FORT A.P. Hill, Va. — Late winter and spring rains have returned a healthy green to parts of Fort A.P. Hill that were charred by last year’s wildfires. This new growth, knee high in spots up, can obscure unexploded ordnance on the ground or partially buried on Fort A.P. Hill range lands. This makes it all the more imperative to steer clear of this potential hazard. \
Fort A.P. Hill Range Operations and Safety Officer want everyone to know about, and especially for parents to teach children about, the dangers of UXOs and about off-limits areas on the installation.
Unexploded ordnance includes munitions that have been fired but failed to function properly — a “dud.”
For some children, the lure of unexploded ordnance is difficult to resist. Unexploded ordnance is interesting in color and may be tempting for children.
Fort A.P. Hill officials protect Soldiers, family members, retirees, Department of Defense civilians and others visiting the post by posting large signs that mark the dangerous areas on the installation. Additionally, all Fort A.P. Hill impact areas are marked on the installation map.
Lance Didlake, Installation Range Officer, said range control personnel respond almost monthly to units that report suspected UXOs during their training. The good news is the majority of them are found in training areas or along buffers of impact areas. He cautioned people if they see something unusual laying on the ground:
– Don’t touch it; Recognize it
– Leave the area the same way you entered; Retreat
– Mark the area and call range control; Report It
Remember the three R’s, Recognize, Retreat and Report.
When unexploded ordnance is found on Fort A.P. Hill, Range Control officials first evaluate the situation and often try to relocate it to a training range for detonation. If that isn’t possible or safe, it is destroyed in place by qualified EOD personnel.
Anyone who goes into the off-limit areas on Fort A.P. Hill is at risk. Similarly, “second-hand souvenirs” should never be purchased and transported by anyone who isn’t completely familiar with munitions. Just because it may have sat on grandpa’s desk doesn’t mean it was made safe, said experts.
“When Fort A.P. Hill first began, both North and South Post were ordnance training areas. Then Fort A.P. Hill grew, and so did the training. A lot of areas on post are areas where munitions were at one time expended.
If you or someone you know finds unexploded ordnance, call range control 24 hours a day at (804) 633-8224, or the Fort A.P. Hill Police department at 8911.
For more information on what unexploded ordnance might look like and more about the 3R’s please visit the DoD Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Network and Information Exchange, UXO Safety Home Page: https://www.denix.osd.mil/uxo/index.cfm