Assistance with Veterans Benefits Claims and Medical Board

Below is an article from Stuart A. Steinberg. Stuart is a retired EOD Specialist with experience in military criminal law, teaching, and private investigation. We thank Stuart for his interesting article, and encourage others to submit articles. If you are interested in submitting an article to our site, please email Rhonda Crowley at rhonda@ordnanceholdings.com.

I have been a veterans service officer with Vietnam Veterans of America since 1978, and United Spinal Association since 2005. I served as an EOD specialist from 1968-1971, including 18 months in Vietnam. I was wounded twice, decorated for heroism, and have several awards for meritorious achievement during ground combat operations. I am the Veterans Benefits Coordinator for the National EOD Association and am on their Board of Directors. Since retiring in 2004, I have been serving as a volunteer assisting my fellow veterans, their widows and children, and active duty military personnel with claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, military medical boards, physical evaluation boards and applications to correct records.

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The Green Bucket

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

Green Bucket Definition: A figure of speech which means to place or put unnatural items into the environment; a form of littering with range debris (RD), munitions debris (MD) or UXO items.

Any problems or bad situations which may occur at various projects nationwide need to be brought up and discussed at the time it is happening. When one or more UXO techs act inappropriately it reflects badly on the whole UXO industry. There is no room in this profession for cutting corners or complacency of any kind. It is the hope that each employee will do their very best on every assignment to maintain a high standard of practice.

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Robotics Mitigate Explosive Risks of Military Base Vegetation Clearance

Article by Guest Author William S. Farrow, Huntsville Center Public Affairs

Fort Bragg, North Carolina From the safety of a 40-foot-long, eight-foot-wide truck-drawn mobile command center parked on a gravel and dirt road, four twenty-something technicians sip soft drinks while fixed on their individual computer screens. Using video game controllers connected to laptop computers, the technicians maneuver heavy forestry equipment up to a mile away. Viewing the terrain via cameras mounted on the equipment, they safely maneuver around obstacles, as the equipment they control cuts and clears vegetation growing in areas littered with potentially dangerous unexploded ordnance.

Huntsville Center is using this innovative robotic range clearance process at Fort Bragg, North Carolina before construction can begin on the installation's new $40 million live-fire aerial range that will soon provide Army rotary wing aircraft aerial bombing and target practice. Huntsville Center has been a leader in the development of robotics for work at ordnance clean-up sites around the country and at installations worldwide since 2005, and Bob Selfridge, Huntsville Center chief geophysicist and robotics technical lead for the vegetation clearance program, said newly developed second generation robotics equipment is certainly the safest and most economical way to clear the 80 year-old munitions range. "We're removing and cutting the vegetation to improve the line-of-site for the pilots and observers who will use the range. Because of the potential risks associated with UXO in the ground, removing the trees, shrubs and woody vines from the range target areas is a daunting task. Our solution is to utilize remotely operated forestry mulchers, tree shears and feller bunchers to do the job," Selfridge said.

"We've been working closely with the Environmental Chemical Corporation (ECC) team which includes their two key subcontractors: Applied Research Associates Inc. (ARA) and QinetiQ of North America,and the improvements in the reliability and robustness of the newly developed robotic kits has significantly increased ease of use, reduced training time and substantially increased production. The robotic systems we developed are efficiently performing the work at Fort Bragg while reducing risks associated with buried UXO."

According to Spencer O'Neal, Huntsville Center vegetation clearance project manager for the Fort Bragg project, there's certainly a lot of risk associated with personnel driving equipment while clearing the area, and using the robotic equipment to do the job is the sensible thing to do.

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Archaeology Increasingly Present in UXO Projects

The following is an article by guest author Jim Christensen

UXO projects around the United States and its territories have, with increasing frequency, been tasked with compliance for cultural resource and archaeological regulations. Many contractors in the UXO industry work for many years all over the US without having had to deal with archaeology. When they are first faced with the requirement, many are ill prepared to adapt to the challenges. It is important to raise the awareness of contractors, because nothing can throw a monkey wrench in a project quite as fast as archaeology. It's much easier to be successful if the costs, logistics, and protocols for cultural resource monitoring are taken into account proactively. It's even better if the safety plan integrates all the specialists required to complete the project under one, cohesive strategy. Failure to consider this aspect can negatively impact profitability and, worse, safety.

