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Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

MAGTFTC EOD partners with SBCSD for safe UXO disposal in local community

4 Jan 2024 | Lance Cpl. Iris Gantt Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

U.S. Marines with explosive ordnance disposal, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, partnered with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to safely destroy a military unexploded ordnance (UXO) discovered in the residential area of Joshua Tree, California, Jan. 4, 2024.

The SBCSD cordoned the area surrounding the two discovered 155 mm and 105 mm artillery rounds and reached out to the EOD to find the best means of its disposal. After determining that the safest method would be to neutralize the ordnance in place, the sheriff’s department issued a one-mile radius evacuation prior to the neutralization.

“Safety is the first and foremost measure for the EOD. Our mission is to protect personnel and property from explosive hazards,” said Capt. Clayton Rue, officer in charge of MAGTFTC, MCAGCC EOD. “That being said, any type of risk mitigation that can be implemented in a given situation should be applied.”

EOD Marines and SBCSD bomb technicians carefully analyzed the situation. While one round was safe to transport back to The Combat Center, the volatile state of the second round led the team to decide to detonate the round on-site in accordance with authorized procedures.

MAGTFTC, MCAGCC EOD Marines collaborate with SBCSD to proactively safeguard and uphold the safety of the surrounding community whenever they are called upon by combining the specific abilities of various organizations. Rue is thankful for the SBCSD, who managed to keep a complex and hazardous situation under complete control.

“Civilian bomb technicians bring a unique perspective to explosive responses. They regularly operate in very different operating environments and under different regulations than military EOD technicians,” said Rue. “The perspective and experience that law enforcement brings in conjunction with the subject matter expertise that military EOD provides creates a strong team.”

The SBCSD values partnership, and their mission is to provide law enforcement solutions that meet the needs of the communities and partners of the SBCSD, delivering quality professional services to America’s largest county. SBCSD is equally dedicated to serving the community and is prepared to use every resource available to accomplish that mission.

“It’s important to have that connection with the [EOD] team,” said Sgt. Ronald Schmiedel, a sergeant at SBCSD. “Having that built trust helps us deal with potential problems in the future. They can bring the knowledge and equipment that we don’t have.”

The joint efforts of MAGTFTC, MCAGCC EOD, with their training and expertise for military ordnance, and SBCSD, with their experience in operating in a variety of environments, led to a successful neutralization of the UXO while ensuring the safety of the nearby community and everyone involved.

“The primary goal is for everyone to go home safe at the end of the day,” said Schmiedel.

Discovered UXO should be treated as live ordnance. It may be found fully intact or in fragments. UXO can come in a variety of forms, such as, but not limited to, small arms munitions, guided missiles, rockets, projectiles, mortars, bombs, grenades, and sub-munitions.

If you encounter UXO or what you think might be UXO, do not interact, move, or disturb it as it may explode, causing serious injury or death. If potential UXO is identified, carefully get to a safe location and report the UXO immediately to law enforcement.
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms