Operation “Firefly”

Operation “Firefly”

It is revealed that although the shooting war is over, American paratroopers are still fighting an ever-present enemy in the northwestern states—forest fires.

Airborne Fire Fighting Equipment Troop Carrier Command C-47 is loaded with one of the five special fire fighting packs dropped with airborne fire fighters. Packs include axes, shovels, water pumps, extra rations, flashlights, and water canteens.

Last summer and fall, Negro members of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion jumped from troop carrier planes into rough, trackess forests of the western mountain states. Their job was to cut off fires and, if possible, extinguish them. According to forest service men, they saved thousands of acres of timber and millions of dollars worth of critically needed resources.

Directing the project, which the Army signalized as “firefly”, was Captain Fay McDonald of Indianapolis, Ind., veteran troop carrier pilot. Paratrooper groups were stationed at Pendleton, Idaho; Walla Walla, Wash, and at Chico, Calif. Commanding officer of the Negro parachute battalion was Captain James H. Porter, New York City.

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