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May 25, 2012

News

Unexploded ordnance removal 1st step toward reopening of Firing Point 418

Completion of an unexploded ordnance (UXO) removal project at Firing Point 418 was the first step toward making the site once again available for artillery firing.
PHOTO: Employees from VR Habilas remove unexploded ordnance near Firing Point 418. Photo by Rob Schuette
Employees from VR Habilas remove unexploded ordnance near Firing Point 418. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Larry Levasseur, Fort McCoy Range Safety officer, said the site, located in the C3-C4 training area, has been off limits since a variety of UXO was discovered last year when members of the Land Rehabilitation and Management (LRAM) team did land renovation work.

“The area never was used as an impact area,” Levasseur said. “The UXO apparently had been accumulating in the area over the years and had never been cleared before.”

The area was not dangerous to people walking or traversing through it. Levasseur said the area was dangerous for troops driving stakes into the ground for a tent or installing firing poles. Levasseur said after the scope of the problem was identified through subsurface imagery the area was placed off limits for training.

Funding was procured to contract with the VR Habilas firm of Knoxville, Tenn. The private firm employs former Air Force-, Army- and Navy-trained Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel.

“They bring a lot of expertise to the job,” Levasseur said. “They are good at working around (vegetation such as) trees and saving trees. They will make the area safer for Soldiers to resume training there.”

Levasseur said the current contract covers six acres. Work for another 26 acres has been identified, however, it has not yet been funded.

After VR Habilas personnel finish the UXO removal, the Fort McCoy LRAM and Range Maintenance personnel will return to the area to rehabilitate it by installing new fill materials and reseeding the area. Levasseur said after that is completed the area will reopen for training.

For more information about scheduling training or ranges at Fort McCoy, call Range Scheduling at 608-388-4142 or 388-5313.

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