By UXO Guest Writer, LTC Danny M. Johnson, (USA Ret)
Have you ever heard of a town called Hope, Arkansas? It should ring a bell. It's the boyhood home of Bill Clinton the forty-second President of the United States. But Hope was the home of the Southwestern Proving Ground (SWPG) during World War II. Built at a cost of $1,300,000, it also had the largest airfield in the state. At one time, SWPG had the reputation of having the highest concentration of UXO's per acre.
The SWPG was a 50,000 acre joint Army and Army Air Corps facility established in 1942 and closed in September 1945. SWPG's primary mission was to determine by actual firing tests of samples that all of the ammunition issued to the Army by the Ordnance Department was safe to handle and store as well as function properly when used in service by the troops. The explosives included small arms ammunition, artillery rounds, mortars, rockets, grenades, 500-pound bombs and 20-mm, 37-mm, 40-mm, 57-mm, 75-mm, 76-mm, 81-mm, 90-mm, 105-mm, 120-mm, and 155-mm projectiles.