Beach Cleaner Handles Dangerous Debris

Ypao Beach, Guam A volunteer picking up debris at the Gov. Joseph Flores Beach Park in Guam found something even more dangerous than the usual old nails and broken glass. He found an item which appeared to be a grenade. Not knowing what it was, he picked up the device and placed it at a nearby lifeguard tower.

The man continued with his beach cleanup before notifying authorities of the object which was later deemed a UXO. A portion of the Ypao Beach shoreline was evacuated for about an hour while emergency personnel and Navy EOD Mobile Unit 5 Detachment Marianas responded to secure the munition.

Discrimination through Elimination

Article by OHI Technical Director Jonathan Sperka

Over the past 2+ decades DoD has spent tens of millions of dollars on target discrimination technologies (i.e., geophysical sensors and algorithms to differentiate buried UXO from non-hazardous debris / scrap metal). The reasoning behind the massive investment in this area has always been to "save money" by focusing digs on targets that are "more likely" to be UXO and leaving non-UXO targets in the ground. Some in the UXO industry argue that this narrowly focused investment has come at the cost or sacrifice of other areas of the UXO problem such as minimal investments / improvements in UXO recovery and disposal technologies.

Well over 100 studies have been done on discrimination. Admittedly I have not reviewed them all, but the ones I have reviewed seem to miss an important fact when it comes to UXO and ranges - that many ordnance items are designed to leave discernible pieces of range scrap left over from the body or carcass of the expended munition when the munition functions as designed. Examples include practice ordnance such as practice air dropped bombs, cluster bomb units (CBUs), illumination rounds, smoke rounds, and CS (tear gas) filled munitions. These are explained in more detail below.

Practice ordnance such as practice air dropped bombs are designed to simulate larger high explosive (HE) filled munitions. They are used for training pilots on delivery or deployment techniques. Pilots drop practice bombs such as the MK 106 and the MK 76 as shown in images below for training. The MK 106 Mod 5 practice bomb (shown on the image to the left) is a 5-lb impact signal generating practice bomb made of sheet steel. The MK 76 (shown on the image to the right) is a 25-lb impact practice bomb with a cast iron body designed to hold a signal cartridge that acts as a spotting charge providing the pilot a visual of target impact location. Both the MK 106 and MK 76 practice bombs shown in the images have fully functioned as they were designed to and are typical of the remaining carcasses "expected" to be on the range after the items have been deployed.

Practice Bombs

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OHI / UXOInfo Technical Director - Jonathan Sperka

Jonathan Sperka is the Technical Director for Ordnance Holdings, Inc. (OHI), a small Hub Zone certified munitions, UXO and engineering services firm. OHI also runs and manages UXOInfo.com.

Jonathan holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Engineering Management from Johns Hopkins University.

He has over 23 years experience providing engineering and project / program management support to the EOD and UXO communities. Previous positions held include serving as a project engineer for the Naval EOD Technology Division; Program Manager for the Explosive Detection & Defeat Subgroup at the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG); and Program Manager / Director for three UXO services companies. He currently serves as the Technical Director for OHI.

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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.

Solomon-EOD-Divers.jpg

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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.

Borneo.JPG
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.

Borneo.JPG

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

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