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September 28, 2012

Safety

Unexploded ordnance: recognize, retreat, report

Because of its 103-year history as an Army installation training America’s troops, unexploded ordnance (UXO) has been found at Fort McCoy over the years, said post safety officials.

UXO results from the military use of munitions during live-fire training or testing, said Larry Levasseur, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Range Operations officer.

The most common types of UXO encountered at Fort McCoy are artillery and mortar rounds, he said. If the UXO explodes, it could cause serious injuries.

Randy Eddy, Fort McCoy Safety manager, said the best defense against UXO is to be vigilant, report it if you see it and practice the three R’s of explosive safety — recognize, retreat and report.

All UXO should be considered extremely dangerous, and being able to recognize it can reduce the risk of injury or death. Eddy said anyone who believes they have encountered UXO should not touch, move or disturb it, and should immediately and carefully leave the area following the same path on which they entered the area.

Anyone who encounters or sees UXO at the installation should call the Fort McCoy Public Safety Center at 608-388-2000 and report what they saw, where they saw it and if they were able to mark the area.

“UXO is designed to explode and still has the capability to do so,” Eddy said. “Never touch, move or disturb munitions.”
Although UXO is found mostly in former impact areas adjacent to the Badger Drop Zone and sometimes at mortar points, it can be encountered anywhere on the installation, Levasseur said.

UXO may be moved from its original site by a variety of methods, which could include people or troops moving it, construction projects moving or unearthing it, etc.

“The best advice is to treat all UXO as if it’s potentially dangerous and remember and practice the three R’s for UXO,” Levasseur said. “The public should consider any munitions or suspect munitions it encounters to be UXO and extremely dangerous.”

Military units training at Fort McCoy encountering UXO in a training area should follow the procedures outlined in Fort McCoy Regulation 350-1. The unit should report the UXO by calling the Fort McCoy Range Branch Office at 608-388-4848.

Units that find UXO are required to report it immediately. Levasseur said the reporting person must furnish grid coordinates, number of UXOs, type if known, a description, and how it’s marked.

“The UXO we come across seems to be items that have been in place for years and worked to the surface, especially in the spring when the ground is soft,” he said. “Hunters may encounter UXO, and if they do they should contact the (Public Safety Center), no matter their location, with the information.”

Anyone who encounters a marked or guarded location with UXO at Fort McCoy is advised to avoid the site. People who encounter UXO off post are advised to call the local law-enforcement office in their community.

Levasseur said Fort McCoy coordinates UXO removal with a Madison Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) organization or, if unavailable, with a Fort Campbell, Ky., EOD unit.

“We have a UXO plan in place to identify and clean up potential danger areas,” Levasseur said. “Although ordnance is color-coded during manufacturing for identification purposes, this marking can be altered or removed by the weather or exposure to the environment, so it can’t be relied upon.”

Levasseur said he is available to speak to or meet with groups or individuals about the latest UXO information.

In the Fort McCoy community, UXO information is available on the Range Branch section of the Extranet, which is available through the public website www.mccoy.army.mil, or by calling 608-388-4320.

More information about UXO is available at the websites www.denix.osd.mil/uxo/index.cfm or https://safety.army.mil/groundsafety/SAFETYPROGRAMS/ExplosivesSafety/tabid/519/Default.aspx

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