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Posts tagged: wildland firefighting

Pioneer African-American Smokejumper Laid to Rest at Arlington National Cemetery

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., former chief of staff of the Army, talks to Lt. Col. Roger Walden during a recognition ceremony at the Pentagon on March 25, 2010. (U.S. Army)

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., former chief of staff of the Army, talks to Lt. Col. Roger Walden during a recognition ceremony at the Pentagon on March 25, 2010. (U.S. Army)

During World War II, a time when segregation was still a part of everyday life, a group of 17 brave men took the plunge to serve their country and become the first all African-American paratrooper unit known as the Triple Nickles.

The battalion’s original goal – to join the fight in Europe – was thwarted when military leaders in Europe feared racial tensions would disrupt operations. At about the same time, the U.S. Forest Service asked the military for help to minimize damage caused by balloon bombs launched by the Japanese across the Pacific Ocean with the intent to start forest fires in the western U.S. during World War II.

In the end, few of the incendiary devices reached U.S. soil, but the Triple Nickles were instrumental in helping the Forest Service fight naturally-caused fires. They became history’s first military smokejumpers who answered 36 fire calls and made more than 1,200 jumps that summer of 1945. Read more »

Smokey Makes a Slam-Dunk at Denver Nuggets Event

Smokey waves to the crowd at the pre-season opener with Nuggets mascot Rocky at center court. (U.S. Forest Service/Todd Riecks)

Smokey waves to the crowd at the pre-season opener with Nuggets mascot Rocky at center court. (U.S. Forest Service/Todd Riecks)

The National Basketball Association’s Denver Nuggets honored U.S. Forest Service Hotshot crews and first responders throughout the state of Colorado at a recent Fans and Heroes Night in Denver.

The U.S. Forest Service participated in activities before, during and after the game with Smokey Bear attending his first NBA game in Colorado. Smokey encouraged fans to be prepared for emergencies and gave two big “paws up” to the men and women who serve their communities as first responders. Read more »