology/Justice Studies and serves on the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau. He is an Associate Member of the National Smokejumpers Assoc. and the 555th Parachute Infantry Association, the “Triple Nickles.”