Theodore Navy Magazine - Tales from the Early Era of Munition Disposal

The following is the first in a series of articles by Guest Author Robert "Dale" Woosley who will share his experiences while stationed at the Theodore Navy Magazine, Alabama in the early years following the end of WWII.

I was stationed at the Theodore Navy Magazine from about January, 1946 through May, 1946, having been dismissed from radio and radar school as the ending of WWII reduced the need for virtually all Navy operators. The Magazine consisted of a base facility and a munitions storage area located about two miles from the base, surrounded by dense woods and swampy areas and was located about six miles from Mobile, on an asphalt farm-to-market road. The munitions storage area consisted of a large number of metal igloos on concrete slab floors, sunk about half way under ground level (for temperature stability) and joined by a network of rails for conventional boxcars. Most of the igloos could not be reached except by rail. They were almost of constant temperature year round.

At the time I was there, the base cadre consisted of seven officers and about 35 enlisted men. Some of the officers lived in Mobile and were picked up each morning by our school bus, but there was always the Officer-of-the-Day (OOD) on post. The mission of Theodore was to serve as a staging point for ammunition to be destroyed or sent to another facility. During WWII, merchant ships had Armed Guard Crews aboard to man 3 or 5 inch guns against enemy attack. With the war ending, these crews and armament were taken off merchant ships and the guns shipped to a Navy Arsenal somewhere and the ammunition was shipped to a magazine; Theodore was such a magazine. Most shells up to 5 inches were filled with smokeless powder and had an expiration date; Theodore processed those.

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Military Marine Flare "Sparks" Concern

Harwich, Massachusetts Beachgoers rightly reported a suspect device found floating in the waters of Nantucket Sound. Harwich Police and Fire responded to the scene and evacuated people in the area while the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad inspected the item.

Hazardous device technicians removed the item which was determined to be a military marine white phosphorous flare, dropped from an aircraft to mark a location at sea. The item was taken to the Harwich Transfer Station for proper disposal.

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Welcome UXO Guest Author Robert "Dale" Woosley

UXO Guest Author Robert "Dale" Woosley was born in Arkansas in 1926. He graduated Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas with a B.S. Degree in Chemistry in 1949. He pursued other graduate work at University of Arkansas and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

His college studies were interrupted by 21 months service in U.S. Navy. He was stationed at: Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Chicago (primary radio school), Gulfport, MS (secondary radio school), Theodore Naval Ammunition Magazine, AL, and Naval Air Station, New Orleans, LA.

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Encrusted, Embedded UXO Found on UK Coast

Angus, United Kingdom An old military ordnance was uncovered on Montrose Beach in Angus. A private citizen reported the find to he UK Coastguard. The munition was encrusted, corroded and stuck in rocks.

The Montrose Coastguard Rescue Team was sent to examine the item who confirmed it was indeed military ordnance. An EOD team was called to dispose of the device.

Angus, OK UXO

File This UXO Find Under "Here We Go Again"

Frederick, Maryland The Maryland State Bomb squad responded to what has become an all-to-familiar scene of a suspect UXO at a scrapyard. Officials removed what appeared to be an old hand grenade from Reliable Recycling Inc.

An employee noticed the munition in scrap pile. The grenade was intact and appeared to still have the pin in place. The item was moved to a distant part of the yard away from employees and behind a concrete barrier while employees called 911.

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WWII Era Shell Found By Roadcrew

Galeston Gorge, Australia Road workers repairing a road following a heavy rainfall found an ordnance item during construction. The police were notified and an Australian Defence Force (ADF) EOD team from Orchid Hills was dispatched to remove the UXO.

Galeston Gorge

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Bomb Technicians Search for Aging Dynamite

Waynesboro, VA Police setup an exclusion zone around a construction site after workers reported finding wires sticking out of drilled holes as they feared that the wires lead to unexploded dynamite. The construction crew was part of a wetlands rehabilitation project and was cautious due to reports of dynamite being utilized in the past to build a retention pond in the area during the late 1980s.<.p>

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Car Manufacturer Concerned Over UXO

Wolfsburg, German The grounds of Volkswagen's headquarters and assembly plant are being searched for UXO after construction workers noticed suspicious pieces of metal and fragmentation in a few places during a project. The investigation will likely take a week or more to complete. If UXO is found, the plant and surrounding buildings will have to be evacuated.

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That's Not A Soccer Ball In My Garage

Mitchell, South Dakota A Civil War cannonball that was found in a garage in Wessington Springs was destroyed by the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD Unit which is based out of Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Cannonball Garage

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Backseat Bomb Blunder

Allston, Massachusetts A man drove to the Boston Fire Department, Engine 41 Ladder 14 firehouse, with a very strange "passenger" in the backseat. He arrived at the station with an old mortar in his Jeep (shown below).

Back Seat Mortar

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