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EOD Unit Tests New Disposal Detonation Technique

The items detonated include an old grenade.
by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mary Popejoy
Silverdale WA (AFNS) Jun 21, 2006
The crew of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 11 at Naval Base Kitsap conducted a disposal by detonation operation June 16, utilizing a new method involving water to suppress the blast and noise created by the explosion.

The items detonated were a live Chinese 81mm mortar, a grenade, a live 75mm projectile, and an old grenade and dynamite cartridge that were retrieved from the civilian community.

To reduce the sound of the blast, EOD personnel dug holes large enough to fit the ammunition. Once completed, they put the items to be detonated inside and then placed large wooden boards over each one.

For the first time, they used water abatement to reduce noise, blast and fragmentation. This process involved placing two small inflatable pools filled with water over two out of three items.

According to Master Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposalman (EWS/SW) Bill Lee, EODMU 11, performing such operations is the only way to do business with these types of items.

"We could set up a controlled burn, but it would detonate anyway," he said. "We can't turn live ordnance in to a hazmat facility because it would detonate and kill someone."

Each detonation meets the requirements under the military munitions rule, and safety is a top priority.

"Handling explosives is dangerous, so if a mistake is made, our life is in danger as well as the civilian community that lives nearby," said Explosive Ordnance Disposalman 1st Class (EWS) John Groat. "We make safety a top priority because anything less could have devastating results."

Even simple advances in technology like using water abatement in the disposal of live ordnance may take a little of the danger out of one of the most dangerous professions in the military.

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