I cant even begin to describe how much UXO I have seen over the years. Think how many munitions are expended every year... then figure that If only 1 in every 10000 rounds is a dud..... how much does that leave?
We operate on a base that has had every type of munition expended over 60 years . I the old days nobody cared about a dud . Now every dud is logged and destroyed . 10% out of a lot , the whole lot is shut down .
When we prepped for a new MOUT town , it was 1 mile square . It starts with an aerial survey . Then foot surveys . The next step was metal detectors, and last but not least , magnetic blah blah detectors.
A year after completion , a motor grader was scraping the top 6" of the roads we had been driving on for 3 years . He uncovered a 175mm HE round . Now this thing had a born on date before I was even born , and had been driven over for 3 years . It was blown in place . Pretty damn impressive to say the least .
They were looking for them,sad news indeed. When I was stomping around Pendleton we actually were led into an impact area by a boot Louie during night land nav. Walking past craters and uxo brought a big WTF.
Sadly, this stuff will always be a part of Marine and Soldier training and work. We train like we fight, we use live ordinance, and we fire and manuever in uxo riddeen areas and impact zones. Bottom line is those of us who did, signed that line knowing this and did it anyway.
Rest Easy Marines!
Semper Fi, Semper Superbia!
I still remember when I was a teenager in So. Cal. My grandfather was a high voltage engineer with JPL. We were out hiking outside the Goldstone radar array one day and I saw something in the ground (mind you this is just randomly out in the desert). I went to kick the item to see what it was, grandpa tackled me. Turns out that back during WWII, that they fired ordinance all over the desert there. The item I almost kicked was 50+ year old mortar round. My grandfather called Ft. Irwin, they sent out EOD. Mortar was both live and very unstable...they detonated it. If I had kicked it I most certainly wouldn't be here today.
They still find bombs, mortar rounds, artillery shells, etc... all over that area that are unstable and will readily go off on their own Ft. Irwin has a published line to report them. I was lucky...got real careful when hiking around there after that if I saw anything metal looking on/in the ground.
As others have said, Pendleton, and especially 29 palms are UXO farms. I remember riding offroad in the back of a 7-ton, right behind the cab when I leaned over to spit and watched the rear tires roll over an unexploded 81mm mortar. I looked across the truck to my SAW gunner and plugged my ears and got a "wtf?" look back. Luckily nothing happened.
Camp Barkely is located west of Abilene,Tx and is all in private hands now. It was shut down after WW2. We still get reports of UXO being handled by the bomb squad occasionally. You would think our gov't could do a little more to prevent these kind of accidents.