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and 36CFR800 dictate that a federal project with the potential to impact cultural resource sites must take into consideration those possible impacts. The law does not specify that only archaeological sites must be considered, but at present that is what is being enforced most frequently. Other aspects of cultural resources such as traditional use areas, hunting and fishing, etc. could all be lumped under this law as well. In today's regulatory environment, those other aspects are not usually addressed.

Because archaeological sites are considered to be those locations with evidence of human activity 50 years old or older, UXO remediation projects are likely to impact archaeological sites. When most metallic anomalies are targeted for removal, and metallic items make up the bulk of the assemblage of most historic sites, we are in essence destroying historic sites over a broad area by removing artifacts from context. This does not take into account inadvertent impacts to prehistoric sites as a result of intrusive excavation by techs not trained to identify prehistoric materials.

As a result, the lead agency, in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the land managing agency, and Tribes may advise the presence of an archaeologist. This can create obvious challenges in terms of productivity, as well as safety.

Though the NHPA has been around since 1966, we are only recently seeing it affect the industry. UXO projects are usually federal undertakings in which the NHPA applies. In fact, it has always applied, but for a variety of reasons, UXO techs never saw archs on the grid.

Prior to letting the contract, Army Corps of Engineers, land managing agencies, or installations traditionally signed off on a statement that UXO remediation was not likely to impact archaeological sites. If the SHPO and Tribes signed off on that determination, the project was in compliance and could move forward with no further work needed.

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Sava Riverbed Clearance - Site of 1944 Ship Sinking

Article donated by an anonymous UXOInfo.com reader.

Bosanski Novigrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina A joint UXO clearance operation of the Sava River in Bosanski Novigrad near Odzak was conducted on the spot where the river monitor Bosna* sunk after hitting a sea mine in 1944.

The clearance was conducted by the Department of the Special Diving Activities and Training of the Czech Republic Police, UXO Department of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Administration of Civil Protection (FACP), EOD Company of the Demining Battalion, Brigade for the Tactical Support of Bosnia and Herzegovina Armed Forces (OSBIH EOD) and Unit for Special Support of Bosnia and Herzegovina State Agency for Investigation and Protection (SIPA). The operation was executed in two phases with the first phase conducted from the 4th thru the 13th Of September and second phase conducted from the 22nd of September thru the 4th of October 2013.

During the operation, a total of 241 UXO were uncovered and disposed of. The operation included Czech police and SIPA divers searching the riverbed and uncovering UXO. Suspect UXO was then identified by the Czech police and FACP EOD technicians. After identification, UXO too sensitive to move were rendered safe or blown in situ by FACP EOD techs; while UXO determined safe to move was handed over to OSBIH EOD technicians for disposal on a demolition range.

The following types of ordnance were uncovered and disposed of during the clearance:

  • 15 mm Skoda machine gun ammo;
  • 3.7 cm ship gun ammo;
  • 6.6 cm shells M-1898 and M-1906;
  • 12cm shells M-1906, M-1914, and M-1916
  • 8cm WGr.34 projectiles
  • B-1 depth charges converted in mines.

Images of UXO recovered from the Sava River clearance operation can be found below.

Disposal of 3.7cm shells:


12cm - M14 Shrapnel Round:

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Welcome UXO Guest Author - Dr. Richard Albright

UXOInfo.com welcomes UXO Guest Author* Dr. Richard D. Albright, a local chemical weapons and ordnance expert who holds a Bachelor's from the University of Michigan, a Master of Science in Environmental Health from George Washington University and Doctorate from Wayne State. A former Army officer, he wrote a science bestseller, "Cleanup of Chemical and Explosive Munitions," now in its second edition; as well as two more books on munitions and their constituents, "Death of the Chesapeake," and "Poisoning the World's Women and Infants: The Story of Perchlorate."

Dr. Albright has testified before Congress and state government on munitions issues, and in federal court on environmental issues. He has been presented on prime time Russian TV and in international media as a weapons expert. His munitions work has been featured in: The Washingtonian Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northeast Ohio News Herald, The Atlantic City Press, The New York Times, and The Kansas City Star. He has been cited as an ordnance authority in a briefing paper for the European Parliament.

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UXOInfo.com Welcomes "Frog Tales" Author Mark Holroyd

UXOInfo.com is pleased to present a new guest writer for the website, Mark Holroyd. Mr. Holroyd spent 24 years in the British Royal Navy as a Clearance diver achieving the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Born in Salford, Lancashire he joined the navy age 16 in 1976. In 1998, he was decorated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for bravery after rendering safe and moving a WWII German aircraft bomb that had been discovered by an earth moving machine in the Mountbatten area of Plymouth UK.

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