SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- A four-man team from Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Detachment (Det) Marianas successfully defused a World War II-era 1,000 pound bomb aboard U.S. Naval Base Guam June 19.
The unexploded ordnance (UXO), a M65 general purpose high-explosive bomb, which was the largest found on Guam since 1972, was discovered June 14 by a back hoe operator working on construction of a new parking lot behind the Charles King Gym on base.
According to Lt. Brent Wadsworth, officer in charge of EOD Det. Marianas, there were many precautions set in place before technicians attempted to defuse the bomb.
"We determined that the bomb would produce a blast wave that would reach approximately 3,000 feet. All personnel were ordered to relocate outside of this area," he said. "We also determined that fragments from the bomb could reach as far as 5,000 feet. So personnel 3,000-5,000 feet from the bomb were ordered to remain indoors."
A 180-degree barrier was also constructed around the bomb to minimize potential damage to nearby buildings.
"Our main concern was making sure that everyone remained safe during this evolution," Wadsworth said. "Personnel come first, then property."
The team attached a rocket wrench to the bomb, then removed the fuse remotely after all personnel and team members had reached a safe distance.
"About 60 percent of UXO can be moved without such procedures, due to damage to the fuse, or the type of fuse used. This wasn't one of those cases," Wadsworth said. "We opted to use a rocket wrench with an electric Mark 186 remote firing device. After activation and a five-minute wait period, upon inspection, we saw that the fuse had been successfully removed."
Wadsworth said if the rocket wrench had failed to remove the fuse, EOD technicians would have had to remove the fuse manually.
"Our job is inherently dangerous. Each of my team members were prepared to manually defuse the UXO had the rocket wrench failed," Wadsworth said. "This is what we do, and it is an honor to be able to protect the lives of our fellow Sailors and their families."
In 2009, EOD Det Marianas performed 33 render-safe procedures of UXO; responded to 126 emergency calls, 44 on base, 67 off base, and 15 off island; and disposed of 7,061 ordnance items, with a 10,755 pound net explosive weight.
The mission of EOD Det. Marianas is to render safe all types of ordnance, conventional and unconventional, improvised, chemical, biological, and nuclear to include improvised explosive devices and weapons of mass destruction. They perform land and underwater location, identification, render-safe, and recovery or disposal of foreign and domestic ordnance. They conduct demolition of hazardous munitions, pyrotechnics, and retrograde explosives using detonation and burning techniques.
For more information about EOD Det Marianas, visit http://www.eodmu5.navy.mil/.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.