Civilian UXO Casualties in the United States

Article by Guest Author: Jack Imber
Author of the book DEMINER available from Amazon

'If you cannot measure it then you cannot improve it' ---Lord Kelvin 1856

On September 30, 2001, a list compiled by the USEPA listed 126 past civilian UXO incidents in the United States. The total number of fatalities and injuries included in the data details available was only 19. In sharp contrast the ATF&E (Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives) had a list of 4,438 UXO events. This number includes multiple casualties but is vague as to detailed information regarding them. While the Joint Services maintain their Explosives Safety Mishap Analysis Module (ESMAM) for the military, the civilian UXO encounters remain under reported and under evaluated.

In order for an accurate assessment of the problems and scope of these situations, an organized information collection system modeled after the Database for Demining Accidents (DDAS) would be most advantageous. The DDAS is an international program of documenting harmful occurrences affecting deminers in the field. These accidents are listed and described revealing specific details and then critically analyzed according to best safe practices. Photos, medical reports and other important data are added as it becomes available. The result is a clear study of each tragedy and a validation for improved methodologies which includes funding considerations. This efficient format leaves few questions unanswered as it improves the overall safety education of everyone who views it.


Where are They Now? Some Pre-FUDS Properties Remain a Mystery

Vidal, California We know that clearance of WWII munitions in the United States began as early as 1946, but there remains the question of what became of some properties slated for these pre-FUDS operations. One such location is the Spillane Property in Vidal, CA, encountered in a search of early UXO sites at the National Archives II in College Park, MD.

In a letter found there by researchers to the South Pacific Division Engineer, dated 6 June 1947, 1st. Lt. CR Joseph Sainato of the Bomb &Shell Disposal Team reported the completion of the clearance of 120 acres in a week-long operation. It stated that the land was inspected for land mines and "other dangerous objects" by two-man teams using three detectors at a total cost of $762.

Screening resulted in the discovery of four, fused M1 practice, anti-tank mines filled with black powder and red phosphorus. The mines were disposed of "by placing a large charge of Composition C-3 on them." The letter concluded that the property was now, "free from explosives for the purpose of grazing and cultivation."


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UXO Problems at the US Army's Former Southwestern Proving Ground

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.


UXO Guest Author Danny Johnson is pleased to welcome Guest Author Danny Johnson to the website family. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Johnson, who served 25 years in the Regular Army, Army Reserve and National Guard as well as 35 years in federal civil service, will be contributing articles of interest as well as updating historical information about military installations, ranges and ordnance facilities as part of the UXOInfo Library.

Following his retirement from the federal government and the Army, Johnson served as a Staff Historian for the California State Military Museum in Sacramento, CA. Under this title, he worked on a historical project collecting data on California Army National Guard units that were deployed for the Global War on Terrorism from 2001 to 2010.


Hand Grenade Found in Tree Trunk

Back Hill, United Kingdom A homeowner hired a specialist to cut down an old dead tree on her property which lead to a UXO find. While working on the trunk, the tree contractor discovered an old hand grenade inside the tree. Noticing the hazard, the contractor immediately called the police before briefing the homeowner on the find.

Police responded and evacuated the immediate area around the tree. The homeowner told police that the property has been in the family since 1980 and was intrigued as to how the grenade ended up inside the hollow tree trunk.


Retired EOD Seeks to Continue Service as Congressman

People enter into the public service arena of politics for many reasons -- family tradition, a legal background, an aptitude for business, -- but Brian Mast came to the decision to run for office in a less traditional way.

Mast made the decision with his wife, Brianna, while recovering from an life-altering injury sustained in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. The Army staff sergeant was lying in a hospital bed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after losing both of his legs when a landmine exploded. An EOD Technician, Mast felt as if his life's work serving his country had come to an abrupt end, but it was there in the hospital that Mast and his wife realized there could be another way to serve.

"I was thinking how the best thing I had ever done in my life was now in my past," Mast said. "I was thirty years old when I was injured. I thought I would never be able to do anything better than serve the United States of America, but it was then that I realized that though I wouldn't be jumping out of planes and kicking in doors, I could still serve my country through public office."


Happy Veteran's Day from UXOInfo

Today marks one of the most important days on the calendar! A heartfelt thanks from the Staff to all who have served the United States of America as a member of the military.

We salute your tireless dedication and sacrifice and send out a special thanks to our EOD brothers and sisters who have kept us safe from threats of UXO in the US and abroad. This is your day - have a great one!

Box of WWII Ammo Prompts Sheriff's Department Scare

Prattville, Alabama A man sent a shock wave of fear through the Autauga County Sheriff's Department when he walked in carrying a box of munitions from WWII. He reportedly wanted to get rid of the ordnance which his father had brought home after his military service and figured it was best to drop it off himself.

The munitions, identified as .50 caliber rounds were packed into a plastic tool box and cushioned by a towel. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency was contacted to examine the ordnance. The rounds were carefully placed outside in a secured, fenced in area near the sheriff's office with sand bags secured around them while waiting for the bomb squad to respond.

The rounds were safely removed off-site for proper disposal by the public safety bomb squad.

Law Investigation Evidence Dive Turns Into UXO Find

Spencer, Indiana Officers uncovered a mortar round while diving in the White River. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Division divers were not expecting to find a munition during the evidence recovery dive. The divers called the Indiana State Police bomb squad to assist with the munition identified as a mortar round.


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