Operation Render Safe Nets 400 UXO in First Week

Solomon Islands Royal New Zealand Navy EOD divers from the HMNZS Mamawanui, a diving support vessel working jointly with a Canadian Defence Force EOD unit, are recovering WWII era UXO from the Solomon Islands. The clearance, dubbed Operation Render Safe 2016, is a 3-week (Sept. 15 to Oct. 7) training mission for EOD personnel with the end result directly benefiting the local communities.

Over the past week, the EOD teams have been working in the Russell Island group, which lies north-west of Guadalcanal, where they recovered over 400 UXO including underwater UXO.

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Tense Moments with a WP Round

Article by UXO Guest Author Mike Vining - EOD SGM USA (Retired)

In the August 2016 UXOInfo.com monthly newsletter, the "Munition of the Month" is a U.S. 3.5-inch, M30 WP Rocket. I had an experience in dealing with this piece of ordnance when I was stationed at the 176th Ordnance Detachment (EOD), Fort Richardson, Alaska during my tour there as an EOD Supervisor. It was in the spring of 1986, when the ranges were clear of snow and Range Control was conducting their annual range clean up. Each unit on post was assigned ranges to clean up. First, the unit representatives came to a meeting at Range Control to go over what was expected and what not to do. We gave a safety briefing that stated no one was to go into the impact areas or go forward of the firing lines. All brass and ammunition components were to be dropped off in barrels next to Range Control. Anyone who found dud ordnance or abandoned munitions was to call us (EOD).

During the cleanup we got a call from Range Control that there is a 3.5-inch rocket lying next to one of the barrels. The first thing I noticed was this was a dud fire rocket as the safety band and the bore-riding safety (ejection pin) were missing. The second thing I noticed was the groove around the forward section of the fuze where it joins the warhead. This indicated that this was a M30 white phosphorous (WP) munition. The munition's paint had deteriorated, so you could not use that as an identification feature. Another feature to tell the difference from a 3.5-inch M29A2 Practice and the M28A2 High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT)/M30 WP munition is that the practice munition has a round hole where the bore riding safety was and the HEAT and WP munition has a square hole.

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Reference Image - Close Up of bore-riding pin - 3.5 Inch Rocket
3.5 Inch Cut Away WP
Reference Image - 3.5 Inch WP Rocket Cut Away

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Welcome UXO Guest Author - Mike Vining

Mike R. Vining is a retired Sergeant Major who served in the Army from July 1968 to January 1999. He served in both the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) field and the Special Operations field. Today he lives with his wife in South Fork, Colorado. Mr. Vining is assistant historian for the National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Association (NATEODA) as well as historian for the Vietnam EOD veterans chapter of the NATEODA. Visit the organization's website at NATEODA.

In with the Tide, Out with the Bomb Squad

Osterville, Massachusetts A beachgoer discovered a military ordnance on Dowses Beach in Osterville while walking along the shoreline. Officials resonded to find a phosphorous signal flare used for Navy training exercises. The device was removed by the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad and taken to a local landfill where it was rendered safe.

Mortar Recovered From Scrap Metal Yard

Miri, Borneo An unexploded WWII mortar was detonated after it was found mixed in with scrap metal at a Borneo recycling plant. Police and bomb disposal experts responded to remove the UXO which was identified as a live mortar round. It was transported to a safe location for detonation.

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Boys Find WW II Hand Grenade In Woods

Gateshead, United Kingdom A 10-year boy and three friends found a grenade in the field while playing near the tree fort they had built in the woods. Curious, the 10-year old boy decided to bring the grenade home.

As explained to reporters after the incident, the boy's mother was quoted saying, "He came in and said 'mam, I've found a grenade...can I sell it on Ebay?". The mother went on to say, "I didn't think it was dangerous, I just thought it was old, I said no one will want that, you can put it up on your shelf with your other toys."

WWII Grenade

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UXO Found Along River Bank

Monmouthshire, Wales The Chepstow Coastguard was called to investigate reports of a possible UXO along the banks of river Severn on the Welsh coast. The UXO was found less than 1,000 feet from the Black Rock picnic area. After the Coastguard verified that the item reported was indeed ordnance related, a Royal Navy bomb disposal unit was called in. The WWII era munition (shown below) was safely disposed of by EOD.

Charston Bomb

Worker Killed During UXO / Explosives Clearance

Ramadi, Iraq A UXO clearance operator working for Janus Global Operations was reportedly killed while conducting clearance operations in Iraq. The name of the deceased has not been released but is reported to be a British national.

The worker was allegedly killed by an IED. An investigation is underway to determine what actions may have contributed to the accident. Janus Global is working under a U.S. State Department contract to clear UXO and explosive devices planted around the area by Islamic militants.

Another British national was reportedly injured in the explosion but his injuries have been reported as minor.

Obama Pledges $90M For Laos UXO Effort

Vientiane, Laos On a recent visit to the Laos, President Obama pledged $90M in a joint three-year project with the Lao Government to clear UXO left over from U.S. bombing campaigns during the Vietnam era.

In his speech to the people of Laos, President Obama stated - "The remnants of war continue to shatter lives here in Laos." "Many of the bombs dropped never exploded. Over the years thousands of Laotians have been killed or injured, farmers tending fields, children playing. The wounds, a missing leg or arm, last a lifetime. That's why I've dramatically increased or funding to remove these unexploded bombs."

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Firefighters' Wildfire Cleanup Halted by UXO

Vernon, British Columbia Firefighters from Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Wildfire Management Branch were forced to stop operations when they found an old WWII ordnance item while conducting the "mop up" phase after battling a wildfire.

The Royal County Mounted Police were called to the site and the Department of National Defense (DND) was also notified. A UXO recovery team responded, and the area was cordoned off while the item was properly disposed.

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